As politely as he could, the young man said, “In this store, we don’t sell half heads of lettuce, we sell whole heads of lettuce.” The lady was remarkably persistent. In the end, he did what any young grocery store clerk would do, and said, “Well, let me go talk to the manager.”
He shuffled off to find the manager in the back of the store, not realizing that the woman was following him some distance behind. Finding the manager, he said in frustration, “I’ve got this crazy old woman out there who wants to buy a half head of lettuce.”
Seeing the look of consternation on his manager’s face, the lad realized that the woman was standing right behind him! So, he turned and quick as a whip said, “And this nice lady wants to buy the other half.”
Hardly a day passes without some form of frustration.
The Apostle Paul felt frustrated (II Cor 11:16-12:1).
For more than a decade, David faced frustration.
It can be as mild as losing your car keys. It can be as agonizing as continually failing to reach a desired goal. No matter, frustration at any magnitude is just…frustrating!
To deal with your frustrations in a biblical way is one of life’s critical tests.
Dangers of Frustration
Facing some form of frustration whenever you try to accomplish something is a valid expectation. In fact, the more effort you exert in trying to reach your goal, or, the more important the goal is, the higher the frustration level when an obstacle impedes its achievement. The obstacles that challenge us can come from within (fear, lack of confidence) as well as from without (lack of resources). The very meaning of the word frustration is to have your plans thwarted. If not handled correctly, frustrations can bring many dangerous side effects into our lives:
- Frustration blurs our perception.
- It causes a downward spiral, gobbles up our energy, and may cause us to obsess about goal achievement.
- When blinded by frustration, we make poor decisions, worsening the situation, nullifying any past progress and hindering any future advancement.
In order for God’s warriors to be effective in the advancement of the Kingdom, they need to learn to appropriately handle frustration. Thus, we must all take and pass the frustration test.
Taking this test reveals problems in our character. It reveals where we need to develop patience (Gal 5:22-23, Col 3:12). The more you grow in patience, the less susceptible to frustration you will become. This test also reveals the need for trust (Psalm 33:4), humility (Psalm 51:17) and submission, as well as our need for God’s guidance (Psalm 25:10).
My days are carefully planned out. I make a list of goals for each day. I like to have checks beside items on my list by the END of each day. However, I am the mother of two teens, with a husband that travels 25 weeks of the year. I am also a ministry leader and the primary care giver for an uncle in the early stages of Alzheimer’s…..and the list goes on, as I am sure yours does. So, on many days, “life” pops up and hinders the amount of checks beside my goals…and I feel frustrated! Do you know what I mean?
So, how does one handle frustration? How do we pass the frustration test?
- Remind yourself that “life” happens (Job 14:1), and it usually happens despite your schedule and plan! The only choice I can make is how I will respond. Do I whine and feel sorry for myself? Do I host my own pity party? Or, do I deal with it and move on?
- Determine the source of the frustration. Is it external or internal? Is there a resolution to this situation? If it is my own fear that is keeping me from achieving my goals, what can I do about it? If it is limited resources, what are my alternatives? Am I overreacting, making the situation worse? Do I need to take a step back to regain my composure so I can deal with the situation properly?
- Give your day….and your schedule… to God. Seek Him when frustrations occur. Listen and obey. Do what you can and leave God to work out the rest. Sometimes, “God moments” disguise themselves as interruptions!
- Keep the proper perspective. This too shall pass!
How we handle frustration determines who we are and where we are going.
How we handle frustration reveals our maturity.
Our ability to lead is equal with our ability to withstand frustration.
The fulfillment of our divine purpose, our successes for the Kingdom and our potential as leaders, all depend upon our passing the frustration test.
Are you feeling frustrated today? Are the goals you are pushing for further away than ever? Have you forgotten others and God in your efforts to fulfill your plan?
Go to God. Give Him your frustration. Allow Him to show you His plans, His will, His way, and His timing. Recollect that God never promised the absence of problems, but He did promise us His Presence. In this way, you will achieve a passing grade on the frustration test.