I gripped a branch like a baseball bat and stared at the tree trunk to my right. It was a thin, yet tall, tree growing along my favorite hidden hiking trail. Before logic talked me out of it, I swung and then swung again. Small pieces of bark fell to the ground and my hands vibrated at the impact. It felt really good.

Striking a tree didn't feel like "me," but then again, I wasn't sure who "me" was anymore.

Devastated because of my second colon cancer diagnosis. Depressed and broken because of infertility. Disappointed that working in ministry didn't pan out. Grieving over my broken family. My faith was on crutches: How could God be "good" in light of my suffering?

After years of denial, I was finally admitting it:  I felt angry. I was mad at God. And, I was finally letting it out.

After several minutes of swinging, my hands became sore and I dropped the stick. As silly as it must have looked - a grown woman beating a stick against a tree - it actually felt really good. As I stepped back from the tree, I noticed it was hardly impacted. Besides for a few missing pieces of bark, it stood tall and strong. I realized that all of my swinging had made a bigger impact on me. Over the next several weeks and months that followed, I found myself feeling less and less angry.

The Key to this Anger Devotional

Anger is a tricky topic that we often misunderstand. Feeling angry isn't a sin. It's what we do with our anger that matters. When anger arrives, it signals something's not right. To heal from a hurt, to turn a wrong into a right, we must face the anger and what it's telling us. To put away anger doesn't mean we pretend it's not there, it means we recognize it and then follow the path God's made to help us get rid of it, which often involves letting it out.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, can you help me learn how to manage anger in a Godly way? Help me hold my tongue and temper so I don't hurt others when I'm angry. Help me take an honest glimpse into my own heart and show me if I'm angry toward others, or even you, and how to get rid of it.

"But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips." Colossians 3:8 NIV

This devotional first appeared in the Monday Morning Survival Guide. Subscribe to get next Monday's devotional emailed to you.

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