Last week, in our ongoing staff training, we talked about the connection between anger and fear. The short of it is that most anger is rooted in fear. Think of anger as a basket of onions. Anger is that outer onion skin that makes the onion messy and dull but protects the insides. When you peel off that onion skin of anger, what’s left are layers of fears, like the layers of an onion. Often, our anger is rooted in a variety of fears. But if we go deeper and ask God to help us deal with our real root fears, God can take them away and that onion isn’t there anymore.
Juan, one of our house parents, shared with me the impact this made on one of our teen girls in the Hope Program. She didn’t want to speak English to a visiting group member, even though her English is actually very good. She said she felt embarrassed to speak English around people. Juan, armed with this new knowledge and sensitive to a nudge from God that there was more, asked her what she was afraid of. She shared that she was afraid to make a mistake. Juan explained to her the onion analogy and said he felt that was a surface fear. After more discussion, she discovered that deep down inside she is really afraid of being rejected.
She was dropped off in a children’s home at age two, and felt that she must have done something horribly wrong for her mom to reject her. All her life she’s worked to make sure she’s not rejected again. She gets good grades in school and does her chores and tries to make everyone around her feel good. Juan and his wife took the opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel with her, that Jesus never rejects us. They prayed together and through lots of tears she expressed that it was the first time she felt like she understood what was going on inside of her. She could see all of the ways in her life that she was working to not be rejected by people, but what she already has is a Heavenly Father who will never leave her. What incredible hope! When she stopped looking at the onion skin and looked inside, God’s truth could be revealed and the process of removing that struggle has begun.