The Anger of Adele

Music has been a hot topic over the past week. Whitney Houston's sudden death on Saturday has lit up headlines, and the Grammy awards on Sunday evening created talk about artists ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Lady Gaga. One artist on the show held a lot of attention as she won award after award. Adele, a 23-year-old British singer, walked away with the evening's biggest awards and performed for the first time in months following vocal surgery. The song she sang was her smash hit, "Rolling In the Deep," and it's nearly impossible to listen to it without tapping a foot or breaking into a full dance. Even though I'd heard the song many times, this listening experience was different, not because she was on the Grammys or because she had not sung it in a while. What made this performance unique was that I had just learned the story behind the song.

Just prior to the Grammy broadcast, Anderson Cooper interviewed Adele on 60 Minutes. She explained that her album, "21," was composed of songs that she wrote after a boyfriend broke up with her. The day after he ended the relationship, she sat down and wrote "Rolling In the Deep" out of heartbreak and anger. She never expected it to become a big hit; she simply wrote and sang as a way to process her emotions.*

What would have happened if Adele had bottled up the anger that she felt? Think of the music we never would have heard. The same lesson comes from numerous other artists who have written some of their greatest hits from grief, heartbreak, anger, and unforgiveness. We could go on and on with stories like Adele's.

As Christians, when we hear this story of emotion turned into creativity, we can glimpse what God desires for us to do with our emotions: Express them. God desires for us to cry out to God, be it in love, anger, or both. The psalms are perhaps the greatest example of expressing emotion to God. Take time to read not just the oft-quoted ones like Psalm 23, but dig into the ones where David bemoans his predicaments, like Psalm 3 or 60. Embrace the fact that God understands our emotions and wants to share in those emotions with us. We need not hold back when we talk to God. He invites us and encourages us to lay out before him exactly how we feel. Don't stifle anger. Don't choke back tears. Ask God to listen to your "Rolling In the Deep," and you'll find that he's singing along with you, wanting to help you through each step of life's journey.

grace, peace, love, and all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Full interview with Adele on CBS News