So many times we view anger as wrong, but that isn’t the case. Anger is a normal and healthy emotion that God placed in us.
Anger is what often leads to our desire for justice and truth. It helps us to recognize when we are being treated unfairly or wrong. And it gives us insight into where our hearts and our hurts are.
But anger can also become really unhealthy if it isn’t handled in a Godly way. It is one of the easiest emotions to spiral out of control.
I know this first hand and I’m excited to share some of the ways that I learned how to process anger in a Godly and healthy way.
Growing up, I didn’t experience much anger. I was definitely more of the type who internalized my hurts and felt sadness and pain. This hurt never blossomed into anger because my heart was so guarded for most of my life.
But this wasn’t healthy either. Because these hurts hung on and clung to me. I struggled to move on from them and I really struggled to let them go.
It wasn’t until years into adulthood and soon after I was married that my heart truly found the freedom to open up. And in doing so, I began to experience true anger for the first time.
It wasn’t easy either! At this point, I hadn’t learned how to deal with anger. I would shut down. I would throw things (mostly pillows) and it would always lead me to shame. And the anger I was experiencing would always then turn towards myself.
I had to learn how to process this anger. I had to accept that it was okay to get angry and to feel angry, but it was how I expressed my anger and how I handled it that was important.
So let’s talk about how to handle anger in a Godly way. And please remember, this is a process! It will require much prayer, patience and healing in order to learn to handle anger well. If you feel you need counseling or therapy, I highly suggest this as a part of the process.
And the process will be ongoing! I need to stop and think through this process often so that I can continue to handle anger in a healthy way.
Recognizing Anger & Your Triggers
For me, anger would sometimes pop up so suddenly that it not only surprised and confused my husband but it surprised me as well!
Often it felt like it came out of nowhere and wasn’t warranted for the situation. This is a lot of what led me to shame. Why was I experiencing such anger? It wasn’t right and especially didn’t make sense.
But in digging deeper I found that it did make a lot of sense.
Sometimes the anger would come from several emotions bubbling beneath the surface that had been building for some time. And sometimes it would come simply from triggers that I was unaware of.
Understanding both of these is an important first step in handling anger in a healthy way.
Recognizing Building Emotions
As I mentioned before, I used to internalize a lot of emotions that I experienced. And anger often is an indicator to something beneath the surface.
With this in mind, it became important for me to keep an eye on my emotions and my hurts. It was important for me to talk about them and to try and talk about them when they happened. As I learned to let my walls down, I began to do this.
Learning to accept and process your feelings as they come is so helpful in controlling unchecked anger. Journaling, counselling or just being honest with your feelings can really help you to do this.
Learning Your Triggers
I found after some time that there were specific things my husband would say or do that would trigger an overwhelming sense of anger inside me. A lot of times, these things accessed pain from my past that he knew nothing about.
A small remark would elicit an outburst of anger, leaving us both confused!
But I learned that what these triggers were and in doing so, found ways to avoid them or to handle them better. My husband has learned some of these triggers and carefully rephrases some of his concerns or frustrations so that they are sensitive to my heart and my hurts. And I have learned how to recognizing when something is triggering me and share the deeper feelings instead of just expressing anger.
Once you begin to recognize your triggers, you can find ways that help you to manage each specific one.
Setting Up a System to Process
We all process things differently. Some of us need time and space while others need to talk it out. Some need to get out and distract themselves while others may need to journal and process what is going on in their minds.
It’s important to recognize how you need to process your emotions when you are angry and to set up a system to do just that.
If you need time and space to cool off and process, tell your spouse that you’re going to need to step away for a few minutes.
Figure out what works for you and find the best way that you can to engage in that system when you feel anger building. It will help you to not only manage your anger but to handle and process it in a healthy way.
Surrendering it To God & Finding Healing
Finally, no matter how well you manage and hold back your anger, God is the only one who can truly heal your hurts and bring you peace.
If you experience anger often or even if you just experience it occasionally, I want to encourage you to spend time in prayer, surrendering this anger and surrendering the hurts to the Lord. Over time, as you pray that God will bring you peace, patience and gentleness, you will see your heart transform.
I’m not saying that I don’t experience anger. I am still known to throw a pillow every now and then! But I’ve learned what triggers me and how to process it. I’ve learned how to surrender these hurts to the Lord and I’ve seen Him bring tremendous healing in my life. So now, my triggers have lessened and my anger has decreased.
God can do a powerful healing work in you. Pray that the Holy Spirit will grow the fruits of the Spirit in you.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. -Galatians 5:22-23