Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dealing with Frustration Biblically

I have been a little frustrated lately, trying to sort out how I’m going to keep on going in a body that does not work as I want it to.  While I know that the Lord is working in and through this circumstance, there is no way to avoid frustration as life continues. I’m not able to do the things that I believe are my responsibilities—cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.—without pain. So, each time something has to be done, I must choose one of three options, none of which are all that appealing: Have my husband do it, and feel guilty because he has to do his job and mine; do the task, but use mobility aids like the motorized cart at the grocery store; or endure the pain of doing the task in the normal way, then spend the rest of the day icing various aching body parts.

I know that many of you share my frustrations, and while my intention is not to complain, I do want you to know that I understand and empathize with you. So I wanted to write today to encourage you to continue to trust the Lord as you wrestle with these troubles. I revisited a favorite passage of Scripture today, and found that it addresses our plight quite well.

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah
Psalm 62:5-8

Basically, this Psalm is instructing us to wait for the Lord without complaining about the things we can’t do. We are to wait for Him in silence, because our hope is from Him. Our hope is not in pain relief or ease of life. We should not be shaken by these frustrating circumstances. Physical capability, strength, and painfree tasks are not our rock or our salvation. Christ alone is these things.

The tasks and chores of this world are incidental to our real life. This world is not our home, but while we live here, we must glorify Him in the way we handle these bodies that don’t work as we would like them to. We must remember that we were created to glorify Him (Isaiah 43:7), and ask ourselves, how can I glorify Him in my response to this frustration? Being angry because we can’t do the things we want to does not bring glory to God. When we become bitter and frustrated with our situation, we are not trusting in Him. He has ordained all things for our good (Rom 8:28-29). If we kick against those things, we show a lack of gratitude for His efforts to draw us nearer to Himself.

This passage tells us to trust in Him at all times, and to pour out our hearts before Him. While we must not complain about our situation, God does invite us to tell Him of our pain, our fears, and our frustrations. He is a loving Father.  He knows our needs and cares about our suffering (1 Peter 5:7). He is our refuge, and He will be our strength. Our job is simply to trust Him and desire what He desires.

So, what does that look like in day-to-day life? I do what I must do to accomplish the things that need to be done. I humbly take the motorized cart to get our groceries, thanking God as I do so that it is available; that I am able to drive to the store, and that I have money to buy what we need. I make dinner, sitting on a bar stool at the counter to chop and prepare, and moving it to the stove to cook, praising God that I have a sweet family for whom to prepare a meal.  I graciously accept my husband’s loving offer to do the dishes, replacing my frustrated, guilty feelings with gratitude and love for him. And, when things are tough, I silently wait for the Lord, crying out to Him in my heart, telling Him of my needs, and knowing that He is way ahead of me. Meanwhile, I seek out others who are suffering, to offer them encouragement and hope through the Scriptures.

Who will you encourage today? Here’s something to take with you:

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5