Several unrelated circumstances mixed together earlier this week to create the “perfect storm.” People not following through with what they promised. Others getting something wrong that seemed so simple to me. Another needing my time when I wanted to be doing something else.
By the time I sat down to dinner, my frustration erupted in a tirade of words, self-righteously proclaiming to my family why I had the right to be so frustrated. Of course the rehearsal of it all only fed my frustration.
Raise your hands if you’ve been there. If you haven’t, no need to read further.
This morning I actually worked up the courage to ask myself – and God – how I got there. How did I allow myself to slip into that spiral of anger and indignation?
Of course the quick answer is that I’m sinful. Although saved by the blood of Jesus, I will continue to battle sin until I die or until Christ returns and relieves me once and for all from this mortal flesh.
The longer – and more helpful – answer required a little more thought and prayer. Here’s a few things God reminded me of this morning:
- I think too highly of myself – (See Romans 12:2-3 and Philippians 2:3.) Oh, pride! I just knew I could do it better, faster, and get greater results. I felt my time and my agenda were more important than the other person’s. I did not consciously think this in the moment, but looking back, I can see it.
- I tend to be a selfish control freak – I want things done my way, in my time frame. I’ve been reading about David in my quiet time recently. This morning the passage was from 2 Samuel chapters one and two where Saul dies and David is crowned king over Judah. There were a lot of years, pain, and uncertainty between God’s anointing and the crown being placed on David’s head. I realized once again that God rarely does things the way I would do them and when I would do them. I must continue to learn to trust His ways and His perfect timing, knowing that He is working all things for His glory, not mine.
- I’m a poor listener – Oh, I’m really fast at giving directions and voicing my desires and concerns. But I very slow to listen to the other guy. And that causes all kinds of problems. (See James 1:19-20.)
Mix these things together, add other people and their own stuff, and you get a big, heaping mound of frustration. In the moment of the venting it almost seems justified. But afterwards… well, it becomes obvious it’s not.
So, what’s the answer? Jesus is the ultimate answer. I need Him desperately. However, I can also learn from God’s Word and apply His truths. For instance:
- Practice humility. Maintain an accurate estimation of myself, by keeping my eyes on Jesus as my example.
- Reflect on the sovereignty, faithfulness, and love of God.
- Close my mouth more often and open my ears more quickly.
Frustration is an emotion and not necessarily sinful in and of itself. However, it can lead to all kinds of sinful thoughts, words, and actions. And it’s certainly not tasty. I’m praying I won’t be serving it up at dinner again anytime soon.
Okay, ya’ll. Don’t leave me hanging here. Am I the only one who succumbs to frustration? What has God taught you about yourself and how to deal with it? Let’s talk!