We Can Ask at Church — Is it Okay to Be Angry at God?
But it’s not only our families that form our understanding of emotions; our faith communities can have just as profound an impact. Whether your church is highly expressive, rigidly deadpan, or somewhere in between, chances are there are expectations around emotions. And the message we tend to hear in those expectations is that what we are feeling is direct evidence of our faith or lack thereof.
In high school a youth leader asked me how my Easter was. I explained that I had felt kind of sad and told her why. She responded with, “Well, was Jesus there? That’s all that matters.” The rule I learned: if Jesus is there, we can’t feel sad.
I can’t tell you the number of stories I’ve heard from people who have squelched their own grief because they believed God wanted them to only be joyful. One young woman told me that she had believed her mother’s death was God’s will, so she never gave herself permission to grieve. And how many women have I met who experience fear, but hesitate to talk about it because they think it shows a lack of faith.
Or what about when we realize that the anger we carry is anger toward God? Is it okay to tell God how angry we are?