When You Feel Like Screaming

We all have those days.

  • An ending string of red lights—and you’re late for work.
  • The person who always misuses there, their, and they’re. (There annoying, aren’t they?)
  • Long lines, especially airport security lines.
  • An unending string of spam and robocalls.
  • Finding out your drive-thru order is wrong after you get home.
  • That whiney kid in the restaurant (who happens to be yours).

Life comes at us like that. No one is immune. But when it’s your turn, what do you do? How do you handle the stress or frustration?

If you want to scream, some will tell you to go for it. In fact, scream therapy has been around since 1970, and it hasn’t gone away. Some people still advocate for it and tell you:

  1. Find a comforting space where you can be alone.
  2. Grab a towel or pillow—anything that can help muffle sound.
  3. Take a few deep breaths, then release, and scream into the towel or pillow.

Or you can just do it digitally.

That’s the Internet for you. You don’t even have to do your own screaming!

Can I offer a better solution?

Express your frustration to God. Yes, I’m talking about prayer, but I’m talking about something deeper and more real than the super-holy yet shallow prayers some people pray in public. Pray—and express your frustration to God. That’s what David did. His prayers were raw with emotion.

“Turn, Lord! Rescue me; save me because of your faithful love…. I am weary from my groaning; with my tears I dampen my bed and drench my couch every night. My eyes are swollen from grief; they grow old because of all my enemies” (Ps. 6:4,6-7).

“My spirit is weak within me; my heart is overcome with dismay. I remember the days of old; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on the work of your hands. I spread out my hands to you; I am like parched land before you. Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Don’t hide your face from me, or I will be like those going down to the Pit. Let me experience your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in you” (Ps. 143:3-8).

Some of the psalms can even sound harsh, but they convey that sense of frustration, despair, and even anger. (Check out Psalms 5,11,12,35,37,52,69,79,83, and 109.) These psalms are not just some spiritual form of scream therapy. The difference is who the frustration is expressed to. David was not screaming into the void; He went to God.

And that’s a good place to go because God can do something about it. When you take it to God, He’s not necessarily going to change all the red lights to green. He’s not going to make the line move faster. And that screaming kid of yours? Sorry. But God will work on your heart. He’ll change your perceptive. He’ll give you peace.

Paul didn’t talk about frustration; he talked about worry, but the same principle applies.

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

So, the next time your circumstances make you want to scream, go ahead. Scream to God. Or whisper. Either way, He’ll hear you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who holds your right hand, who says to you, “Do not fear, I will help you” (Isa. 41:13).

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