Angry Christian: A Destructive Journey Toward a Growing Compassion (Introduction)

Discovering The Enneagram

Recently, I’ve been doing a book study with a number of close friends of mine (and even some new friends I never knew I had!). The study is through the book titled, The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile. To summarize, the book is an introductory journey through the enneagram, which is simply a tool to help you understand your personality type as well as your weaknesses and strengths in this personality type.

As I write this, we are only in our second week of the study, but it also means we have read through the first five chapters of the book. The first two chapters were an introduction to the enneagram, and chapters three through five were a deeper dive into the eight, nine, and one personality types on the enneagram.

Chapter three is the eight, or The Challenger personality type. It is the first personality type they really dive deeply into the book. And wouldn’t you know it, it is the personality type that I am.

I like to read (can’t say I always have though), but I go through books much faster when I use the audio book version. I already suspected that I was an eight based on the brief introduction to the subject in the first two chapters, but decided to let my wife listen to chapter 3 with me and get her first hand reaction as they described that personality type, mostly to see if she agreed with what I had already felt was likely my type.

Literally everything mentioned in that chapter my wife would simply nod in agreement and say, “Yep, this is definitely you!”

Friends, it is absolutely important to understand this recent development in me that has brought new understanding of myself in my current stage of life because if you understand what drives an eight personality type, and how they instinctively react to situations and people, then you will understand my life story and how I got to where I am now.

STARTING AT ALMOST THE END

Usually, when you tell a story, you start at the beginning. But to truly appreciate my story, then starting at the end makes more sense.

But first, let me introduce myself…my name is Brad Bates, and I am a recovering angry Christian.

I had spent many years fuming and bubbling internally and externally over various people and aspects of my life, not knowing why I would feel so angry, or why I would lash out the way I did. But, thanks to the God I serve and His infinite grace, He opened my eyes to my heart condition and opened a door for me to truly take a look at myself and see myself as others saw me…and I didn’t like it…at all.

You see, on one fateful Halloween Day back in 2017, I walked into my office at the company I was working for at the time expecting a normal day on the job. Little did I know that within 30 minutes of walking through those doors that my life would get, in the words of a famous Prince, flipped turned upside down.

People, my life wasn’t just flipped and turned upside down, my life was rocked to the core.

On October 31, 2017 I was fired from a job I had held for almost 10 years. I was a married father of four children, with a brand new house we just bought, my wife didn’t work, and I just lost my primary source of income and support for my family.

I was angry, scared, and confused.

Why would God let something like this happen to me?

Doesn’t He realize that I have four children and a wife to take care of?

Doesn’t He realize I just bought a house?

How am I supposed to pay for this thing with no job?

Doesn’t He realize that I am a victim here?

Or was I?

THE JOURNEY AHEAD

The journey ahead is really a journey through what I’ve left behind.

My hope is that over the course of several months of writing and podcasts, I am going to unpack for you how a cute and adorable kid like myself from the great state of West Virginia can go from a happy go-lucky kid in the 80’s to an angry Christian in his mid-30’s on the verge of a major life shaking crisis, and then ultimately how I’ve come out on the other side of that.

Truth be told, my real hope is that people will read this and find themselves in one of three possible scenarios:

  1. Reading my story and stopping themselves from going down the same path.
  2. Reading my story and passing it on to others to help stop others around them from going down the same path.
  3. Or reading my story and finding a way to heal from and move forward from having been down the same path I took.

So, sit back, put your seat belts on, and enjoy the ride. There’s bound to be some bumps along the way. But together, perhaps we can pull out of a destructive path and put ourselves back on to a healthy road toward a growing compassion for ourselves and for others.

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