Now that I’ve had a chance to retract my adamantium claws after some frustration recently, I’ve been thinking about the process of healing after a difficult incidents like this. Thank you to everyone who wrote encouraging comments, emails, called me & sent me carmels via carrier pigeons. I’m thankful for your kindness and the pigeons only ate 1/2 of the carmels!
What do you do when you’re angry? hurt? frustrated? bitter? Why would I bother to even write about difficult experiences, or how I’m dealing with them? why? Because I’m betting that every single one of you have some sort of shizzle you’re dealing with in your life too. And we all have to make choices about how we’ll respond to people who hurt us, situations that are less than ideal and the fallout that comes from conflict. So, why the heck not blog about them & encourage one another to live out love. After all, as Elvis Costello
once sung “what’s so funny bout’ peace, love and understanding?”
I was struck that in the midst of dealing with some painful things in my life, that there are thousands of others dealing with the wreckage of their lives in Haiti. And it reminded me why I need the gospel. I was reminded that because Jesus is able to give an unceasing, unchanging love in the midst of pain and brokenness, I can forgive instead of being resentful. I can triumph not because I’ve reamed someone out about what a jerk they are, or what wrongs they did to me, but because as St. Paul said “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I need Jesus to continue to heal me from the inside out, so that I can get my eyes off myself and my own issues and focus on how Jesus leading me and my community to bring his love, power and healing to a hurting world. And this is only possible through Jesus- I can’t be nice enough, tell myself to get my mind off my problems, or put on a happy face. The tapes just keep playing in my head. I simply do not have enough love for all the jerks in my life, let alone this world. But Jesus does, and he is able to give me (and you!) his love. Which is totally, totally rad. This is the essence of the gospel, the essence of what Christians are meant to believe and live. If anyone tells you differently, they’re just bamboozled.
So, how did Jesus minister his love to me to help me heal? Well, funny you should ask. He did it in ways that would make me feel most cared for, which looked like:
- A great date with my husband. We ate Kentucky Fried Chicken which we had been craving for weeks but continually talked ourselves out of because it is ridiculously unhealthy. We saw a movie by our favorite director, Wes Anderson. And we loved, loved The Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was just the thing to cheer my spirits!
- A great date with a friend. Doing yoga with one of my girlfriends helped to release a lot of the tension I had been carrying around and reminded me that I am not in control of anything though I would so love to believe that to be true. It reminded me that God is way bigger than my problems and the problems in this world.
- Dance parties. The first with my son to the Urbana 09 worship cd. We jumped around and shook our hips and praised Jesus. Worship is actually one of the most counter-cultural things I think that Christians do. What? Praise God for his goodness in a world that is so absolutely broken? Hecks YEAH! Because even when everything changes for the worse, God remains the same.
- My second dance party was a solo one, and I rocked out while I cleaned with my ever-present ipod friends:
Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake showed up for a little while too, but it was mostly just the four of us sweeping the kitchen floor and shaking our booties.
I think sometimes Christians forget that God can use anything to remind us of his love and his presence. Perhaps because we’re so afraid that it is escapism into something besides God that we fail to realize that God may want to remind us we have bodies to dance, eat, and celebrate that we can find joy in the midst of pain because of his love. For some reason in my life that is often embodied in pop culture. And fried chicken.
What are ways that you deal with your anger? What helps you when you’re in a funk because of some conflict? I’m not looking for a dissertation, but how about your top three list?