Healthy Soul/Living Out Your Faith/My Life/Teen Life/Witness and Evangelization When To Lose Your Chill by Joel Stepanek Yesterday, I was exhausted. It was one of those, “I can’t keep my eyes open, please don’t talk to me I can’t even speak proper English right now” afternoons. I just wanted coffee. I went to get coffee and they messed up my order. Badly. Then they told me they couldn’t refund my money even though the mistake was their fault. I felt my blood pressure rising as I tried to stay calm. I wanted to walk away from the situation. And I went to reach into my wallet to pull out some chill, but I had none. There was no chill. I completely ran out and had none left to give that day in the coffee shop. None. There are lots of things that make us angry. We get frustrated when we are running late and traffic is terrible. When our teacher gives us homework over a holiday weekend. When we are eating a sandwich and all of the insides fall out and splatter all over our new shoes (this is why I’m against mayonnaise on sandwiches. Also, it’s disgusting). No. Chill. But, if we step back we realize these are pretty dumb things to get frustrated, angry, or crazy about. Yeah, they are inconvenient and annoying – but do they really warrant the loss of chill that they frequently induce? We take out our anger on others and lose our chill because we are stressed and uncomfortable with the situation. Yet, there are plenty of things that we are way too comfortable with. Like that discussion in class that revolves around how abortion is okay, and we sit back and say, “well, everyone has their own opinion.” Or when our friend is about to get behind the wheel of a car after we know they’ve been drinking and they say, “Nah, I’m good,” and we say, “well, I mean… they know their limits.” Maybe the time that your friend at youth group stopped going to Mass altogether and you thought, “I should say something – but I don’t want to be judgy.” Way. Too. Much. Chill. Getting Angry We are taught from a young age to deal with our anger in variety of ways. Some of those were positive ways, but many of us deal with anger by just pushing it down inside of us or ignoring it. We’ve trained ourselves, unfortunately, to view all anger as a bad emotion that we should avoid. We want to remain chill at all times. We definitely need to deal with anger in positive ways – it isn’t a good thing to get mad in traffic and deliberately rear end someone. It is bad to be frustrated with a friend and then spread a rumor about him or her because you are angry. But there are some things we do need to get angry about. There are some things that we need to see and we need to let those things make us mad. We need to let ourselves get anger and then use that anger positively. When we get angry about the right thing and we channel our anger in the right way, we call it “righteous anger.” It should be our response anytime we witness or hear about an act of injustice. As disciples. we have a model for this: Jesus. The next time you get upset about a worthy cause, think about Jesus in the temple. Jesus drove out money changers in the temple with a whip. That He made (John 2:15). Jesus made a whip and drove people out of a temple with it. Can we just let that sink in, please? We have to be ready to lose our chill over issues of life, faith, and salvation. Abortion should make you angry – lives are being lost. And you should channel that anger in positive ways like passionately defending life in school, like reaching out and serving in crisis pregnancy centers, and praying for an end to abortion. Righteous anger doesn’t move us to recklessness – it moves us to action. Stop Playing Nice Your friend ditching Mass should make you mad. You should be frustrated that they are hurting their relationship with Christ. Your frustration should move you to a real conversation with him or her that involves you calling them out. You can do it with love, but you have to call them out. Jesus asks us to do that, too (Luke 17:3). Your friend about to drive drunk? Steal those keys. Hide them in your retainer case. Your friend might be angry with you, but you should be moved to action to potentially save their life and the lives of others on the road. Lose your chill – you have my permission. We place a high emphasis on not being angry and “playing nice,” and many times we do need to find our chill. Some things are really too petty to get mad about – just like my coffee. But there are times we do need to be angry and channel it in the right ways. The world won’t become a better place if we are all sitting comfortable and “chill” while everything else falls apart.