Would you rather spiral up or spiral down?

The choices: Spiral up to enhanced relationships, decreased worry, decreased anxiety, and less depression. Or, spiral down into a world filled with anger, knowing that anger focused inward is depression. 

Anger is an interesting emotion. It is built into our nature, just like love. In psalm 7:11 anger is used to denote God’s displeasure with sin. However, in James 1:20 it states that the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Anger can help us to see where change is necessary. However, the stronger our anger becomes, the more we focus on protecting ourselves and the less we see any good at all. The stronger our anger becomes, the more our logic turns off because we are only focused on protecting ourselves. Therefore, intense anger hurts our abilities to come up with high-quality decisions. Intense anger simply does not bring about the changes that we long to see. It’s propose is to hurt other people and tear them apart.

The most interesting thing about anger is this. The more we feed the anger that we all naturally feel, the greater our anger will grow. Like any muscle, the more it’s used, the more it grows. And, the greater our anger grows, the more it tears our minds and our body’s apart. Causeless, excessive, or protracted anger increases our worry and anxiety and decreases our ability to have a balanced viewpoint. Worry and anxiety are killers. Intense anger does not solve our problems, or anyone else’s problems.

The bottom line is this. Choosing to let our anger grow is choosing to spiral down into a negative life. Having unchecked anger is liking drinking poison. The only thing our unchecked anger is doing is destroying ourselves. 

What can we do? Choose to change. Choose to spiral up.

Alex Korb, PHD in his book The Upward Spiral states, “It turns out that positive life changes actually cause positive neural changes—in the brain’s electrical activity, its chemical composition, even its ability to produce new neurons. These brain changes alter the tuning of your brain’s circuitry and lead to further positive life changes. For example, exercise changes the electrical activity in your brain during sleep, which then reduces anxiety, improves mood, and gives you more energy to exercise. Similarly, expressing gratitude activates serotonin production, which improves your mood and allows you to overcome bad habits, giving you more to be grateful for. Any tiny change can be just the push your brain needs to start spiraling upward.”

Therefore, instead of spewing out anger like a raging volcano … 

Why can’t we walk around where we live, and purposefully look for the good and be thankful for it?
Why can’t we find the things that we are grateful for and build on those things? 

Why can’t we use the talents that we have been gifted with and build something beautiful in our own neighborhoods?

Why can’t we be the change that we long to see? After all, that IS the example that Christ set for us. 

A thought: this is how I see it. How does God see it?

This is what my life has felt like for the past year.  

Photo credit nationalgeographic.com 

This past year brought me layoffs. It brought me people who called me a friend and then turned their backs on me. A Christian even encouraged me to lie and steal (I refused).

What’s worse than that? My story is common. The number of people who are suffering is staggering. The number of people who are hanging on by their fingertips is heart stopping.

Where is God in all of this? 

Should I really pray for God to take away all of the hurts and pains? That’s a question I’ve spent a lot of time on this past year. I certainly have enough aches and pains that I do not want.

Then God let me figure it out. And I will be forever-grateful.

How can I show empathy without knowing the pain?

How can I show kindness without knowing what it feels like to shunned?

How can I show love without knowing what it feels like to be hated.

I’ve tasted the pain first hand. For every ounce of pain that I’ve felt, God has been there – giving me strength to make it through. No, that’s not accurate. God gives me the strength to help others through those tough times. To help the people that are in the same challenging places as me. Suddenly, the pain doesn’t hurt so much. My circumstances haven’t changed. But my focus has.

Now I look up and see the God has brought me to a wonderful place. A great job. Great friends. And the ability to serve.

How often do I have to keep learning that God is big enough to take care of my every need!

The Lord is my Shepard! 

Worthy of all my trust.

Worthy of all of my hope.

Worthy of all my love.

Reading the bible to see peace and power and trust

The more I read and digest this verse, the more amazed I become. Anger breeds anger. High stress is a study all in itself. There are a lot of ways it can really hurt us. 

Here is a verse that opens up the world of God’s peace, and power, and how we can learn to trust Him more and more. Amazing.
Matthew 5:43–45

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.