I am a Christian from Minneapolis, Minnesota married to great wife who goes to what I think is a great church called River Valley Church I have tons of support around me with men from a bible study and many others, these are the positive things that make me puzzled. Now for the difficulty, I don’t understand why I am angry, bitter, upset, tense, frustrated, overwhelmed, and unappreciative. I don’t know how to talk to my wife in a good way, I don’t know how to stay faithful to god, I feel angry at him, I don’t give him the trust that he deserves. I want to but I don’t know why I don’t. I really need advice.
that’s a very honest post. A lot of time we do go through very hard times in life.
Are there some (perhaps unrealistic) expectations that you had of God and what he will do in your life, or of other people that have not come to pass? Sometimes we have high expectations of people in church leadership positions (I speak for myself), and when they fail we feel a great deal of strong emotions which are very confusing.
Be encouraged - feel free to elaborate and share a little more if you feel comfortable. Maybe a verse of comfort straight from the words of Jesus to help a little?
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [a]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Along with @matthew.western, I do want to say that I appreciate your candour. I can’t say that I know exactly how you’re feeling, but I know there are many (myself included) who know what’s it’s like to have our spiritual bitterness spill over into our close relationships. I can remember a particularly dark time in my life when my mother ended up as the dumping ground for all my anger and bitterness at God. (And it was substantial!) It was absolutely horrible for the both of us. I hated myself for it, but, ultimately, I hated God the most. All that to say, you’re not alone in this.
Why you feel all these things will be very particular to your situation, personality, history, etc. I would really encourage you to speak with someone you trust, who could, perhaps, open things up for you a bit…maybe help you get some perspective on what’s going on in your life. I would actually highly recommend speaking with a professional counsellor, if it’s possible, as they’re trained to do that sort of thing.
One thing I’d be curious to know is what you think God thinks of you? What do you think he wants from you? You don’t have to share you’re answer here if you don’t wish to, but I would at least encourage you to reflect on it…and then, perhaps, share it with someone you trust who isn’t as angry with God at the moment. Again, as they may know you better, perhaps they’d have some insights into how you’re relating to Him.
I just know that I hear you beating yourself up for not being a good enough person, which is another brutal, despairing place to be! You know in your mind that God is deserving of trust and faithfulness, but the centre of your being (the one that feels the anger) seems to be telling you otherwise. It’s my belief that you will not be able to trust Him until the reason(s) for your anger at God specifically are recognised and addressed. Leave your moral judgements about yourself to the side for the moment and see if you can name what it is that makes you the most angry.
These are just some initial refections, so do disregard if I’ve missed the mark. But I pray that you would know our God in a much deeper way as you pursue answers to these important questions, dear brother!
I believe both Matt and Kmac offered some really good advice. I would highly suggest what they offered.
That being said I too have experienced some of the emotions you listed, albeit for my own reasons. I offer a couple of responses.
We all at times can let our emotions get the best of us. Part of our “makeup” as humans. Even those with solid biblical understand can get upset at times. Sometimes a rereading of what Christ endured for us can help out things in perspective.
Second, you are obviously a reasonable person based on the way you framed your question. Perhaps logically break down various"triggers" for your anger and attempt to define for why you respond that way. I’m sure a pro could help much more than my unlearned response.
God’s grace really helped
First up – what a wonderful thing to be able to look at your situation and name it so boldly and so openly. That is half the battle sometimes – admitting how you actually feel and seeking advice.
The hard part is doing the work necessary to be happier or content. Do you think you want advice only, or do you want to actually do some hard work too? Personally when things get rough, I know what I should do, to be better and to do better, but I sometimes have a bit of an attitude towards doing it, because I almost feel ‘comfortable’ in my anger or misery. These are the times when I feel furthest away from God and most unworthy of His love and grace, and therefore I don’t trust Him that He will actually be there for ME.
Matt and Kathleen have said exactly what I would have said too. Expectations is a big topic – perhaps you have unmet expectations or you have been unable to meet expectations of someone else. And identifying the root cause is key to resolving confusion and strife. As Kathleen said maybe a counselor would be able to help you better.
