Send Out Your Light: A 5-Day Plan With Sandra Mccracken
DAY 1 OF 5
DAY 1: Prayerful Anger
As much as I like to talk about emotions and the Psalms, anger is still my least favorite emotion. It can be linked to shadow or to light. But it gets a bad reputation and for good reason. Anger can also be clarifying.
For me, the best way to get clear with anger is to throw on my running shoes and head outside. Listening to the quickened rhythm of my breathing and my feet on the pavement can deescalate the energy of anger. It can help me ask the questions instead of just reacting in the emotion. When you start getting to the real questions, you may want to order some new running shoes, just to have on hand.
I can’t always identify where anger comes from in the moment. I have tricky ways of pushing it aside. But it will not be assuaged for long. While I’m trying to figure it out, it helps to feel the wind in my face. The best part of a good run is the speed at the beginning, the exertion of power, and the spending of all that emotion through sweat and, sometimes, tears.
The warmth of God’s light is a good motivation to run like the sun overhead. When we run and when we confront the resistance of anger or injustice, we are acknowledging that there’s something that needs to move.
We run to clear the path and to change something that needs to be made right. We run to answer the call and to complete the circuit. We run to find our way back home. Does that mean we’re supposed to take a different path? And who’s in charge? What do I need to let go of so I can have peace? Often my anger reflects the fact that I’ve been grasping for control. Letting go can release the pressure.
When we see what anger is attempting to accomplish, there can even be joy that mingles with it. We don’t have to be happy about anger, but there can be joyful energy beneath it moving us to see something important. This kind of joy is like the fire of the prophets in the Old Testament. They had a desire for God’s justice, for people to align with God’s righteousness. The Prophets wanted renewal; they wanted God’s order and intentions to be made known. They wanted justice. They wanted mercy.
Even still, God’s Spirit ignites a fire like this beneath us at times when he wants to bring renewal. In broken places within our relationships, our neighborhoods, our social and political systems, we see things that are not as they should be. Anger helps to make the distinction, like cutting the edger into the lawn beside the sidewalk. Here is where the grass stops and the pavement begins.
Sometimes I run until all that’s left is relief and joy. At the end of the run, it feels like I have found my way back to the place where the ocean waves hit the sand. The enemy can reach no further. Here is far enough. You may not be a runner, but finding a constructive trajectory for your emotion is one way to foster your own sanity while under stress.
However, all the cardio efforts will not prove a quick fix for most of the places of complex injustice within us and within our world. In the season when I was running almost every day, my troubles were still there when I got back home and sat down to breathe on my front stoop. The world is in need of renewal. Prayerful anger is a way of aligning with God’s heart for his world. The Psalms give us language for this; they teach us how to express it and how to know him more.
About this Plan
We need songs we can share—songs that inform our hearts and minds of what is true for the times when we cannot think true things for ourselves. Over five days, Sandra McCracken’s Send Out Your Light plan meditates on the...
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