Earlier this year, my friend Mark invited me to regularly cohost his podcast, The Next Man Up. We’re roughly 20 episodes in, and he hasn’t fired me.
In the middle of recording an episode about Angry White Males, I remembered a reel I’d seen recently that seemed relevant to our conversation. The video showed the behavior of two dogs on opposite sides of a fence. Check it out:
The episode topic surfaced because of a college course based on it. Our conversation led us down several roads. All the roads circled around this truth: everyone deals with anger. It’s not just men, and it’s not just white folks. All God’s children have moments of anger…which can turn into seasons…which can turn into years. The question we wrestled with is “How do we deal with it so that it doesn’t become a college course title?”
Plenty of answers exist for that question. I’m going to do something that might anger you and answer it with two other questions: 1) What fuels your anger and 2) What are you going to do with it.
I’ve been asking myself that first question for two years. And yes, it’s taking me that long to get to the real answer. Why? At first I was doing what most of us do-looking at what I wanted it to be rather than digging deep in my soul to discover what it actually was. It’s a lot easier to bark at the fence. Removing the fences we erect to keep us safe and comfortable forces us to see more of what God sees-the sacredness of his creation, including those on the other side.
What led me to start asking question one was when I was asked question two. I was barking about folks on the other side of the fence when a trusted voice asked, “What are you going to do with your anger, John?” They had stopped listening for what had happened to me and who did it. They removed that fence and asked me to see what they saw, a man caressing his anger. My erected fence was gone with one question.
Stop and consider what anger does to you. How does it impact your gut? What does it do to your emotional health? How does anger manifest in your body?
Ready to stop barking?
Start tearing down the fence. Ask God to open your eyes to what he sees.
Feel the blessing of finding your answers to the fuel. Embrace the healing when your anger is replaced by beauty.
Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash