How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”  Psalm 13:2

     “I sat with my anger long enough, until she told me her real name was grief.” This quote was highighted in a devotional I read, and I was arrested by the thought that anger can masquerade as many things, but grief? Grief feels too tender and vulnerable and sad to be strong enough to ever come across as anger. But don’t our deeply hurting hearts want to rage against the someone or something that caused our grief?

     Writer Jen Hatmaker (devotional-August 14, 2018) says the opposite of what I’m thinking: “Perhaps a way out of the raging, furious anger is to sit still and see what it has to tell you. It might surprise you. Grief is tender and vulnerable, so it masquerades beautifully as anger, even fooling our own selves.”

 I understand why anger seems easier:

     Processing grief takes too long and anger is quick and useful and immediate.

     Grief requires a soft heart, but that is scary, so anger is a much safer substitute.

     Grief seems to concede power to someone else or some circumstance while anger feels wonderfully under your control.

     Grief seems weak, but anger seems strong.

     It would be easy to choose anger, but here’s the problem: anger will not take you a place of healing and wholeness, because anger doesn’t tell the whole truth. After a while, anger exaggerates and distorts and becomes very self-serving.

     Grief, however, has to be named and processed and mourned. It always takes longer than we want. Truthfully, sometimes it feels like a quagmire of pain. But if you do mourn and process, you will get through. Anger keeps you stuck.

     Hatmaker goes on to say, “I don’t want my end game to be cold, hard anger. I need this heart to stay soft and truthful and open. Frankly, the world needs less angry people and more willing to simply grieve and heal. Maybe the first step for a bunch of us is just the sitting still and quiet with the anger part to discover if it might have something else to tell us.”

*Have you been out of sorts, angry, frustrated lately? Could you be grieving something?

Sweet Savior, The negative feelings inside of me have turned sour. Increase my hunger for You and speak to me in this hurting place. I want to choose peace. Set me free. Amen.

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