I promise that this isn’t a musical review. It’s going to seem that way for the first 2 paragraphs, but I promise it’s not. Just… get through it 🙂
Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE musicals. I grew up watching them with my sister and my best friend. Anytime there’s a new musical, my BFF seems to have a heads up on it before anyone else. She’ll text me and say “OH MY GOODNESS! Have you HEARD the soundtrack to the new musical _____??!!! You’re going to LOVE it.” And sure enough, she’s right every time. I do love it. We basically just find bootlegs of musicals on Youtube, watch them and then text each other what we think. I have recently been listening to a musical called “Waitress.” I found a bootleg of this musical on YouTube because I neither have the time nor the money to fly to New York to see all the greatest shows 🙂 The music was written by Sara Bareilles and you can definitely tell. It sounds just like her music. Simply put, the story is about these three women who work at a diner together and help each other through life. The main character, Jenna, has a husband who … how shall we put it… he drinks too much and gets angry. He takes her tips away from her at the end of each day. He won’t let her have a car because he doesn’t think she needs to go anywhere by herself and is physically aggressive towards her.
The tricky thing about Waitress is that it starts out fun and inviting and the songs are catchy. While one of the first songs has a bit of profanity in it, I decided to give it 5 more minutes. (I really can’t stand a bunch of profanity. It makes me a little irritated.) I loved the characters immediately, the humor was great, the music was perfect. They get you settled into a world where one of the worst problems is one of the girls is making an online dating profile. However, for Jenna, life is not so simple. She is pregnant and does not want to be. At this point in the show, you haven’t met her husband yet so you don’t understand her fear and hesitation. They have lulled you into a bright and shiny world and then all of a sudden, her husband walks in. He is tall and intimidating and controlling and I immediately got the chills. He takes her tips and degrades her in front of her friends. When she gets home, he’s been drinking and is angry. He threatens her and to protect herself she tells him that she’s pregnant. As I was watching this, I actually felt fear. Part of this is the acting. It was spot on, but the other part of this is something I’ve been realizing about myself over the past several years. I am terrified of anger.
Now, I’m not talking about someone being “mad.” That is something completely different. If you are mad, you are upset at something or someone. You need to vent, you need to work it out, you need to sleep it off, etc… Anger is something else. I’m about to get all science-y on you. Google says that…
“When someone is experiencing and expressing anger, he or she is not using the thinking (cortex) part of the brain, but primarily, the limbic center of the brain. Within the limbic system is a small structure called the amygdala, a storehouse for emotional memories.” (lakesideconnect.com)
When you are angry, you, literally, are not using your thinker. Your emotions are controlling everything about you. Anger is something that sinks its claws into your heart. It makes you burn from the inside out. It is wild and uncontrollable and unpredictable. It is often paired with hatred. Those two together are a dangerous combination. I feel fear every time I watch a movie with a person who is unrighteously angry. I am mildly fearful when I hear someone being angry. I felt chill bumps and fear watching this fictional character on a YouTube video. Even when the character wasn’t being “angry” I was afraid and thinking ahead of things that could happen that would make him explode.
I’m not saying all this to get sympathy. I’m saying it because this is what I’ve realized: In movies, TV, musicals, etc… we watch people act out certain emotions. Love, hatred, sympathy, anger, sadness, happiness, etc… Sometimes their acting is not quite right and we don’t believe it. Sometimes the chemistry is off between actors and we don’t believe they’re in love. Sometimes, they cry and it makes us wonder whether or not they are actually sad. Sometimes it’s just bad acting. They don’t bring us into their story. BUT… Rarely, have I seen someone get anger wrong. Anger is one of the emotions that is almost always believable. I honestly think that this is because anger is so easy. It’s easy for us to tap into. There’s a reason that Corinthians says, “Love is not easily angered.” Anger is easy. Ecclesiastes 7:9 says,
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
Not to be too poetic, but I think anger just sits and waits for us to open a door, window, a crack somewhere, so that it can burst in. It is, unfortunately, a part of who we are as imperfect humans.
Sometimes, after a bad week at work, or a busy week at home, I feel irritable. I just want to sit down for 10 minutes and the baby wants me to walk. I just want to watch a movie with Taylor, but there’s laundry to be done. The list could go on and on. Instead of voicing my irritation, or going for a run, or praying about it, I let that irritation sit and over the course of a few days it turns to anger. It’s like Irritation is the fingernail of Anger. Anger has put its sharp fingernail in the crack that I’ve opened up and it is slowly prying away so that it can come into my life. I have a very vivid image in my head of what this looks like, but as I am no artist… think about the “Pain & Panic” characters from Disney’s Hercules. I’d totally post a picture of them, but you know… copyright. What I’m thinking of is like Pain, but creepier looking.
I end up exploding over something small. People will say “don’t let your anger get the best of you”, but if it were up to me alone, that anger would best me every time. It is so important for me to remember James 1:19-20,
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
I have to repeat that to myself over and over again. Ultimately, I think I become angry because I do not seek GOD above all things. I seek acknowledgement for everything that I do. I seek praise or personal satisfaction or sympathy, rather than seeking GOD. James 4:1-3 says,
“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire, but do not have so you kill. You covet, but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Or in the Message version:
“Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.”
Whoa! This makes it so obvious where anger can become dangerous. When anger does get the best of us, we become violent, pushing anything and everything aside JUST to get what we want. James continues,
“You wouldn’t think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.”
This makes it very clear to me. When I am angry, I am acting like a spoiled child. I do not have the logic to ask God to help me because I am not using my thinker. I am so caught up in my emotions that I have forgotten that GOD has also given me a brain and the ability to be patient and calm. I want what I want, when I want it, and I am not afraid of hurting anyone in the process. This is a dangerous mindset to have and one that I want to stay far away from.
I am challenging myself to be more patient and calm over the next few weeks. The closer we get to Lent, the more I want to give up anger, and with it irritation, impatience, bitterness, and pettiness. It is going to take a lot of prayer and practice. I hope that by saying it here, that the people around me will keep me accountable for this. I want to live in a constant relationship of love, peace, and kindness with the world and if there is anger in any part of me, that is impossible.
“Therefore, as GOD’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” – Colossians 3:12.