Rage Worked Out

Monday was a bad day, and I knew it from the moment my ears opened to the sounds of my daughter crying when Bryan attempted to get her back to bed again at the crack of dawn. She would not have it. As a compromise, he let her sit in the recliner in his office, watching Dora on his video i-pod, like he has done so many times.

On one hand, this is a nifty arrangement for me, as I am able to either sleep in until a normal hour or get up and have my coffee in peace. The problem lies in the aftermath when the video must be turned off and the rest of our day is to be tackled: the screaming, the wailing, the flopping, the kicking of the wall. Bryan’s attempt at integrating his daughter into his work-at-home life backfires every frickin’ time.

It definitely set the tone for our Monday, because right from the get-go Bryan and I were both the bad guys, forming a united front against Ruthie’s head turning into a t.v. screen. The difference is, he can lock the door to his office and I still had this kicking and screaming little munchkin to deal with – a fair trade-off for not having to work outside the home, I suppose.

So as Ruthie’s bad attitude continued, and my stress level in dealing with it continued to rise toward Red Alert, I decided to drop everything and get to the gym for a good, sweat-inducing, stress-relieving work out.

And here is where the story gets interesting, because Monday dropped record amounts of rain in our area, causing mass flooding everywhere, including the parking lot of my gym. So when I stepped out of my car, already irritated, and stepped into ankle deep water, I nearly grabbed Ruthie’s pink umbrella and started smashing some windows. My feet were soaked – shoes, socks, and all ten toes, and there was no way I could work out with wet feet.

I got back in the car, slammed the door, and headed for home to change my shoes so I could go to the grocery store instead – bitter and angry that my chosen method of working off some steam was stifled. But as I drove to the store in my Keens, I remembered a quote from the book I am reading: All anger is related to the question, ‘Is life (God) just’? …. Anger attempts to rectify God’s passivity by empowering us to act instead of waiting vulnerably for God to do something. It is not only a protection against harm and an energizer for battle; it is a taunt against God for apparently refusing to act on our behalf.

I felt Step 5 kicking in again (Am I willing to change? Or do I just want to talk about it?), and the tunnel vision I was experiencing began to broaden. I remembered that God is not out to Get me. I realized my Keens were made for hiking, ergo I could try running on the Monotonous Machine of Monotony with them and hope I didn’t break out in blisters.

I took a deep breath and pulled an A-Team-like u-turn back to the gym (and took care where I parked the car this time), and ended up pressing through a forty-minute workout in which my adrenaline was so high I actually sprinted full speed for the first mile and a half. My chest caught on fire and sweat soaked through every inch of my clothing, but my feet were happy and dry and I actually wondered if my Keens weren’t a better shoe for me to work out in.

I once viewed my anger like a train leaving the station – it chugged on down the line, stuck on one track until the whistle blew – and I was a helpless passenger. But now it seems more like a race horse to me – bursting out of the gate with great force at the sound of one shot, hooves pounding in the dirt toward the finish. I am not a mere passenger on this horse, though. I am a petite jockey on the back of this powerful animal, holding within my hands the ability to simply pull on the reigns and stop or redirect the horse.

God has empowered me to Change.

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