Aftermath of anger

After reading a similar post by John over at, I thought I would capture my thoughts here in a post based on my comments there.

It is amazing how anger can spur action and give us endless amounts of energy and creativity. My anger caused me to leave bad churches, reevaluate bad theology and religion, and rethink a large part of my beliefs about the spiritual life that I had just believed without thinking. It caused me to create a weblog and join a community of other folks like me who were also reeling from similar bad experiences – people who were also trying to figure out the spiritual life in the aftermath of their bad experiences.

However, as I mentioned in an earlier post on forgiveness, my anger has run its course. It has now been 3-4 years or so since my encounters with bad religion occurred. It has been one year since I started I have wrangled with those bad experiences and come out at peace. Even though I have not answered all the questions that come pounding at one’s door when life becomes painful, I have been able to answer enough of them sufficiently to be in a place of peace.

For me, something unique in my experience is happening. I have become pulled very strongly towards a greater cause that I don’t understand yet. It is a very strong feeling – one that is driving me even more strongly than my anger did (which I didn’t think possible): an unselfish desire to prepare my life for something very big – much bigger than myself. It was so profound a change in who I am and what fundamentally motivates me that it drove me to redesign my weblog from scratch – images and recoding templates, pack up my family and move to another state, and enroll in a masters degree program at a seminary there. It is the greater motivator.

In the aftermath of anger, there is something with more energy and creativity. Anger, like other things in life, was meant to lead us to a greater thing. It’s energy wanes – it was designed to have a greater thing take its place. It is not unlike how romantic love leads a person to embrace love in its fullest sense – unconditional true love.

So what replaces anger? What is greater? That’s what I want to explore here.

It appears to me that anger is usually a call to action – that something is wrong and action needs to be taken. It pulls us out of a lethargic existence of watching TV and putting in 40 hours/week and other simply survival ways of life to grow up and be challenged.

But to me as a person who has turned his life over to God, anger is not just a call to action, it is the seed that leads to something greater. It was meant all along to lead to something greater. A lot has happened because of my anger and my bad experiences. God being a father does not baby me or anyone else – difficulties in life are part of growing up and becoming more mature – allowing me to take on more responsibility with greater maturity.

But what does this new motivation look like in my daily life? I seem to be drawn to a place where I am not consumed with activities that are self-centered or easy. The regular routine of life has come to appall me. The thought of getting up, working a full day, coming home and eating dinner, then watching TV, then going to bed — it horrifies me. Is this what the ideal life is all about? A continuous repetition of meaningless days motivated by making money, easy entertainment, and consuming food. To me, now more than ever, there is a powerful emptiness in living life this way. There must be more to do than follow this as a daily pattern.

But it is deeper than just getting out and doing more “stuff.” This strange new motivation is picky about what it wants to do. It appears that other activities that I might consider good, seem empty to me now too: daily exercise, watching what I eat, reading the Bible, becoming a better cook, etc. – they all fall into this category. It’s not that they are bad, or that I shouldn’t actually start doing them on a more regular basis, but what is calling me seems much more profound and deep – a calling that isn’t meant to enhance my life at all, but to give my heart a taste of wanting to do something truly great – to be ready to follow a cause that goes far beyond the daily grid of life or any other personal goal. It is something that is not about me at all, but it is the scent of something that is deeply fulfilling to me and I need to investigate it further.

It is not about escaping the life I am living either – I have no desire to “run away” on some exciting adventure. Again, that would be about me and my desire to experience cool stuff. No – this is something more selfless. All I can tell at this point is that this restlessness for an imminent and mysterious cause has led me to begin attending classes at the seminary in my new hometown. I believe that this new motivation and restlessness will solidify while I am there.

My anger is gone. In its aftermath, I stand in the forest of my life, I find myself in a new place that my anger has taken me to and then has left me.  In this place, I have caught the scent of something too beautiful to describe that I could not see before. It fills me with a strange new energy and purpose and a dissatisfaction with my life as it currently is. All that I know to do is to walk in the direction of the scent – for that is where life is. And so my journey continues down a new way – not knowing what awaits me, but what is inside me is stronger and so full of hope that it overshadows the fear of this new unknown road.

    2 Responses to “Aftermath of anger”

    1. Mark

      You are growing and it is beautiful!

      Reply to this comment.
    2. Jonathan
      Author Comment

      Thank you Mark!
      It’s awesome to make progress spiritually… although for me, it is such a slow process.

      Reply to this comment.

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