Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

“In your anger do not sin”:
Do not let the sun go down on your anger
and do not give the devil a foothold.

Most counselors agree that suppressing anger ultimately does nothing to
eliminate it. Suppressed anger resembles moss living in the damp, dark,
corner of the basement. You may not see it, but it is spreading. It does
not go away on its own. So, even though suppression is a choice, let’s
agree that it is not a desirable one.
Les Carter, Ph.D., Frank Minirth, M.D. The Anger Workbook

Reflecting back now, Dave’s shoulder replacement surgery was such a gift for him and me. For him he was pain free for the first time in 20 years and for me it was the beginning of the healing of my wounded heart. Fortunately, before the surgery, I took a risk and shared my fears with Dave, our children and our closest friends. Dave becoming aware of my fears caused him to be upset at first but it was not the anger that I expected and prepared myself for.

His response was the complete opposite– I was surprised by his response. He was kind and considerate of my feelings and the weight of the responsibility that normally weighed heavily upon me. Dave called our closest friends to walk alongside the both of us – giving me breaks from the 24/7 care – holding him accountable for his emotional stability. After the surgery, when his care began, he went out of his way to make sure that I was okay. He was appreciative of my care, he had grace for me and laughed with me when my clumsy hands messed up.

I was in awe of the change that God had done in his heart but it caused me to become aware that I had not changed the way I responded to him – I was stuck in old patterns and feelings. I didn’t like the words that came out of my mouth or the sarcastic tone. I became aware of the moss that had grown in the damp dark corner of my heart. I became aware of the foothold I had given Satan. I desperately needed the Holy Spirit to show me the roots of those old patterns so that He could heal and change my heart too …

When I kept silent my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
PSALM 32:3

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”
Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.

I was not aware that I harbored anger in my heart for Dave. I knew that during his cancer journey, he had hurt me with his outbursts of rage, but I knew how much he was suffering. His emotional and physical pain were at the root of his anger. But instead of dealing with my hurt, I chose to bury my hurt and forgive him – all for the sake of peace. After all, I thought, wasn’t that the “Christian” way? I prided myself for being the calming force in our family. BUT … when I let the sun go down on my hurt/anger, I allowed a bitter root to develop in my heart that I had no idea was there. I built walls around my heart – I withdrew.

Until … last year when Dave’s surgeon told us that Dave’s shoulder (the only one he has) needed to be replaced and he would not be able to use his arm for six weeks!! I would have to be his everything – except for his being able to walk but I would have to be by his side 24/7. I would need to feed him, bathe him, dress him – yes everything! I nearly had a panic attack right there in the Dr’s office!

Now, it was not the amount of care that scared me – what I was deathly afraid of was him being in pain and completely at the end of himself. I remembered, in the past, his frustration and anger towards me because I am clumsy and not as coordinated as he is. (I swear he can do more with his less dominate right hand than I can with my two hands!) I remembered the sleepless nights, the constant tension of walking on eggshells to avoid his anger and the guilt and shame I felt whenever I resented having to be his sole caregiver and recipient of his anger.

Now I knew that Dave had matured since that time BUT I remembered the pain, the hurt and the shame – those wounds that had never healed. As I remembered I was surprised and appalled at the intensity of my feelings. The angry bitter root was exposed and now healing could begin. Awareness is the first step to transformation …

Search me O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you.
And lead me along the path of everlasting life.
PSALM 139:23-24 (NLT)

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

“Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.
And the best of the three is love.”

One of our greatest needs is to be loved, supported and accepted by those we love. When this need is not met and we feel the pain of rejection it can cause us to feel hurt, fear or frustration resulting in anger. We feel anger at the very ones we desire to receive the love and acceptance from. I know this was my own personal struggle with Dave.

While I always felt loved by Dave, for the first 33 years of our marriage I never felt like he “liked” me. He was always trying to “change” me, “improve” me and “challenge” me to be different from who I truly was. I know that he meant well but it eventually led to me feeling rejected and not liking myself and that made me angry at Dave and at myself for not being able change into the person he wanted me to be. Recently I read a quote in a random Instagram Post that really pierced my heart:

“When you keep criticizing your kids, they don’t stop loving you. They stop loving themselves.”

While this is so true about the effects criticism has on our children, I feel it is equally true within marriages and relationships with those we love. Sadly, feeling rejected by those we love can cause immeasurable damage to our emotional stability.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who has a heart for God, and he listens to the Holy Spirit that lives within him. Eleven years ago Dave read a book entitled, “The Cure” by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNichol and John Lynch – it took him back to the Scriptures and began to transform his Spiritual walk with God and with others. He started experiencing the grace of God for himself and for others – including me!

While I so appreciated the transformation that was taking place in Dave’s heart and our marriage, it did not happen overnight. After all, our Spiritual walk with God is a journey and I still did not know or was aware that I had long harbored anger within my heart. To be continued …

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry …” EPHESIANS 4:26 (NIV)

On the journey together,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Anger is an emotion that is common to every person.
Because we are imperfect people in an imperfect world,
we are guaranteed to regularly encounter this emotion.
The Anger Workbook by Les Carter, Ph.D and Frank Minirth, M.D.

