Anger, Angst, Anxiety: The Ugly Triplets

“The most difficult obstacles to overcome are those you personally imagine and place in your own way.” – Dr. Brad Semp

HERE’S the deal. I like to speed. Better yet I don’t even know if I like it as much as I enjoy getting to my destination on time. I feel a need to be quick and efficient and when others don’t and aren’t on the same page that’s when I become frustrated. Grandmas driving like it’s their first time out of the house. Teens actually driving for the first time out of the house. Others swerving and passively driving like everyday was Sunday.

I may have just demonstrated how all three emotions can play out: Anger, Angst, Anxiety. Anger: Frustration at others’ driving, Angst: The urge to get somewhere and to just do, no matter what. Anxiety: The unsteady, overstimulation of the mind. Three ugly triplets each with different traits. When I say ugly, I mean U-G-L-Y. I mean that they fell off the UGLY tree and hit every branch on the way down. They destroy and often when they show up and creep in on the scene you’d better be cautious because they consume.

A Story

I was driving on my way to my Mother’s house after work to visit her for her birthday. Granted It’d taken an extra long time because of the traffic surrounding a city at rush hour and fact she lives in another state. As I’d gotten about 30 minutes away I’d ran into not traffic, but slow drivers. I mean can you believe they were actually obeying the speed limit? Lol. Not only that they were going under. This persisted in a line of about 3 cars for awhile. Not surprisingly when I’d had a turn coming up that they led the way by taking the same turn. Great I thought. Just what I’d wanted.

YET as I followed suit I took a breather and considered this moment. Why exactly was I in a rush? Why was I even feeling burdened beyond anything if I had no specific time to be home? My mom was out with my step-dad. I guess I just wanted to be to my destination already and after driving awhile that makes sense. Yet the bigger and more important thing I realized is that this isn’t the only time this happens to me. When things happen outside of me, things happen within me. I can only control one of those world’s: The inside. And even then, I need all of Christ’s grace to propel me forward in doing so.

Yet I learned that my frustration, anger, impatience can be snapped and snitched. DESPITE what’s going on around me. I realized that the reason I felt rushed was because I’d become accustomed to wanting to just “get there” wherever “there” was when driving.

A-Type of Crazy

I believe what I’m about to say is so important because we live in the “Age of Anxiety.” Even Type-B personalities are becoming Type-A, and not a healthy Type-A but extreme, race to finish, constantly busy, mind-crowded type of Type-A which I’d rather call A-Type of madness.

I don’t mean that person is crazy, only the mindset. Let me pose a question. Is it worth making yourself ultra-busy if you have to suffer for it with anger and anxiety? What if the real dividends come at the cost of you emotional and mental health?

Is over-working worth it if all you do becomes work and yet you cannot buy back your time to enjoy any of it?

Over / Under

Is it better to work too much or to be lazy?

I find consolation in that I believe those who do too much are in a much better place than those who you have to push to do ANYTHING.

As Bishop T.D. Jakes said: “I’d rather God have to slow me down than to have to prop me up, push me, put bricks under me, and propel me into action just to move a step forward.”

Don’t you know many like that? Those who lack drive and could use a dose of fire under them. While on the same token there are those who have drive in abundance yet lack focus, concentration, discipline and relaxation.

Yet I’d submit that those who go “over” can tame their drivenness and are in a better position. Yet I believe it takes discipline, and first mental discipline.

Ask yourself next time you’re in traffic, why am I so frustrated?

Think to yourself, I could be the one banging on the steering wheel screaming at the chaos of the situation OR I could be the one jamming along to music finding myself going with that which I cannot control?

Yet it is a choice. I am thankful for the drive yesterday when I’d paused to consider the moment and reason for my emotions, otherwise I’d probably be seeking every opportunity to pass the cars in front of me. Yet it is not worth it. We have to slow down and enjoy the ride, enjoy life, enjoy others. Not everything is on a time schedule. You can’t rush the best things in life.

I’m not saying the solution is “going with the flow.” I’m saying it’s actually carving your own stream and then wading the rivers of it.

Only “dead fish” go with the flow. Sure, there is a time to just “go with it” and relinquish control of things you have absolutely no control over. So I’m not speaking to that. I’m speaking to when you have the control of yourself and can and will take control of yourself and your destiny.

The great thing is you get to choose. Choose wisely.

“Real growth is when you start checking and correcting yourself.” (Lighthouse Houston Church)


“There are two sources of unhappiness in life. One is getting what you want: The other is getting it.” (George Bernard Shaw)


Alexander Oram

August 17, 2018





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