How Should Christians Deal with Frustration?
I AM SO FRUSTRATED!! Have you ever wanted to shout that out at work? At school? In public? At church? At Home? If you are a believer living in the fallen world then you have had moments where you felt like screaming to the top of your lungs because you were frustrated about something, someone or some situation.
Who brings frustration into our lives? Many times, I have a frustrating day, and, in my mind, I can see the Enemy laughing & rubbing his hands together as he laughs maniacally [Insert evil laugh here]. There are times I believe the devil is just out to get me! Well, while Scripture teaches me that he is like a starving lion seeking to devour me, frustration does not just come from the enemy.
Frustration can come from other sources in our lives; it can come from our job, from our school situation, from a particular project we are working on, from people we interact with at our job or school or even from family situations. We can get frustrated with basically any situation where things just don’t go the way we expect.
Do you struggle with frustration? Have you ever thought about why you become frustrated so easily? The basic reason we become frustrated is that there is a situation, event or person that is out of our control or refusing our influence. Living in this broken world this is going to happen regardless of what we try to do to prepare for any scenario.
The truth of the matter is that the source our frustration is usually NOT because of that particular situation, event or person in your life. Much of the time the source of our frustration lies squarely at our own feet. I believe our issue has its roots in our spiritual walk. When we are walking closely with the Lord our focus is on Him and not on situations, circumstances, events or people. However, when our focus is shifted from our Lord to those things around us, we begin to experience a feeling of dissatisfaction with our situation.
This feeling is then followed by anxiety and depression over what we believe to be unfulfilled expectations or unresolved problems. As a believer, frustration has its roots in a sense of things out of our control. For the believer, control is something we give to God (or we should be giving it to Him daily – Mark 8:34-35) When we attempt to control those things over which we have no control frustration is the result.
So how can I cure the frustration I am experiencing in my life? This is not a situational or personnel issue, but for the believer, this is a spiritual issue and any spiritual issue must be resolved with Scripture. We must go to God’s word for the answers to the frustrations in our lives, regardless of what they are or who we believe bring them about.
In Proverbs 3:5-6 Scripture instructs us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding…” Far too many times we want to trust what we think and believe. However, this approach is destined for failure as Scripture also teaches us in James 4:13-14, “Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town & will stay there a year. We will do business there & make a profit.’ How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”
When we lean on our own understanding, we don’t know what is coming, we don’t see the picture clearly NOR do we see the entire picture as God sees it. This is why Solomon said, “…In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” In other words, when we try to do things on our own, we cannot know the direction to take, but when we trust in the Lord, He has promised that He will guide us & our path will be clear & illuminated.
Another thing frustration can bring into our lives is explosive emotion. Explosive emotion can and will lead us into a place where we will sin. Scripture teaches that even in our anger we should not sin, in Eph 4 Paul teaches us to, “…be angry & do not sin…” For the believer to be able to be angry but still live holy and righteously is that they must be walking closely with the Lord & allowing Him to guide their steps & words.
When we trust in ourselves or others over the Lord we are doomed to fail and end up with frustration being the driving force in our lives. The prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord.’” Jer 17:5 ESV Trusting in man will actually lead us away from God.
However, the psalmist tells us, ”Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4 ESV. When our focus is on Him first, He has promised that we won’t want for anything. In fact, Jesus taught in Matt 6:33 that when we seek Him first, all the things we tend to worry over, are anxious over, allow us to get frustrated… all those things will be taken care of!
The bottom line for the believer is that frustration is a symptom that your focus is not where it should be. When frustration raises its ugly head in your life, take a step back, refocus & give it to God. When you do this, you are putting Phil 4:6-7 into practice in your life and then you can allow the peace of God to rule in your heart! God bless you all!