Looking back at our childhoods has been very beneficial for Dave and I when dealing with our anger issues. We can easily see how we learned the pattern of Oppressor and Suppressor from the homes where we were raised. Both were loving, for which we are forever thankful, but neither was exactly healthy in the way that anger was expressed.

For me, I grew up in a very affirming home. It was not perfect by no means, but my mother was affirming in both her love and discipline of me. I was taught never to intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings which is why I learned early on to suppress my anger because I never wanted to cause anyone to feel the pain that I did when someone was angry with me. Whenever I felt anger I would cry instead of rage – I hated feeling anger and I hated anger expressed to me. Thus, I would cower, withdraw, and suppress – so destructive for me.

Dave was raised in a totally different family. His family was not afraid to express their anger and as a result, was not very affirming. He felt free to express his anger and felt justified to show me how I could be a “better” person because that was the way he was raised. He called it constructive criticism. He sincerely felt his criticism was helping me and our children. While his heart was in the right place, the effects of his patterns that he learned in his childhood were destructive to himself and those he loved.

But to combine these two scenarios was a devastating cocktail for me and Dave – it led to my depression. When I started searching for the root of my depression, I discovered the anger that I never knew existed within my heart. This discovery over the past year, has led me to a miracle healing of my heart.

Struggling with anger? Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how those patterns developed.

And this same God, who takes care of me
will supply all your needs from his glorious riches,
which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Although you may not always like the presence of your anger,
you can make choices about how you handle it.
The Anger Workbook by Les Carter, PHD, Frank Minirth, M.D.

The Scripture is quite is clear about anger and the consequences of how we choose to respond to it. It is our choice …,

Rash language cuts and maims,
but there is healing in the words of the wise.

Kind words heal and help;
cutting words wound and maim.

A gentle response defuses anger,
but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.

The mouth of a good person is a deep, life-giving well,
but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.

Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.

Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly,
the prudent quietly shrug off insults.

Hot tempers start fights;
a calm, cool spirit keeps the peace.

The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;

Outrage and outbursts seldom have a good outcome in any situation.
Dr. David Jeremiah

On the journey with you,
Jan & Dave Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Go ahead and be angry.
You do well to be angry –
but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.
And don’t stay angry.
Don’t go to bed angry.
Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

Feeling anger is not a sin but how we react to that feeling is where we can open ourselves up to sin. The above Scripture describes two ways we can sin in response to feeling anger. We can be an oppressor by allowing rage to control us and control others or we can be a suppressor of our anger and allow a bitter root of resentment to grow poisoning our relationship. Dave and I have both responses covered – we are both guilty.

Dave was an oppressor and his anger exploded during his cancer journey. Whenever he would feel anger because of fear, hurt or frustration, he would often explode with uncontrollable rage. He was never physically abusive but he was definitely verbally abusive with his words and tone which would send me inside myself and I would shut down. But I knew he was unable to express his pain by crying (he was taught that boys don’t cry) and I felt sorry for him.

But I was hurt by his words and by stuffing and suppressing that pain/anger I was feeling, a bitter root of resentment developed in my heart towards Dave. And to top it off I built walls around that bitter root so that it continued to grow – it slowly poisoned me from the inside out.

Fortunately for Dave, several years after Dave’s amputation he went for a year of anger counseling when he became aware that his rage was sin and I can honestly testify that Dave has not had a rageful fit for 25 years. But I was not made aware of my suppressed anger until I started walking through my anger issues this past year.

Awareness is the first step to transforming behaviors and the Holy Spirit which lives inside of me, has been revealing to me one of the roots of my adult lifelong battle with depression. Suppressing anger was destroying me from the inside out. I am so grateful to share that I no longer suppress my hurt, fear or frustration and I have experienced the healing Grace of God this past year through my husband, my adult children and the heartfelt counsel of old and new friends that God has blessed me with.

How do you respond when you feel anger? I pray that if you are struggling that you will pray and ask God to direct you to others who can help you with your hurts, fear and frustrations. It is life-giving! Life-changing!

The heartfelt counsel of a friend
is as sweet as perfume and incense.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured

Understand this, my brothers and sisters:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak,
and slow to get angry.
JAMES 1:19 (NLT)

Over the past year, I have been working through an Anger Workbook with my close friend, Nancy Beggs. As we have journeyed together through our anger issues and the anger issues of our spouses, God has shown me so much on how suppressing my anger and my passive aggressive ways in response to that anger, have hurt myself and my family.

Feeling anger is not a sin but a red flag warning that I am either feeling hurt, fear or frustration. It is how I respond to that feeling that will determine whether I sin or not. Both suppression and oppression of anger are sinful reactions. I knew expressing rage was wrong but I always thought that by stuffing and swallowing my anger that I was being “Christ-like” by not hurting others. But in reality, I was hurting myself and others with my passive aggressive responses.

