UNLEASHING ANGER IN GRIEF
Everyone feels angry from time to time, but what happens when we direct our anger towards God? It’s a question I have grappled with, and I think many of us have, especially during times of profound loss and grief. It may seem shocking or disrespectful when directed towards the heavens, but expressing emotions can help us understand grief and ourselves better.
UNDERSTANDING GRIEF AND ANGER
Grief is an incredibly powerful and complex emotion that we experience when we lose someone or something of great significance to us. It can be overwhelming, consuming, and many times, even paralyzing. When we are grieving, it is not uncommon to feel a wide range of emotions, including sadness, confusion, and anger. Feeling anger in grief has many sources and sometimes we cannot identify why we are angry. It can come from feeling betrayed that the loved one died. Other times we are angry from the injustice of their death; they did not deserve to die. Sometimes we do not know why we are angry but figure it out later. I struggled to identify causes of anger from the surprising unmet expectations I held. For example, I will never meet my son’s future bride, thus robbing me of a daughter.
THE COMPLEX EMOTION OF GRIEF
Grief is not a linear process; it is a tangled web of emotions that can leave us feeling lost and disoriented. It is essential to recognize that there is no right or wrong way to grieve, as everyone experiences it differently. Some people may find themselves overwhelmed with sadness, while others may feel a surge of anger. It is crucial to acknowledge and validate these emotions, for they are valid and a natural part of the grieving process.
As we navigate grief, it is vital to understand that anger is not an inherently negative emotion. It is a natural response to loss, a cathartic outlet for the intense frustration and sadness that grief brings. Just as sadness is a part of the grieving process, so too is anger. By recognizing and accepting our anger, we allow ourselves to process our grief more effectively.
THE ROLE OF ANGER IN THE GRIEVING PROCESS
In early grief, especially when unexpected or traumatic, the mind can go into a state of shock to protect us from the sudden intensity. With the brain partially shut down, anger vents off pressure without our normal filters. I had no filter the first nine months after my son, Caleb, died. Anger can serve as a protective mechanism during the grieving process, even after the shock wears off. It shields us from the overwhelming pain and vulnerability that grief often brings. It can be an outlet for expressing our deep sense of injustice and unfairness, providing a temporary release from the whirlwind of emotions.
Moreover, anger can be a catalyst for change and growth. It can motivate us to seek justice, make necessary life changes, or transform our pain into something positive. When channeled constructively, anger can empower us to find meaning in our loss and move forward in our journey. It is through my anger I write this post! I am not saying the pain diminishes, though it may for some, but we find healthier ways of continuing our journey.
However, it’s important to note that anger can also be destructive if left unchecked. Unresolved anger can hinder our peace and perpetuate feelings of bitterness and resentment. It is crucial to find healthy ways to express and manage our anger, such as seeking therapy, engaging in physical activity, or finding creative outlets.
Remember, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, and it’s essential to give ourselves permission to express and process our emotions fully.
For more information on understanding anger in grief, you may find the following resources helpful:
THE TABOO OF YELLING AT GOD
It is often said that we should have unwavering faith in God, that we should trust in His plan, and accept whatever hardships come our way without question. We are expected to be composed and to act respectfully towards God. Yet, during grief and overwhelming emotions, it can be incredibly challenging to adhere to these expectations. Whose expectations? Not God’s, but those of our peers who have not had a deep hurt that rattled their core!
Grief is a complex and deeply personal experience that can leave us feeling lost, angry, and confused. But what happens when these emotions lead us to the point of yelling at God? Is it wrong to express our anger and frustration towards the divine? The taboo of yelling at God is a societal construct that often leaves individuals feeling isolated and burdened with guilt. It is not a rule from God disallowing dissent!
THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT AND REJECTION
One of the main reasons yelling at God is considered taboo is the fear of judgement and rejection from others. We worry that if we openly express our anger and disappointment towards God, we will be seen as ungrateful or even blasphemous. This fear stems from the belief that questioning or challenging God’s actions is a sign of weak faith or outright doubt.
It is important to remember that grief is a deeply personal journey, and everyone copes with it differently. Yelling at God can be a way for us to release our pent-up emotions, to let go of the pain and frustration that weighs us down. It is an act of vulnerability, not a reflection of our faith or lack thereof.
GOD CAN TAKE OUR YELLING
Contrary to popular belief, God can handle our anger and frustration. He is not a distant and detached figure who expects us to suffer in silence. In fact, many religious texts and teachings acknowledge the human experience of pain and suffering. They remind us that God is compassionate and understanding, capable of holding our emotions without judgment.