Additionally I encourage you to pray and ask God to show you what to do – He understands your anger at Him. He loves you unconditionally (like a good Father does) and can’t wait for you to come and tell Him how you feel and why. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the real issues – He knows you and your needs better than anyone and He is the only one who can bring about meaningful and lasting change. But you have to trust that He is good and He has good plans for you. Trusting Him means you must have faith that He is. And that He is who He says He is. He is not out to make your life difficult, or punish you, He wants the best for you. Jesus is our standard and example for living – in almost every area. Ask Him to help you speak to your wife in a good way – you KNOW how to do that already, but ask Him to help you even though you may not feel like it. Actively look for His guidance and His direction – through reading the word (if you don’t know where to start google “verses on pride, patience, forgiveness, character of God etc”) listen to teachings, talk to someone you like and respect at church or even listen to some praise and worship music. God will help you, if you want Him to.
Matt thank you for taking the time to read through and understand me in my troubles. I would say the feelings I was having were frustrations towards how people treat and being angry/frustrated towards god because I really honestly truly don’t know how to defend myself against many people in those situations and I don’t know when it is okay for me to have wants, desires, needs, and/or expectations of someone. I KNOW that it is not gods intention to leave me defenseless in the world but that is truly what I feel like. Almost like I don’t how to react to someone bullying me for example. My automatic reaction is to act aggressive and become angry but I know that’s not right. Not sure if any of this is making sense.!? Thanks so much Matthew!
I really like your feedback. Logically breaking down my triggers. I’m kind of like a list guy or schedule guy so it’s like once I know what I need to do in order to solve a problem then it’s relatively smooth from then on.
“These are the times when I feel furthest away from God and most unworthy of His love and grace, and therefore I don’t trust Him that He will actually be there for ME.”
It’s hard for me to explain through writing but the times where I feel the furthest away from GOD is when I feel unworthy of his love and grace because of something that I’ve done or not done and as a result I shut him out, choose not to trust him, and doubt that he is actually there for me.
Now keep in mind that’s the way that I feel at that moment but I know based on what scripture says that god loves me more than anyone ever could. What makes it hard to bear I think is that instead of seeking GOD’s wisdom and depending on him through tough and very tough times is that I try to solve problems on my own through my own thoughts.
I think what honestly just happened is I figured out one of my main issues in my walk with god was figured out and I think the answer to my questions has been answered through responding to your comment which is, I need to learn more about GOD’s character so that when I face situations I know how to respond to them with gods character.
I think anger and frustration are just a warning light to say something is wrong. We do have to think about what’s causing it, whether it’s legitimate anger or whether it’s coming more from our own sinfulness; because just bottling it up and hiding it away can build up and turn to bitterness.
I know I get cranky when I’m ‘hangry’ (hungry + angry as the old joke goes) , or perhaps when I’m overtired. Just thinking about these basics helps me to start with. Stress is another trigger for me, when there is too much load and responsibility, and I have a task list I need to get done, and deadlines get close, and then people can be seen as obstacles to what are perfectly good goals.
My ‘fix’ is to make sure I’ve eaten, and go for a long walk and exercise to get fresh air, calm down and get some perspective of the situation, asking the question “will this particular situation matter in a weeks’ time, a months’ time or a years’ time”. That slowing down, and getting perspective from more of a distance helps me stop and review the root causes - this helps me to see if it’s just a passing irritation in the moment that doesn’t really matter or something much deeper that does need to be addressed. Things are rarely made better in the heat of the moment and we need to find ways to de-escalate and defuse situations as they arise, and even develop ways for ourselves to be able to step back and review the situation even during these tough moments.
It’s always ok to have these, because they are part of what it means to be human; we are designed by God for relationships and community; and we do have reasonable expectations of people. I just mentioned a possibility of unreasonable exceptions such as holding a person too high in our minds (in leadership for example), and then getting disappointed when they fail. We need to focus more on Christ, who is perfect; rather than looking at people, who do stuff up.
We are all human and imperfect and in need of a Saviour. We came to Christ in the first place when we were a mess and broken sinners, and as Christians we don’t have to go and ‘hide from God’ to clean up our act for a while before we come back and pray to Him. We can come and confess and continue our relationship with God because of Jesus, who is our mediator.
