Monday my son asked me a question I’ve asked myself a million times, “Why do you have to be so angry?” I was irritated he had put his dirty dishes into the clean (half-emptied) dishwasher after I had asked him twice to make sure it was in fact dirty before he dripped milk onto the clean dishes. Most moms get mad about their kids smoking pot or partying, but not me. I’m more discerning than that (insert eye-roll emoji).
Why do I have to be so angry?
Pastor Tim Keller posed a provoking question in a sermon on anger. He said the next time you get angry ask yourself, “what is it inside me that makes me so upset?” I love and hate that question all at the same time. I love it because I know finding the answer will help me be less angry, but I hate it because despite asking myself this question many times, I’ve no idea what’s inside me that makes me so angry, defensive and other things I don’t like about myself.
In his book, Tattoos on the Heart, Father Greg Boyle has a chapter entitled Slow Work where he talks about waiting. “Ours is a God who waits. Who are we not to? It takes what it takes for the great turnaround. Wait for it.” So that’s what I’m continuing to do. Waiting for the great turn around. Waiting for God to show me why I get so angry, irritated and annoyed with people.
What happens when we “wait for it?” What happens when instead of getting frustrated I’m not changing I embrace waiting and trusting God will eventually show me what’s inside me that makes me so angry?
I’ve realized my husband who is brilliant and accomplished, almost never gets irritated by people who think they’re smarter than him. I’ve learned I can be jealous of even my dearest friends. I’ve learned even when I’m angry, defensive or condescending, those closest to me (who I most often lash out at), seem quick to forgive me. I’ve learned although God’s slow work is always loving, patient and generous, I don’t extend that same grace to others who probably don’t like how they act sometimes.
Waiting for my great-anger-turn around feels inefficient. I’m a freeway-loving, drive-eight-over-the-speed-limit, fast-lane kind of girl, but God in his love, is teaching me being fast isn’t necessarily being efficient. He’s teaching me there are no quick fixes so quit expecting that. When I wait I’m forced to see beautiful, loving, and awful things in myself I would otherwise miss. Beautiful, loving and awful things I need to see if I’m going to get to the root of my rage and disdain toward others. When I wait I become more comfortable waiting and that’s been a gift of new found peace and contentment.
What is it in me that makes me so upset? I’m not sure yet, but I know my family and loved ones are worth me waiting expectantly and patiently for my great turn around.