God has shown me that I can indeed feel, acknowledge, and express my anger in a Christ-like way when I Pause (realize what I am feeling) Pray (ask Him to help me to understand what was said and whether my feelings are justified) and then allow Him to help me Respond in a loving way. At first, this was very difficult for me because I never wanted to ignite a fight and I always feared the other’s response. But it has been amazing to me how when I choose to Pause, Pray and then Respond how the outcome is so healing in my relationships with others.

I pray that this is helpful to all the suppressors and oppressors (yes it is helpful for them too!) that are reading this. Practice PPR and see the difference it makes in your life and relationships!

Don’t worry about anything,
instead pray about everything.
Tell God what you need,
and thank Him for all He has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace,
which exceeds anything we can understand.

On the journey with you,
Jan Dravecky


Anger, Endurance for the Journey, Featured


You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
JOB 18:4 (NIV) (Bildad – One of Job’s “friends”)

Dr. Gary Oliver gave me a way of dealing with my anger. He introduced me to what he calls “The Anger Curve.” He draws a curved arch and along the ascending line writes, “hurt, frustration, fear.” At the height of the arch goes the word “anger.”

He then explains how many people (including me) don’t register much – if any – emotional connection with their hurt, frustration and fear. They don’t feel anything until they get to the point of anger. Once many guys become angry, they may be unable to stop their heated outbursts.

This tool showed me how to track the origins of my rising anger back to hurt, frustration or fear, and to identify how close I am to the top of the curve. I don’t write out this curve every time I feel anger coming on, but I’ve learned to ask myself, Why am I angry? Is this anger growing out of hurt or frustration or fear?

Go ahead and be angry.
You do well to be angry –
But don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.
And don’t stay angry.
Don’t go to bed angry.
Don’t give the Devil that kind
of foothold in your life.

On the journey with you,
Dave Dravecky


Anger, Healing, On the Journey Together, Pain, Words of Endurance

“There will be a time of Reckoning.
Words are powerful;
Take them seriously.
Words can be your salvation.
Words can also be your damnation.”
MATTHEW 12:36-37

Jan and I are on this journey together in this new season. However my challenges – at least at this point – are quite different from hers.

I never realized the impact of my words. But over the last five years I have begun to recognize more than ever just how powerful my words have been and how I have used them to control others to meet my high expectations. When I look back on my life as a husband and a father, I regretfully now know that my words have had an affect on the people that matter most to me.

Upon further reflection I have seen how I have used my words and my anger to manipulate to get my way. I have seen how my words have been critical and judgmental which has caused much discouragement and pain to the recipients. I’ve seen how my words have destroyed and torn down the ones I love the most when all my heart meant to do was challenge them to do better. But what God desires for me to do is the exact opposite with my words.

So why did I struggle so much with my words towards my loved ones? To be honest I don’t really know how to answer that. I am sure some of you as you read these confessions are probably trying to help me out right now. And I don’t blame you because before I had these revelations I would have been doing the same thing – I would have tried to fix me too!

I do know that my perfectionism and the need to control has been a significant part of my story. As an athlete I had high expectations of myself and I needed to be in control. When I lost control I feared failure. That is how I felt about my family. In the end I guess you could say I’ve been extremely selfish in my life wanting life to go my way. It has been hard to realize that our family life isn’t all about Dave.

These are really hard things for me to share with you because I’m not sure what you will think of me after you read this. But I have discovered there is great freedom in being known for who you truly are – there is freedom in not hiding.

Watch the way you talk.
Let nothing foul or dirty
come out of your mouth.
Say only what helps,
each word a gift.

On The Journey With You,
Dave Dravecky


Anger, Healing, On the Journey Together, Words of Endurance

Go ahead and be angry.
You do well to be angry –
But don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.
Don’t stay angry.
Don’t go to bed angry.
Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

Oh how I wish I had paid heed to this Scripture. It would have saved me from so much heartache, despair and deep-rooted depression. Instead of dealing with my anger on a daily basis I have stuffed and denied my anger – burying it deep inside my heart. Instead of expressing my anger I silenced my voice for fear of being rejected. And then I built a wall around my heart to protect it.

Anger is a secondary emotion to fear, hurt or frustration. The roots of my anger have been fear and hurt – fear of man and having my heart hurt – hurt by the words and actions of others. Anger is an emotion that is very hard for me to experience. I never am able to communicate the words to respond or express my anger – the only way that I express my anger is through tears.

When I was given the freedom to be me I first had to look deep into my heart to see the wounds that I had experienced and I realized how hurt and angry I have been through the years. But if I wanted to heal I knew I needed to do it … I trusted the Holy Spirit was leading me.

Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong –
then guide me on the road to eternal life.

On The Journey With You,
Jan Dravecky