There are a lot of things that are on that list of “can’t be _____, if I’m a Christian.” Sometimes we are taught them at home, in the church, or by those we look up to, and sometimes we aren’t taught them at all. Sometimes it’s a mystery on how “those things” have made their way to that list, but they are there nonetheless. This morning, I had the privilege to sit under the teaching of Angie Frame as she shared from her heart about being angry toward God.
Growing up, I was never taught that I could unload on God. And for the record, I don’t believe I was ever taught that I couldn’t either. For so long and in my limited understanding, God was up in heaven and I was down here on earth. He was a good God, and I was to live a “good” life. I was a good kid and never found myself or life to give me many reasons to be mad at God or to question His goodness--or so I thought.
The reality was that life had given me plenty of reasons to be angry, and I had just adopted this poor theology that if I called myself a Christian then it was wrong to show, express or even share my anger, disappointment or hopelessness. I was to stay strong, put on a happy face and continue moving forward even if deep down I was bitter and mad. I learned that I had a huge capacity to stuff and hide and to not deal.
But I remember when my capacity hit full. I remember sitting in the living room of a friend for this thing called “small group” with people I had recently met, but did not really know, the Frame’s being among them. And boy did I break. I don’t remember what started the crack, I just remember all my doubts, fears, hurts, anger and questions pouring out. And to my shock . . .it was ok . . . even encouraged.
I remember leaving that room more embarrassed that I had let those words of anger and doubt fall from my lips. But more importantly I left that room feeling intrigued by their challenge to unload this all on God. I was told “He can take it.” And over the next year I tested that theory. I trusted their counsel and borrowed their faith, for a time I had very little.
This afternoon, I spent time digging through old boxes and reading journals that I kept during this time, and boy was I angry---angry at the world, angry at God. Page after page after page, I shared that anger, my confusion, and my doubts. On some days, “ANGRY! I am so angry at you!” is all I could muster. As time went on, and as I continued to unload and He continued to take it, those pages read of healing and were once again filled with hope. My life didn’t get put back together--not the way I hoped, but He was there by my side through it all. The more time I spent opening up my heart to Him, the more real He became, and the less angry I was.
“A slab of concrete doesn’t have to worry about weeds--but it will also never be a garden,” was written in my journal about a year after my small group helped me understand that God was BIG enough for me to unload. My anger was keeping me down, unable to move forward, unable to change and to grow into something beautiful. I wish I could tell you I have all the answers, and that I understand why such pain needed to be a part of my journey. I wish I could tell you that looking back things don’t hurt. I wish I could tell you that moving forward anger isn’t a part of my relationship with God. But it’s not the case. In my past, there still lies unanswered questions, there still lies sadness over the broken pieces, but anger isn’t to be found. Moving forward, I am no longer that slab of concrete, there‘s now life, growth and an open honest relationship with a Gardener who hasn‘t given up on me and who won’t give up on me, no matter how much I need to unload.