In Others’ Words: Direction and Focus

Direct your anger. Ward. 2014

I select a quote for various reasons. A quote may:

  • make me laugh.
  • make me pause and realize, “Now there’s a new way to think about (fill in the blank).”
  • challenge my “I’ve got this all figured out” preconceived idea.
  • give me some practical ways to approach life.


Today’s quote is a bit of practical wisdom that, if heeded, would lead to more forward motion and less tripping over my verbal missteps. Each time I read it, I found myself nodding my head and thinking, “Got that right.”

And then I stopped and thought: But where do I direct my anger? Problems or people? Where do I focus my energies? Answers or excuses?

Because if I’m thinking “Got that right!” then the question is: Am I doing it right? Or am I fooling myself?

Last week I was angry about a certain situation. I stewed about it mentally — and yes, when I talked about it (and I did), I named the names of those who I held responsible for the situation. Guess what? Directing my anger at these people didn’t improve my attitude or what was going on at all.

But when I sat down with a trusted advisor and asked for counsel — when I stopped venting and listened — then, and only then did I start seeing a way to possibly change what was happening. Am I guaranteed a positive outcome? No. But one thing is certain: grumbling fueled by anger will get me nothing — except further discontent.

In Your Words: How do you determine your focus when anger trips you up? Any tips for avoiding excuses when what you really need is answers?


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  1. September 8, 2014, 9:16 am   /  Reply

    This couldn’t be better timed. I was steaming over a situation last week, thought I had let the anger go, then was talking to someone about it yesterday and BAM!. There was the anger toward the individual instead of the situation. And instead of wanting to peacefully resolve the problem, I was ready to verbally lash this person. Not good. Not good at all. Beth, you are a gift from the Lord Jesus. Your transparency challenges me to repentance, to seek the Lord and turn from my sinful anger. Love you, sweet friend!

    • September 8, 2014, 10:41 am   /  Reply

      Love you too, my friend! I am so thankful you were encouraged by this post today!
      Praying peace for you.

  2. September 8, 2014, 10:01 am   /  Reply

    Oh my. I wonder if that quote is too big to tattoo on my forehead? Backwards maybe so I could read it every time I looked in the mirror! Good words, Beth!

    • September 8, 2014, 10:41 am   /  Reply

      Good morning, Jane!
      Maybe I should show you my list of “I should tattoo this on my forehead” list of quotes?

  3. September 8, 2014, 10:04 am   /  Reply

    It’s not to be overlooked that anger can be an incentive to positive action. It’s the basis of how I got a doctorate – enough people thought I was too dumb to survive in academia, and I wanted to prove them wrong.

    it channeled and focused my energies, and when the road seemed too steep, the thought of their smug intellectual condescension stoked the furies within me.

    The place above anger is better, in which motivation comes from the sake of the issue, and not the heat of thew blood. But this is largely the domain of angels.

    Far worse is the descent into resignation, where blows are to be accepted as one’s lot, and effort beyond that which is minimally required is futile. You can survive there for awhile, ‘keeping the faith’ on principle, but it cuts into finite resources of strength and energy.

    The borders of these bourns are different for each person, but I suspect that for a normal individual, the ‘uplands’ of anger, in which anger is the restorative response to a blow to the soul, is not a bad place to live.

    • September 8, 2014, 10:40 am   /  Reply

      There’s a lot of truth in your words, Andrew.
      Yes, sometimes anger fuels us to positive action — but truly you’ve turned the anger into just that: fuel to fire your life into more, not less.
      And yes, resignation is an awful place to abide. A hopeless place.

  4. September 8, 2014, 10:29 am   /  Reply

    There are a few bonuses for living as long as I have. One, there are very few things I haven’t done. Like doing something dumb in traffic.(this is what I most often get angry about) Now when someone sits at a traffic light a tad too long, instead of laying down on the horn, I remind myself I did that just yesterday. Two, it takes too much energy to get angry at people.
    About all I get angry about now is something I can do something about. And the anger helps me to do what I need to do. And if I can’t do anything about a situation? I regulate it to the trash file. Great post!

    • September 8, 2014, 10:38 am   /  Reply

      I agree with you about how age makes us wiser. (That is what you said, right?)
      I find myself reacting to things in a much calmer way now (usually) that would have had me fuming when I was in my 20s or 30s. I’ve learned it’s just not worth it. And it rarely helps the situation.

  5. September 8, 2014, 10:31 am   /  Reply

    Great quote & there’s often a fine line. Like today, I had several early appts. and drove 2 blocks before I realize I had a very glat tire–oops. Thankfully my son was home & put on the donut, but my day instantly got rearranged as I had to go to auto repair and cancel earlier plans. A problem? Yes, but at least it happened while son was home (fairly rare), so I thankfully tuned in and took it as God’s redirection of my day for safety as I have to go further later w/ grandchildren, and other reasons I may not understand.
    So I’m back home again, repair made, making the most of the time I do have, and feeling grateful instead of frustrated.

    • September 8, 2014, 10:36 am   /  Reply

      So thankful your son was able to help you this morning, Dee. I hate flat tires, and have had to change them myself. And yes, so thankful it didn’t happen when you had your grands in the car with you!

  6. September 8, 2014, 12:07 pm   /  Reply

    So. Good. I had a fair amount of anger going on this weekend but it was directed at ME. I had so much to do and didn’t even get a tenth of what I wanted to done. And I maaaay have whined a LOT about it to a friend or two.

    But that quote is a reminder to me that excuses solve nothing. I can go on and on about why I didn’t get stuff done but that’s not an answer. The better use of time, today, is looking at the rest of my week and deciding how I’m going to catch up. And then going out and doing it. 🙂

    • September 8, 2014, 12:54 pm   /  Reply

      I am glad you were encouraged by today’s post, Melissa.
      And if you ever need someone to run defense for you, just let me know!

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