Writing is like meditation for me. My counselor recently told be about an app called Headspace that I’ve been using for meditation, but writing has been for some time now meditation for me. I really like Headspace, but Harry Connick Jr. (We Are In Love presently), and writing on my blog has been an outlet of comfort for many years. When I was able to write long hand I kept journal after journal, and those journals are helpful to go back through, and I certainly have during this pandemic. When you journal, blog or write in a diary you record thoughts that will help you in the future. They can drudge up negative feelings too, but that gives you an opportunity to see how far you’ve come.
Years ago Carey and I flew down to Orlando because my brother Jeremy was graduating from college. Carey was pregnant with Chloe, and I don’t even think Jeremy was dating Crystal at the time. I could be wrong, but he was definitely not married. As I think about all that has transpired since that experience I marvel at what has happened. I’m trying to focus on the positive, but the negative teaches us things the positive never will. I write that to share the following.
We were shopping in Winter Park at one point during that trip, and I know Carey and Jeremy don’t remember it, but I do. I’ve written this many times before here, but one of the symptoms of my depression is anger management. That summer day shopping in Winter Park was no exception. I let some couple have it because they couldn’t move out of the way for us to pass by. Jeremy confronted me about it later rightly so, and I’ve always remembered that. Hate and anger have driven me since my earliest memories. I have to be on guard because the forces of evil use them constantly to leverage destruction in my life. I don’t walk on eggshells, but I’m glad I have people in my life like Joel, Jason and Jeremy who call me out on it when it creates destruction, and there’s a never a time it doesn’t. You might argue with me that there’s a godly anger that is appropriate to express, and I understand that intellectually, but like an alcoholic anger is alcohol, and I have to say no. I don’t know if the Hebrew Bible Joseph struggled with sexual addiction, but let’s say he did. That explains a lot behind the reason he ran from Potiphar’s wife. Sometimes the best thing a person can do is to not subject themselves to a particular sin, and they have to become a “teetotaler.” Addictions should never be scoffed at, and this thought has never really crossed my mind, but I think I’m addicted to anger.
Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson starred in a movie about anger management, and even though it was a comedy anger management is no laughing matter. It’s driven me deep into the throws of depression since 1983, ironically the same year I gave my life to Christ. May my Father be praised for continuing to be my Father in the same way Hebrew King David stayed a man after God’s own heart. Sin does not negate service, and the church is not a museum for saints. It’s a hospital for sinners. Do not misunderstand me. Jesus still told the woman caught in the act of adultery to go and sin no more, so we have not been given a license to trample on God’s grace. In fact, Paul’s message to Titus in the New Testament teaches us that grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness.
I’m always amazed when God’s human creation glories in shame, but the Bible is clear from beginning to end that human beings have done this since the beginning of time. We have also changed our thinking and ways to draw near to Him when we have fallen away. I have never subscribed to the theology that once saved always saved, but neither have I believed that we can’t be confident in the fact that if we die tonight we aren’t going to be in the presence of the Father. This is not the place to discuss Heaven and Hell. I’m hesitate to even capitalize either one, but if you know me you know. God isn’t an all seeing eye ball who randomly chooses salvation for one but damnation for another. If I’m not mistaken John 3.16 says he loves the whole world. Since he loves the whole world my anger does not advance that agenda. I’m a slow learner, but his love is not less when I fail. In fact it’s not about me. It’s all about him, and I have to remember that every morning.
Every addiction group uses some form of the 12-steps, and I think the first one is something like, “I am powerless to change.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t partner with my Father to cope with the anger I’m addicted to. But he is powerful enough to remove my propensity to express evil anger. I do that one-day at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time.
Many problems in this broken world are not overcome over night. In this I want it now consumer world we want an easy button to press before we have to do it, but it takes hard work everyday depending upon God to pull us out of things that took many nights to get where we are.
That afternoon in Winter Park happened in 2004. Here it is 16 years later, and I’m still struggling with that same addiction. Many of you who read my writing have addictions of your own that you fight, and you’re brave like me as we share these things with the world.
We aren’t alone as we’ve encouraged each other for years, and we never will be alone because we have a Father who has literally empowered others with these same addictions. God can transform any heart and life to seek him. His word can be counted on. He’s not some politician who wavers on his promises or demonizes us when we sin. He’s a loving Father who continually loves us.