Anger is a common response to everyday irritations. Someone cuts you off in traffic or fails to meet your expectations and suddenly you get mad. There must be a better way because most of us have no time to be angry.
Today was one of those days when things just didn’t go as expected. I had an important meeting that I had carefully planned. All the logistics were in place. Until they weren’t — and 30 minutes before the meeting was scheduled to begin, I was rushing to correct a problem that I didn’t create.
When other people heard about the problem they said things like, “I just can’t believe that” or “you must be livid.” Was I irritated? Sure. But, my honest answer to them was “I have no time to be angry.” I had a job to do and pointing fingers or blowing my top would just make me feel worse and prevent the work from getting done.
Anger Takes Energy
Maybe it’s because I’m forty-something, but lately I find that I want to conserve my energy for the things that are most important to me. I don’t have as much desire to dwell on offenses or patience to listen to others explain all the ways that they have been wronged and are justified in their anger. I just have no time to be angry.
The truth is that life can be tiring enough without dwelling on offenses and things we cannot change. When people mess up and make mistakes I’d rather extend grace.
The person who cut me off in traffic might be late to pick up a child. Or maybe someone makes a mistake at work because they are dealing with the death of a loved one. None of us is perfect and we all make mistakes. I think it’s much healthier to consider what mitigating factors might cause someone to fall short of my expectations before I become angry.
Be Slow to Anger Because There’s No Time to Be Angry
The Psalms tell us that anger isn’t healthy.
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
Do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalm 37:8)
My own busyness and weariness prevented me from becoming angry today. But by the time my work day had ended and I had time to reflect on the situation, I still wasn’t angry.
There is enough negativity in the world that we don’t need to nourish it in our souls. For the sake of our relationships and the sake of our own spiritual well being, we have to accept the fact that there’s simply no time to be angry.
Leo Buscaglia wrote, “Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love.” This kind of response to irritations and injustices is a spiritual discipline. But it’s a discipline that brings greater peace, greater joy, and greater love into our lives.