I could throw a fit with the best of them. My anger used to be out of control when I was younger, much younger like when I was a teenager. If you didn’t read my blog post, “I’m Living Proof“, you should cause I talked about how I was angry with my life. I wasn’t born the way I would have liked. I had no control over that, but it didn’t stop me from being angry.
In a nutshell, I hated that we lived on the southside of Chicago, one of the worst to live in. Surrounded by rival gangs, drugs, prostitution, and all kinds of crimes…all of this had a negative effect on me growing up. To top that off, my biological father and I had no relationship and my stepfather walked out when it was discovered he was a bigamist. I didn’t understand any of this at the time. I raised my little half brother as our mom worked and went back to school. I had to go work at 13 to help out with bills and so I really did miss out on a childhood, all of this fueled my temper. I loved my little brother, but I was angry that we had to grow up this way. I remember having to fight just to get us home safely.
I’m not trying to drum up sympathy with all this, but I want you to understand where my anger stemmed from. I have to confess that I even hated being part Black at times when others acted so ugly that it made me feel ashamed to even be associated with the race even if just partly. Because, I was always prejudged before I got a chance to proof that I wasn’t the typical black “home girl”. Not even close to that.
My anger stemmed into how I looked compared to other girls in school, how I grew up isolated because of our environment so I couldn’t make friends. I know my mother was doing what she thought was best to protect us kids from the neighborhood we lived in. I’m thankful, because I could have ended up anywhere doing who knows what and maybe ended up in the grave at an early age.
Now, I can trace back my steps and see how God was there all along guiding me through. When I got older, you could see the anger on my face. I wore it like a trophy. I dared anybody to mess with me. I had a killer hatred in my heart…it was ugly down there. And when I’d explode and tear up stuff. I must have been temporarily insane. I remember when I leaving nightclubs how I’d walk home after midnight in some of the roughest Southside neighborhoods of Chicago daring, in my mind, for someone to try to bother me. I knew I would try to kill them or take them down with me. It was horrific.
Fast forward to when The Lord saved me, one thing I knew I’d have to help with was my anger. I knew that I had had an experience with Him, because for the first time I didn’t feel fearful. I did feel peace. But, my anger didn’t just go away because I had the Holy Spirit inside me. No, Jesus had to work with me, He had to transform me, and that began with my thinking. My thoughts were off. It took years of prayer and fasting to get my anger under control and for it to eventually go away.
I’m glad the Bible says “be angry but sin not.” (Ephesians 4:26), because Jesus understands that we will feel anger and at times we are right to feel that way. We just can’t let it go without dealing with it, because out of control anger leads to terrible places. Just look at the news at all these mass killings and behind it all, somebody was angry and they let it fester inside them.
Anger could have destroyed me utterly from the inside out. I’m so thankful that I allowed the love of Jesus to change my outlook on life, to learn to accept what I have and what I am and what I look like, and to see the positives. He taught me to like who He made me to be, not what I was. I have been able to use outlets to express my feelings to help others. Because once we’re fixed, it’s time to go out and help fix somebody else…tell them what the love of Jesus can do.