I see yelling at God as an act of surrender, a raw and honest expression of our deepest feelings. It is a way for us to seek solace and find comfort in the midst of our grief. Just like we are to have faith like a child, wide-eyed and unbridled, we should take our troubles to Jesus like a child would their parent. When they get hurt, they may come running into the house, crying in pain and angry. Is it because they are rationally blaming the parent? No, they may have that thought for a moment, but really it is a confusion between the parent’s ability to make everything good and their perceived ability to prevent the hurt. By acknowledging our pain and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, we open the door to relationship and growth.
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE YELLING AT GOD
Did you know that there are examples in the Bible of individuals who vented their anger and
frustration directly at God? In times of grief and despair, these individuals found solace in expressing their raw emotions to the Almighty.
JOB: A TEST OF FAITH AND UNWAVERING TRUST
Job, a man of great faith, was tested by God in several profound ways. He experienced the loss of his wealth, his health, and even his family. Overwhelmed by grief and despair, Job cried out to God, venting his anger and questioning the fairness of his suffering. In Job 10:1, he pleaded, “I loathe my very life; therefore, I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.”
Job’s outburst of emotions demonstrates the depth of his pain and his need for answers. Despite his anguish, he never lost faith in God. In fact, his honest and heartfelt cries for understanding led to a deeper connection. Job’s story teaches us the importance of expressing our emotions to God, even when we don’t understand the reasons behind our suffering.
KING DAVID: A HEARTFELT CRY FOR HELP
King David, known for his psalms of praise and worship, also had moments of intense frustration and anger towards God. In Psalm 22:1, David exclaimed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” These words reflect the raw emotion and desperation that David felt during times of distress.
David’s outpouring of emotion in his psalms shows us that it is acceptable to express our anger and confusion to God. He understood that God could handle his honest dialogue, and in turn, God provided solace and comfort. David’s psalms serve as a reminder that we can bring all of our emotions, including anger, to God in times of grief and despair.
PSALM 102:5-6: A CRY FOR HELP
Psalm 102:5-6 serves as a poignant example of a heartfelt plea directed towards God. The psalmist writes, “Because of my loud groaning, my bones cling to my flesh. I am like a desert owl of the wilderness, like an owl of the waste places.” These verses reflect the psalmist’s anguish and vulnerability as they cry out to God in the midst of their suffering. This act of yelling serves as a release valve, allowing the psalmist to unburden their soul and find solace in God’s presence.
Now that we have explored the biblical examples of Job and King David, two outstanding men that God acknowledged as being after His heart, we can see that yelling at God in times of grief is not a sign of disrespect but rather an expression of our humanity. Just like Job and David, we can find solace and comfort in venting our anger and frustration to God, knowing that He is always there to listen and understand.
Remember, these biblical examples show us that our faith can withstand the storms of life, even when we question and cry out to God. So, if you find yourself overwhelmed with grief and anger, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Reach out to God, pour out your heart, and trust that He will provide the peace and understanding that you seek.
THE SALVING POWER OF VENTING ANGER
Venting anger is a powerful and cathartic way to release pent-up emotions, especially during times of grief. When we experience loss, it is natural to feel a range of emotions, including anger. However, society often discourages us from expressing anger openly, leading to feelings of shame or guilt.
It’s important to remember that anger is a normal and valid reaction to grief. By acknowledging this truth, we can begin to let go of any guilt or shame associated with our anger. We can give ourselves permission to feel angry without judgment, allowing us to move forward on our journey.
THE CATHARTIC RELEASE OF EXPRESSING ANGER
Expressing anger can be incredibly cathartic. It provides an outlet for the intense emotions we may be experiencing, allowing us to release them in a healthy and constructive way. Venting anger helps us to let go of the stresses that can build up inside us.
When we vent our anger, we are essentially giving ourselves permission to be human. We are allowing ourselves to feel and express our emotions authentically, without holding back. This act of self-compassion allows us to process our anger and begin to move forward.
Though I also strongly urge grievers to converse with God without anger, concealing it from Him is pointless and damages our relationship with Him. If you had a close friend who only talks about things that are not difficult, refusing to include personal issues, are they actually close? I would say they are not! How is keeping things from God different? In the same way, we should be willing and actively listening to His side, with His point of view expressed through the Bible.
Venting anger can also help us gain clarity and perspective. By releasing our emotions, we create space for new insights and understanding to emerge. It allows us to step back from the intensity of our anger and gain a more balanced and rational perspective on our situation.
In conclusion, venting anger is a salving power that can help us navigate the complex emotions of grief. By acknowledging and validating our emotions, including anger, we give ourselves permission to move forward. The cathartic release of expressing anger allows us to let go of stress and gain clarity. So, the next time you feel the need to yell at God or vent your anger, remember there is no shame in venting your emotions during the grieving process. It can be a transformative and powerful experience. Allow yourself the space and time to find joy.