Sometimes we need to vent — to let off a little steam when we're irritated, wounded, disappointed, or grief-stricken. Because many of us have never learned to properly vent these things, we can take our frustration a little too far and really "blow our stack." Some of us get a "bee in our bonnet" or get something "stuck in our craw." No matter what you call it, sooner or later, you are going to experience it.

You may, or may not, get that "blow your stack" feeling very often. However, our frustrations often feel much more bearable when someone is around to listen to our woes, offer a helpful suggestion and a lot of support, and let you do a little constructive venting. It's so nice when a good friend is available to give some emotional support while you release your frustrations more calmly so they don't blow up on someone at the wrong time and in the wrong way. We all need someone to lean on at times like this.

I recently watched the Travel Channel and was fascinated to see some footage of Old Faithful at Yellowstone National Park. According to the park ranger, the Old Faithful geyser erupts every ninety-two minutes, with a temperature of 199 degrees Fahrenheit. That's impressive: a natural venting! Now if we could all find a nice and regular way to constructively vent off our anger, frustrations, hurts, and disappointments in a faithful way!

In the past two weeks, I have heard about many upsetting things happening to various people. Some have been relationship problems, pet illnesses, work-related problems, concerns over church matters, health problems, a rebellious child, and even broken appliances. Hopefully having someone to share these burdens with has helped these people vent and not carry these problems until they explode from the internal pressure.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes things go from bad to worse? Problems can accumulate and have a snowball effect. They can go on a downward spiral. Without a way to dissipate that internal pressure in a constructive way, the accumulated stress, the build up of the snowball, and the ever-increasing speed of a downward spiral can destroy many of us and those around us.

A few years ago, I did something really dumb. But first, keep in mind that it takes a lot to get me upset, and I don't lose my temper very often. However, I became very upset about a particular matter and decided that I would do something constructive with my anger. Unfortunately I had let that anger accumulate to a very explosive point.

While standing on the back patio, I decided to water the grass. Unfortunately I was so mad and distracted, that I accidentally slipped off the small step and landed in the soft grass in my back yard. In the process, I twisted my ankle as I landed and lay there in pain. As if this wasn't bad enough, the water hose (going full blast) spewed all over the yard — watering me, too. While I was down and in pain, and getting wetter by the minute, the family dog jumped all over me. Since I was home alone, I had to hobble to the car and drive myself to the urgent care facility. Fortunately, my ankle wasn't broken, but the sprain gave me pain for a long time and I had to use crutches, at first, to aid my recovery. The really dumb thing was that I did all this to myself because I had let my anger build up — this was my own fault. I don't even remember what I was so mad about. I learned a lesson that day about what can go wrong when I lose my "cool."

Learn to vent them with a friend in the Lord!
Frayed jeans, jackets, skirts, and other frayed apparel are the "in" thing, right now, and are considered very stylish. These frayed irregularities remind me that we all can sometimes get frayed nerves. Our spiritual lives can sometimes become frayed too. Emotionally, or spiritually speaking, you might be frayed, fuming, or feeling fabulous at the moment. However, sooner or later, you are going feel the pressure and pain of frustration, anger, disappointment, and grief. Rather than trying to ignore or mask these things, learn to vent them to a friend in the Lord who can help re-assure and encourage you in your walk with the Lord.

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires (James 1:19-20 NIV).