Combatting Frustration

April 5, 2013
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But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.  1Timothy 6:8


How do you combat frustration?  Or must you learn to live with it, like dandelions in the grass, dandruff in your hair, and wrinkles in your face?  No!  There are some things you can do to eliminate frustration and make your life less complicated.  You can fight back.

Guideline #1: Consult with God before you make your plan.  It is here we often fail.  Ignoring Him we formulate our plan, then ask Him to bless it, or call on Him to bail us out when we are in trouble–instead of saying, “Lord, what do you want? Is what I have in mind in sync with your will and purpose for my life?”

During the conquest of Canaan, the Gibeonites deceived Joshua, taking moldy bread and wearing old thread-bare clothes, saying they had come a long ways and wanted to make a treaty with Israel.  They lied.  They were deceivers, but Joshua fell for it.  Their failure, says Joshua 9:14, came because Joshua and his associates “did not inquire of the LORD.”  In other words, they didn’t ask God for wisdom or pray about making a treaty.

The moral:  There are plenty of people and situations which will deceive you unless God opens your eyes and gives you discernment.  So let your strategy be born from times of quiet prayer and meditation.

Guideline #2:  Realize Murphy’s law is as exacting as the laws of thermodynamics.   Remember, simply put, Murphy’s law is that if something can go wrong, it will.  That is a given.  To eliminate the frustration of Murphy’s law, you have to learn to plan ahead.  Have a contingency plan so that if Plan A doesn’t work, you’ve got Plan B which will get you where you want to go a different way.  Arctic expeditions, space exploration, or getting to grandmother’s on a day when traffic is bad will succeed only if you have Plan B, and perhaps, Plan C or D as well.  Avoid the frustration of getting caught in traffic by leaving early enough to cope with unavoidable traffic.  Time for a cup of coffee at your destination is better than having to call and say, “Hey, I’m really sorry, but I won’t be there.  I’m stuck in traffic.”

Guideline #3: Don’t expect to walk on water.  Some of our frustrations are the result of attempting the impossible.  Be realistic.  It is far better to have goals that you can achieve than have them so unrealistic that you are always frustrated, never achieving your expectations.

Guideline #4:  To avoid frustration act without reacting.  OK, you get a negative response to what you want.  Do you fight?  Do you walk away?  Or do you come back with a new approach?  OK, you can’t climb the mountain.  But you can tunnel through or go around, but you don’t quit.

Guideline #5:  Fix it or forget it.  If your car is a source of frustration, at some point it is better to park it and walk, get a new one, or buy a bicycle rather than just frustrate.  Unfortunately this doesn’t apply to people.  You can’t trade in your brother-in-law for a new model.  If you can’t fix it, ask God for the grace to love it.

Guideline #6:  Simplify, simplify, simplify.  When I was struggling with a computer a few years ago, my dad–then in his middle 80s–asked, “Wouldn’t it be better to just get a good electric typewriter?”  I explained, “Dad, there’s no going back.”  But he had a point.  Simplifying life to the extent that you can, eliminates a lot of frustration.

Guideline #7:  Refuse to let it get to you.  You put up a barrier that says, “This far and no further!”  That’s all for today’s commentary.  Now go take on the world.

Resource reading: Hebrews 13:1-6.


Bible References

  • 1 Timothy 6:8
  • Joshua 9:14
  • Hebrews
  • 13:1 - 6