After he was sidelined with a concussion while playing for Florida, David Booth said something that has stayed with me: The Bible doesn’t say that you can’t get angry, it says, in your anger do not sin (Ephesians 4:26). Anger is a completely natural emotion, and the goal isn’t to avoid feeling angry – it’s how you deal with your anger that matters. Here’s how The Message translation puts it: Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry – but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. Make sure that you don’t take your anger out on other people or deal with it in a way that hurts anybody (including yourself).
The verse of scripture continues with, don’t give the devil that kind of foothold in your life. Again, it’s okay to be angry, to get mad, to feel frustrated. But don’t let those feelings take control over your life and consume you. ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry’ is a good verse to live by. Allow yourself to feel angry, but don’t carry that anger with you. Run it out, skate it out, kick-box it out, dance it out, and by the time you go to sleep at night, try to let it go and look towards how you will resolve those underlying issues that fueled your anger in the first place.
Game Plan: When you do feel angry, take some deep breaths and try some self-talk to decrease anger:
- There is no need to doubt myself; what other people say doesn’t matter. I’m the only person who can make me mad or keep me calm.
- As long as I keep my cool, I’m in control of myself.
- It’s impossible to control other people and situations. The only thing I can control is myself and how I express my feelings.
- It’s okay to walk away from a fight.
- I don’t need other people’s love and approval to accept and love myself.
- It’s okay to make mistakes.
- People are going to act the way they want to, not the way I want them to.
- I feel angry, and that must mean I have been hurt, scared, or have some other threatening feeling underneath the anger.
Photo source: Jared Heynen