Anger and frustration are two of my worst enemies. The more I tried to control these two powerful emotions, the greater the failure. Frustrated from guilt and embarrassment from my many outbursts, I took a journey towards self-control. During this journey, there were several important steps.
Acknowledgement was the first step. Yes, I was angry. Angry at the world, my father's rejection, abandonment, and many emotional scars. Hiding behind a mask and pretending that it never happened only accelerated my problem - anger turned to wrath and wrath to action. One night, shaking with frustration and clutching a knife, anger got the best of me. Speeding past my brother's ear, the knife embedded itself in the kitchen wall. That was not the only failure. During an argument with my mother, she turned to leave the room. Bursting with anger, I swung my leg into the air. With her bones cracking and a painful cry, the full force of my leg connected with her hand. Staring at her black and blue fingers, I hung my head in shame.
Responsibility was my second step. As a child of God, I am to: "put off all these: anger, wrath, malice." (Colossians 3: 8) As an ambassador of Christ, every action and spoken word reflected His character. My explosive anger did not reflect God's character. (James 1: 20) If I did not control my anger, God would deal with my outbursts. (Hebrews 12: 6) God held me accountable for my actions.
The final step involved courageous action. The courage to deal with my problem would come from a powerful source. I needed power that was greater than anger and frustration. Where did I find that power? That power came from this: "the exceeding greatness of His power towards us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." (Ephesians 1: 19) Freedom from explosive anger was my choice. With openness and honesty, I talked to the Lord about each painful hurt. Forgiveness and releasing each situation to Christ, I stepped out of my explosive anger. Was this an easy process? NO! With my hand in the hand of the one who walked on water (Jesus), I walked around each situation - acknowledging that every back stabbing, knife-twisting hindrances from others happened. The luxury of hiding from my painful past, I could nolong afford. After many tearful encounters with my past transgressions and prayerful nights, this process got easier. Also, I found several prayer warriors, who loved and encouraged my victory over this sin.
In order to maintain this newly acquired peace, I searched and implemented a conflict resolution plan. This plan included confronting those who I have wronged or have wronged me. With any future frustration, I searched for the root cause and immediately dealt with that cause. With regular exercise (I swim three times a week) and healthy eating, I have the physical stamina to control any further angry outbursts.
Changing my thought patterns was the premier part of this new conflict resolution plan.
Again, with the help of others, I memorized chapters of the Bible - chapters that brought encouragement or positive behavior. From Philippians 4: 8, I learned how to "think positively" "whatever things are true, noble, just, pure.". Over and over and over again, I verbalized that verse into my being. From 11 Timothy 3: 16, 17 I realized that scripture was a powerful tool and very necessary for this victory. Timothy also realized that: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." With these tools I have put on (Christ) and stepped out of my anger. Daily I used these tools and victory in Christ was mine.