Do you ever get those moments when you feel like the light just came on, something clicked, and everything finally makes sense? Recently, I had one of those moments. For the longest time I have been consumed with anger. I have fought with it, tried to overcome it, only to find myself angrier. It’s been a part of myself that I have hated, and it seemed as if I had no control over it. No matter how hard I tried, there it was floating to the surface at the worst possible moments.
I was raised in a Christian home. For the most part, I was considered the good kid. I avoided trouble, and did whatever I could to be good. It came to pass, that I took on that identity. Others expected it from me, and I expected it from myself. There was no room to mess up. There was an image to keep up with. Despite that, I experienced joy. My parents had just recently divorced but I handled it. I smiled all the time. People would ask me why I was so happy and my answer was simple, “because Jesus loves me.” Not everyone would understand, but I didn’t care. Although I had this joy, I would get very angry at times especially towards my parents. But at this point the anger was not consuming.
In grade 12 I started to lose focus. I began to forget the meaning of the message Christ brought. Everything went downhill. I started dating and getting lost in that. At 18 I dated the man I would end up marrying. Our marriage started off rough, and in time only got worse. My anger was at an all time high, it consumed me. I became borderline abusive; hitting, name calling, accusing, etc. We attended a program about a year into our marriage that helped, but I still blamed others for my anger. Thus, the cycle continued. My husband got so fed up that he began to withdraw, and I knew would lose him.
So I tried even harder. Everything seemed to improve for about 5 months, but slowly the anger creeped back in, this time for the worse. That’s when the light came on. For the first time I understood that my anger came from wanting to be in control, and feeling a lack of it. I had been trying so hard to control my life and my spouse’s life. There was an image I had been trying to live up to by following all the rules. I had been trying to be who everyone wanted me to be, and I didn’t know how to be happy without being angry. The pressure was killing me inside. I was just trying too hard.
Here’s the thing, Christ came to give us freedom. The whole message is based on it. He was always going against those who lived by the book, who enforced every rule with a lack of compassion or love. It all starts in the heart, not in our actions. I had never known true freedom or joy as long as I had been focused on my outward behaviour, as long as I was living in a place of fear and control. It was as simple and as hard as letting go. Letting go and letting God. It’s hard to let go, but life is amazing when you do.
Live in GRACE, not in the law. The rest will follow. Today, I’m a new person. The old is gone, and the new has come. Christ lives IN me! There is no need to try so hard. Today, I am free, and it is beyond amazing. How could I not be happy?
‘You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.’ – Galatians 5:4-5