Why It IS Okay to be Mad at God and What to Do If You Are Mad at HIM

Why It IS Okay to be Mad at God and What to Do If You Are Mad at HIM
It was 1995 when someone first suggested that I was probably mad at God and that it was absolutely okay to be mad at God. I had lost my first daughter, Christina, when I was six months pregnant and had been told that I would have to have a hysterectomy compounding my grief over the loss of my daughter with the broken dream of never being a mother. Yes, I was mad. Probably more like furious. I remember going to pick up her ashes from that place – looking at this plastic brown box, sans any marking but a piece of paper with her name on it – and thinking that this was just cruel. How could a loving God allow such hardship and suffering? It was unthinkable to me at the time.

In the past 25 years, I have had plenty more opportunities to be mad at God, get over it, and get mad again like when I found out that over 2 decades of my life had been a total lie, or that I was starting over at age 58 with basically nothing. Yes, I have had plenty to be mad at God about over the years.

I have had many memorable conversations with priests, nuns and laypeople on this topic starting in 1995. This is not some blasphemy or heresy. I have spent 25 years discussing this subject with anyone who had an interest. Of note, I spent a decade helping some Catholic cloistered nuns and that provided some exceptionally sweet and very rich opportunities for religious discussions. Being mad at God is not something that we often discuss, yet I believe it is so worthwhile. And I can only speak about this from the Catholic perspective. Perhaps in other Christian religions or other religious denominations being mad at God is not okay. I am completely confident that it is absolutely okay in the Catholic religion.

If we are fortunate to live long enough we all get the chance to experience disappointments, broken promises, shattered dreams, losses of all kinds, the death of loved ones, deep betrayal, and pain. When we have a relationship with God, HE – our Heavenly Father – expects us to have these human feelings and HE understands. In order to be mad at God, you have to have some sort of relationship with HIM. Let’s face it, we can all get mad at strangers, however unless you have really low self-esteem, or other issues like holding grudges, etc.  most of us don’t hold onto anger with a stranger. It comes and goes quickly and is forgotten. So being mad at God is reasonable if you have a relationship with Him. Or even if you don’t, you could start a relationship with God by being mad at Him. Before I talk about how you might deal with being angry at God I want to pause and talk about why this is so important AKA the benefits to a belief in God.

Benefits to Believing in God:
Since we could also call this blog, “The World According to Lisa” (Haha), I am going to give you my rendition of why believing in God is so powerful. I never knew until recently that believing in God and religion was a coping mechanism or strategy. Wow! I just never, ever knew that. Not a surprise given that I had also never thought about my own coping mechanisms or strategies. So, this is my take on the benefits to believing in God – from the Catholic perspective.

  1. God is LOVE. Belief in God is belief in Love and all things good.
  2. Provides guidelines for moral living.
  3. According to M. Scott Peck, M.D., people who believe in God or a ‘higher power’ were psychologically healthier than people who did not. (from People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck, M.D.)
  4. Provides eternal hope – for eternal life and Heaven.
  5. Provides a powerful context for suffering (Jesus on the cross for example).
  6. Provides a powerful context for evil.
  7. It’s a good coping mechanism or strategy.
  8. You are NEVER alone when you have God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit (The Trinity).
  9. Provides a community.
  10. Provides a purpose – you are working your way to Heaven.
  11. Provides the space the miracles to occur – with God ALL things are possible.
  12. Significant comfort when loved ones pay away to have the belief in Heaven and eternal life.
  13. Provides a “super hero” mentality that GOD has your back – the Most Powerful Entity in the Universe cares for you! HE has a better plan for you.
  14. Provides the Corporal Works of Mercy
  15. Provides the Spiritual Works of Mercy
  16. Prayer provides comfort, peace, healing, strength, and more.
  17. Confession – teaches self-forgiveness, self-compassion, forgiveness of others, humanity.

To me, that is an amazing list of benefits! To me, the above list is exceptionally powerful. And this is why, in my humble opinion, it is important to understand that is it okay to be mad at God and have an idea of what to do about that because you would never want to give up that list of benefits permanently or at least I hope not.

The first step in dealing with any situation or problem is to acknowledge it. Acknowledge that you are angry with God and have that be okay. It doesn’t matter what you are angry with God about, big or small, just own that you are mad at God. Acknowledge the loss, the pain, the disappointment, the broken promises or shattered dreams. Give words to your situation. Then I would suggest that you start the grieving process and feel your feelings. There is a progression to grieving anything, which humm…not sure I want to get into that right now, but at any rate – start grieving. Feel your feelings.

While you might not feel like it, it can be very therapeutic to pray to God while you are angry and furious. Let’s face it, don’t you want your children, if you have them, to express their anger at you when they are angry? I sure hope so. God, as our Heavenly Father, expects us to have the full range of emotions that HE designed us to have. HE, as our Father, can take us being angry with HIM. Trust me, HE can take it. So, when you are furious, angry or mad, it’s the perfect time to tell God how HE let you down. Vent. Express. Rage if that is your style. Get it all out of your system. And then do it again if you have to.

Keep the Faith.

Eventually, your anger will subside. Then you can look at what there is to grow and develop in your spiritual life. A few years ago, when I found myself in a rather unpleasant and frankly shocking situation, of course I was angry with God. Once I cooled off, I did an inventory of what I could grow and develop in my spiritual life and set some goals to grow my spiritual side. One of the goals that I set back then was to increase my prayer life. While I had always been a fan of prayer and praying, especially praying for others, it just seemed to me that I could increase my prayer life. And so, my children and I embarked on memorizing new prayers at part of the process. In hindsight, this was a rich gift to me. I can’t say that I was thinking that at the time when I was in the throes of such extreme difficulty and hardship. But then that’s how life goes. We can look back and see how God has used hardship and difficulties to make us be better people.

Hardship either makes you better or bitter. You get to choose.

Talking to a priest or other religious person can help. So, can books, DVD’s, and other materials. The most important thing is to understand that it is okay to be mad at God. And you will eventually get past it with time, prayer, and sometimes some support from your peeps. I have found it very freeing to be able to own when I am mad at God. It’s an opportunity. Having the faith that HE has a better plan for me than I could ever have for myself – now that is powerful. That’s the kind of power that I would never give up. I would only temporarily get mad and then get over it.

Concluding Thoughts:
I wish for your this beautiful life that you LOVE. I want you to LOVE your LIFE. And we all know that life is hard. Sometimes so, so hard. Having a belief in God can be overwhelmingly positive and helpful. So, if you happen to be out of sorts with God, perhaps you are mad at HIM. And that would be a powerful place to start.

How can I help you LOVE your LIFE? What do you think about being mad at God? What can you grow and develop in your spiritual life? What is on your heart and mind today?
Love,
Lisa

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