Things that Scare Me and Make Me Angry

“What frightens a people serves as a reliable guide to their idolatries. “angry_commuter

– Vinoth Ramachandra,

Subverting Global Myths

I saw this quote today and believe it to be true. I am going to go one step further with it though in it’s personalization and expanse:

“What frightens and angers me serves as a reliable guide to my idolatries. “

-Benoth Crawfordandara

I have been thinking about this concept quite a bit. I think what it means, is that by looking at why we get angry and frightened at things we can assess the values that we are allowing to replace Christ as our true King. So, what I am going to do is write a list of the things that frighten and/or anger me with the hopes that it will help me to understand what my idols are. Feel free to read along, or better yet, make your own list and share with me what you learned!

Things that Anger me:

  • People who drive in the carpool lane when they shouldn’t
  • People who don’t use their blinkers
  • People who are not consistent
  • People who cut in line
  • When my wife doesn’t answer her phone
  • When I feel misunderstood
  • People who aren’t very intelligent
  • Acting weak or scared
  • Victimization
  • Inefficiency
  • Bureaucratic bull s****
  • “Bad” parenting
  • Out of control kids

Things that I’m afraid of:

  • Crying
  • Crying in public
  • Crying in front of family or friends
  • Failure
  • Letting people down
  • Being Wrong
  • Appearing to be wrong
  • Not getting credit
  • Being weak
  • Being found out
  • God
  • Being vulnerable with my kids
  • Being vulnerable with my dad
  • Being vulnerable with my sister
  • Being vulnerable with my brother
  • Being vulnerable with my mom
  • Being vulnerable with Kami
  • Being vulnerable
  • Taking a stand on something and finding out later I was wrong about it
  • Apologizing
  • Being hurt (emotionally, I don’t care about physically)
  • Mount Everest, K2, Anapurna (top 3 most dangerous mountains)

Well, that give you an idea. This whole list took about 10 minutes. If you would have asked me 9 months ago what I was afraid of I would have told you the mountains. All that to say, this will be a list in progress. I’m interested what I find out about myself from understanding it. Any input? What did you learn from your own list?

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15 thoughts

  1. I spent a few minutes thinking about this, and here are the results:

    Angry:
    People not returning phone calls.
    Road rage (being the brunt of someone else’s rage).
    The decreasing civility of society in general.
    The current economy.
    Prosperity gospel (health-and-wealth)
    My commute (I ride a bus I call “the traveling sardine can”–seldom comfortable or pleasant).
    The Man (as in , working for The Man).
    Stigmatization of the weak in our society.

    Afraid:
    That I’m just supposed to be “good” on the outside and that what’s on the inside doesn’t matter.
    That people don’t like me all that much.
    That I’ll never get married.
    Being scrutinized.
    Being yelled at.
    Being ostracized.
    Being a “pity friend” rather than being treated as an equal.
    My own sinfulness
    Being misunderstood.
    Being left out.

    The last two could also be on the list of things I’m angry about.

  2. Without thinking about this –

    Things that anger me:

    – Anything computer-related that doesn’t work the way it ought to

    – Slow drivers (Seattle drivers are the WORST)

    – People who don’t use their turn signal or rear-view mirror

    – Inefficiency

    – The current state of American culture (or lack thereof)

    – Kitsch

    – People who blindly follow the crowd

    – Rachael Ray

    Things that scare me:

    – Rachael Ray’s vast media empire

    – Falling off of a tall building

    – Drowning

    – Where our culture is headed

    – God (but not often enough)

    – Being criticized

    – Being ashamed

    – Looking stupid

    – Lack of security

    – River otters

  3. My list is very long. It all comes down to pride for me, specifically selfishness and thinking that I am more important than others. I try to remember to quote Phil. 2:3-4 often so that I can put off my selfishness and put on caring about others…even those that cut me off on the road.

  4. So, I’m interested if any of the people reading this that are either posting their list or thinking about it are making any connections about why they are doing these things. I’ve made a few…
    Here’s one I’ve been thinking through.

