Ticked Off

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“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4.26-27 NIV 

I don’t know about you, but I have found that sometimes anger feels good. Especially when it comes with a chemical high from the hormone cocktail of adrenalin, endorphins, and dopamine that is literally going straight to my head.

This is never righteous anger, though. Instead, it is self-righteous, and it characterizes the fourth stage of the FASTER Scale*.

F – Forgetting Priorities. Start believing the present circumstances and move away from trusting God.

A – Anxiety. A growing background noise of undefined fear.

S – Speeding Up. Trying to outrun the anxiety, which is usually the first sign of depression.

T – Ticked Off. Getting adrenaline high on anger and aggression.

E – Exhausted. Loss of physical and emotional energy; coming off the adrenaline high and the onset of depression.

R – Relapse. Returning to the place you swore you would never go again. 

Forgetting Priorities has led us out of God’s realm of safety and structure, leading to Anxiety that cultivates increased feelings of unease and fear. If we do not turn back the way we came, we Speed Up in a futile attempt to outrun our addiction. When this fails, that hormone cocktail I mentioned earlier fuels the Ticked Off stage.

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“At this stage,” Diane Roberts writes in Eight Pillars to Freedom, “we are facing crises everywhere because all our tanks are on low. We over-react, defend ourselves, resent others, and can’t take criticism. “

Rationality and logic are replaced by the tunnel vision of anger. We may act out in non-sexual ways, purposefully making unhealthy choices about food, work, and our personal lives. Roberts explains, “Our anger pushes us to a place of entitlement where we feel we deserve to ________________ because of how others have treated us or disappointed us.”

Being Ticked Off limits the brain to black and white thinking. There is very little ability to acknowledge or perceive the gradual progression and complex stages of addiction and recovery. The Ticked Off brain spins too quickly to be reasoned with. It only has time for the shortest neural pathways—the quick leaps in judgment where everything is either all or nothing.

Recovery is not working. I have gotten nowhere. The temptations should be going away and they’re not.

These judgments are inevitable precursors to pivotal questions: Is any of this worth it? Can I even do it?

And there it is: the foothold Paul warns the Ephesians about.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Ephesians 4.26-27

If we give him that ground, he will take it, and the cycle will progress into Exhaustion then Relapse. But you can still turn back!

Run to God. Do not hesitate, do not take even one look back. Just go and take your anger to Him. He is the only one who knows what to do with it.

Contributor: Jordan N.

*FASTER Scale developed by Michael Dye from Genesis Process

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