You guys, lately I've been doing a bit of swearing in my head. Maybe as a Christian I shouldn't say that I swear in my mind but in the words of the Stranger Things gang 'Friends don't lie," so there's that. Out loud I say things like "F word" or "Darn it" but in my head, I'm cussing like a sailor and rolling my eyes so hard that they're one frustrating moment away from rolling right out of my face.
Sometimes I just feel like a pot, two seconds away from boiling over. On the outside I'm cool, calm and collected but on the inside I'm bouncing around like a ball in a pinball machine. I took an inventory of those feelings recently; I looked at how frequently they occur and what typically precedes them and what I discovered is something pretty interesting.
I found out that I'm filled with anger. Real, tangible anger. Anger that fills my mind and though I don't let it flood out, because I'm trying to watch what I say, is roaring inside of me like a monster in a cage.
I feel it every single day. Anger towards people, towards systems, towards mistakes, friends, pain and so many other things. An anger that just boils and boils, never losing steam. I thought it was just simple annoyance or frustration but now I realize that instead it's complex rage.
And am I wrong for constantly feeling a little upset? I mean, there are so many things in this world to be angry about. A shallow culture that is obsessed with image and status runs parallel with a world that is crippling under the weight of injustice and unequal distribution of wealth. Everyday someone new, someone with status and power, is accused of sexual assault and harassment; and every 10 seconds someone in our world dies from hunger related causes.
There's a lot to be angry about.
I was recently reading past journal entries and I came across a mantra that I told myself I was going to start saying every morning and it said 'I will choose joy and give grace." I will CHOOSE joy and GIVE grace, what a powerful statement.
I think that if you're paying attention, at all, there's a lot to be enraged about. Anger is easy, it's a comfortable seat that we can just slide in to and make ourselves at home. It's a place where we can constantly get fuel for our fire, each injustice, frustration and wrong aspect of our world serving as kindling and lighter fluid.
Choosing joy, that's a bit more difficult. It's a decision that we make where we say that despite the turmoil and infuriating things I see around me, I will not be swept up in the mess. I will be in the world but not of the world. I will choose joy.
I will choose joy because anger is too heavy of a burden to bear. I will choose joy because joy is what clears my mind to be able to make a difference in all of the areas of life that are so cracked and bruised. I will choose joy because the bible says in Nehemiah that "The joy of the Lord is your strength."
Anger makes you weak. Anger leaves you bitter and confused and disoriented. Anger makes you lash out and scream swear words from the corners of your mind, while wearing a fake smile on your lips. I do think that there are moments to be angry and things worth being angry about but I don't think that anger is a place that you should unpack and decide to live.
So I'm moving out.
I'm gathering my things, calling a cab and only looking forward as we pull away. I want control over the things that I set my mind on and that starts with choosing to meditate on the things that bring me peace. I don't think that there will ever be a time in my life where I'm not moved and upset by things going on in this world but I want the desire for peace to be what fuels me.
I don't want my home to be anger. I want my home to be joy so that's what I'm choosing.