    I get angry at people who are inefficient. I have realized that this is because I have a VERY HIGH value for efficiency. I have also realized that I have such a high value for this is because it is something that I am good at and when I focus at it I am able to take my mind off of one of the many ways that I am completely un-developed. One of these ways that I am un-developed is when it comes to wanting a very real and personal friendship with God. I find that I get scared of God (like the Israelites on Mt Sinai.) SOOOO…in a sense getting angry at people who are inefficient is a way that I can avoid dealing with my inability to face God. Weird.

  5. I just re-read that and it sounded condescending, sorry – I have also recently realized that what I hate in others is what I hate in myself.

    Hey there is a guy with a jetpack on tv flying over the Royal Gorge!!

  6. Uh oh that sounded condescending when I re-read it. I’m just excited because I also have been realizing that what I hate in other people is what I hate in myself. And I don’t have grace towards myself in those areas and so of course I can’t have it towards other people.

    Hey there’s a guy on tv wearing a jetpack flying over the Royal Gorge!!

  7. Been Sucky McSuckerson about keeping up with online reading—giving this some thought and may post about it sometime (except that my blogging has been in a similar zone as my reading).

  8. I can think of many ways in which this is true for me.
    I find that the many times I judge others and get annoyed, hurt, disgusted, etc. with other people it is often something that I, myself, struggles with.
    (i.e. My dad had slipped and broke off the tip of his elbow and he told my mom not to tell anyone. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I found out about it. I got very angry. I felt that as family we need to share these things with each other. It wasn’t until a conversation with you, Ben, that I realized that I was frustrated with my dad but in actuality, I “hide” my pain, frustrations, struggles, etc. with my family as well. I don’t want to come off as “complaining” or being needy or a burden to anyone.)
    Or when I get frustrated when someone cuts me off (I see that this is a common theme in what makes people angry) I do it sometimes myself.

    Maybe these are dumb examples or maybe I “misunderstood” you and this wasn’t the point you were trying to make and I am one of the “not very intelligent people” you were referring to.

  9. Hey Grace, you said:

    “I get frustrated when someone cuts me off (I see that this is a common theme in what makes people angry) I do it sometimes myself.”

    I would say a couple of things to this:
    First off, I know for me that when I get angry with people/situations, I have found that there is ALWAYS a correlation.

    The second, and more difficult thing is in understanding why or where that correlation exists. I would think of it in terms of this. It’s not that you get angry about people cutting you off and you sometimes do it yourself…but rather, there is something inside of you that makes you angry with people who cut you off. This same thing that causes you to be angry is probably also related to why you cut people off.

    I’ll speak from my own experience. I get angry at people who don’t use a blinker. I ALWAYS use a blinker. On the outside you might say that there is no correlation. But you need to dig deeper. One thing I have learned about myself is that I have (what I would consider) very high standards for myself (who doesn’t?). In getting angry with people who don’t use their blinker, I realize that I have very high standards for others as well. Some might say that high standards are great. Well, not in the way that I am using them. One thing that I have realized about myself is that I have a lot of fear when it comes to not meeting standards. Standards of my family, my friends, myself, and ultimately my God. The problem with this is that when it comes to God his standard is brokenness. And my standard is to ALWAYS use a blinker. This is obviously a silly example but it shows a much deeper issue of how afraid I am to rest in Christ’s merit and exist under Him AS my standard. In this example, I have learned that I am much more comfortable presenting myself to God with my standards rather than his. The natural result of this is that I very naturally apply my standards to the entire world around me. So it is funny how I can go from getting pissed at someone not using their blinker to understanding that I have created a standard for myself to stand outside of faith.

    In this class that I am teaching on the fall we discussed this concept: “Most people have a very high belief in the fall….. when it comes to others.” Of course we have a very low belief when it comes to our self. This exercise was designed to help link the two with the goal of understanding my own brokenness and as a results FULLY embracing the Gospel.

  10. “Most people have a very high belief in the fall….. when it comes to others.”

    I think that was my main point. At least I think it was. It’s very similar to the whole “plank in your own eye” concept.

    Although it’s difficult, I am trying to work on figuring out my own issues, the reasons I do things, the way that I think, etc. It’s not easy, that’s for sure.

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