Robbed of Joy
By: Brooke Meyer
Have you ever noticed how just one person’s angry outburst can freeze an entire room? This feeling was all too familiar growing up as I observed then emulated the expressions of my family. I remember one moment in particular where I inserted myself into a yelling match at home and threw my phone aggressively to assert my power. The room froze and I became acutely and uncomfortably aware that I was now the one with the manipulating power to turn a welcoming space into a hostile space.
Anger is a delusion of power. Perhaps it is expressed for the sake of muting and disguising meek and vulnerable parts of us. When we do decide to let go of it though, we drop our defenses and succumb to a position of lesser power, leaving those meek and vulnerable parts of us exposed. And that is a painful process.
Prior to our Emo Church series, I was content with leaving anger from my past, mostly from my parents’ divorce, in a place where it was untouched. I became afraid to express my anger. My heart had deadened to emotions and I then believed that my identity and acceptance was contingent upon my ability to keep my cool while under duress.
The risk of leaving anger unattended is that it, like other sin, thrives when left in the dark. This darkness had subconsciously paralyzed my present moments. I could not realize it then but I was living as if I had been robbed of joy, the kind of joy that is of “eternal pleasures at your [God’s] right hand” as described in Psalm 16:11.
When I opened up to my community, I became even more angry at first! It hurt to expose such a wounded part of me. My pride took a beating too when my protective shield to my very secretive sanctuary was cracked. It was terrible to feel weak and unprotected. Over time, I grew an awareness for the first time of the spirit of gentleness surrounding me.
The Holy Spirit has been cradling me in what I call a softened existence, where my anger is slowly being brought to the light. Ephesians 5:13 says, “everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light”. There began a slow awakening of my deadened emotions and a softening of my heart.
My heartbeat is gingerly being revitalized with a childlike joy of wonderment and amazement of who God has fully created me to be. I admittedly still hold my cards close and struggle with opening up to my emotions and receiving God’s love into the deeper layers of my past where anger naturally rests.
I can empathize with those who do not fully buy into the idea that emotions matter in our relationship with Jesus. However, when we enter into communion with Jesus, we are posturing ourselves to follow God fully and to trust His way completely. Emotions are certainly included in that. I had grown weary from acting like I was constantly okay. When I recognized that God offers me a peace that truly “surpasses all comprehension and will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7), I decided I wanted to receive that peace. I surrendered my angry emotions and experiences to Him and I began to feel His harmoniously peaceful presence fill my most tired heart.
In reflection, in what ways are you tempted to be more powerful than God to protect your vulnerable experiences? What prohibits you from asking God to reveal himself through the way you experience emotions? Is it rooted in anger? All of our stories are different; I invite you to receive Jesus into yours.
This blog is a part of our Live Into Who You Are series where we share personal reflections of how the Holy Spirit redeems a heart. Traditional vice and virtue pairings are used to help share and structure these reflections. Read more posts here.