I think it’s important when people eventually fail, and when we feel the resulting anger or disappointment; we can go to God who never changes and never fails and think about how to deal with it and find healing and gain His perspective on the situation. As I thought about your post, I stumbled on this reading plan (https://my.bible.com/reading-plans/13104-the-7-roots-of-anger), which is one of many good reading plans on bible.com.
You mention bullying, which is a fairly serious situation to deal with, and we need to wisely put in place safe boundaries to protect ourselves and our loved ones. I was recommended by another member of the forum a book called ‘Boundaries’ when we find ourselves dealing with very difficult or downright toxic people. I found it very helpful.
Another book I’ve read about 5 or more times is ‘Anxious for Nothing; God’s cures for the cares of our soul’ by John MacArthur (https://www.amazon.com/Anxious-Nothing-Cares-Macarthur-Study/dp/1434702979)
Also you mentioned in your first post wanting to better communicate to your wife… as a married man, I can say I’m still learning and apologising for getting it wrong to my wife - after 19 years, and reading lots of the marriage books, I still get it wrong a lot of the time… I found the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman very helpful; and not just for spouses but for kids/teens as well if applicable. We can be trying to communicate love to people we love, but maybe speaking the wrong ‘love language’.
(https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/understanding-the-five-love-languages/) and https://www.5lovelanguages.com
another good site I read is (https://fiercemarriage.com/), and under ‘articles’ there are a heap of good free resources. one last resource I found of interest was (https://www.16personalities.com/personality-types) to start to understand different personality types, especially in the workplace, or even extended family. Quite interesting to understand your own personality type; however I don’t think it’s helpful that we put ourselves or others into one of these boxes of a personality type.
Just sharing a few general thoughts and resources that helped me…Please disregard anything unhelpful or irrelevant to your situation; As Kathleen so rightly says, it’s really important that we talk through traumatic life events or difficult circumstances with a qualified Christian counsellor / pastoral care worker or Christian psychologist depending on our needs, especially if we are struggling with mental illness etc. We are not designed by God to do life by ourselves, we need each other.
I hope this posts lifts you up and points you to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. and who we can fix our eyes on when life is tough. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
That’s so awesome Bryant - hallelujah! it’s wonderful to experience a breakthrough like that and to have a specific focus for study and learning. As you seek Him and search for Him (and who He is) with all your heart, you will truly find Him.
Having read some of your other posts here I just wanted to share a bit more: I tend to be a “fix-it” type of person - if there’s a problem I like to find a solution - and find it fast! And over the last few years I have experienced certain challenges which have been beyond my capabilities to fix on my own. It has been a tough learning curve to surrender control to the Holy Spirit - but I am learning to recognize His promptings within my spirit and I remember more often now to really hand things over to Him (1Peter 5:7) I can’t describe the peace and joy that envelops me when I actually see whatever my situation is being resolved (with absolutely no input from me). So incredible to have the God of the universe doing battle on my behalf!
Be blessed. Stand firm in your faith. Let God do the heavy lifting.
Good on you for opening up and sharing your heart. In some aspects, I’ve been where you are. I thought God was distant and not interested in me- either because I was worthless, or that I had done something to displease Him. In His mercy, God brought me out of that dark place by showing me that He loved me and had never left me, but I was stubbornly placing my will above His. I like to use the jigsaw puzzle analogy- there is a 1,000 piece puzzle and I (in my arrogance) think I have most of the pieces, and can pray to God and ask Him for things, because I understand what the picture is supposed to look like. In reality, I only have a few pieces, and I don’t even have the box top to see exactly what the picture looks like. God, on the other hand, has ALL the pieces AND the box top!
I think a good question to ask yourself is “what is my view of God”? Is He an angry God who I must appease by strict obedience, or is He a loving God, who understands my struggles and will walk along side me and guide me? Is he a “big G” God, Creator and Sustainer, infinitely powerful and loving, or a “little g” god who is just a little bigger and stronger than me, whose will is not that superior to mine?
Our perception of God is a key component to our relationship with Him. In my own walk, God had to bring me to the place where I was ok with “not my will, but Yours, God”. To truly accept that God knows MUCH better what I need than I do. That realization helped me in my other relationships, and how I placed expectations on others.