During a 1-hour Facebook Live Q&A event, All About Being a Man, hosted by Promise Keepers Canada | Impactus, Kirk Giles answered some tough questions men are asking.
Here is one of the questions, along with Kirk’s answer:
“I had a stroke at 48-years-old, which was three years ago. I was doing all the right things prior – I had even lost 35 pounds prior to the stroke. But I’m still angry at God for allowing this to happen. Outwardly all seems fine. I’m back at my director level job. I’m driving and playing ice hockey. But everything is different. It has really impacted my relationship with my wife and son. How can I release my anger and finally accept that God has allowed this to happen?”
I think one of the real issues here is how an event like this can impact family relationships. The attitude we carry as men will seep into the life of our family. Part of the fruit of our anger is the breakdown in relationships within our family because it just spills over. The anger we might feel towards God or towards our circumstance spills over when we’re at home, and then our family become victims of it. It just ends up creating all kinds of problems, relationally.
I want to refer back to an earlier question and answer about the need for lament in these kinds of situations.
Lament is going to help you mourn what’s happened in the past, but also help you to refocus yourself for the future. So, lament.
I also want to encourage you to train yourself to think differently.
Train yourself to move from anger to gratitude. Many studies exist that tell us that we can actually rewire our brains simply by becoming more grateful people.
Philippians 4:6-9 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.” Talk to God about everything, but do it with thanksgiving. Make sure you’re giving thanks in your prayers.
When you do this, here’s what Paul says in verse 7: “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding is going to guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”
Then in verses 8- 9, he says: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, commendable, if there’s anything excellent, anything worthy of praise, think about those things. What you’ve learned and received and heard and seen, you may practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” We need to turn our minds towards gratitude instead of focusing on what we’re angry about.
Here’s what this looked like in my own life. I’ve been in this spot – not with a stroke but dealing with anger. Every day, now, for the last couple of years, before I go to bed at night, I sit down with my wife, and we identify three things from our day that we’re thankful for.
It has been amazing how slowly, gradually, doing that day in and day out, how your outlook on life starts to change. How your brain starts to be rewired from focusing on the negative and what makes you angry, to focusing on the positive and what God has blessed you with.
You might need some professional Christian counselling to help you process some of this stuff, so I want to encourage you with that. There is also a book that I want to encourage you to read which is the best book on anger I’ve ever read in my life. It’s called, Good and Angry by David Powlison. It is a fantastic book that will help you to process some of the anger that you have.