Monday, August 8, 2011

Dealing with Frustration the Jesus Way

FRUSTRATION is the experience of feeling thwarted from the fulfillment of a meaningful goal. The experience of frustration is the experience of pent up power that fails to find a meaningful vent of release due to blockades and constrictions that might look beyond one’s control –  chiefly social in nature. Unable to cope with the almost exploding power of confusion within, one becomes an easy prey to fleshly lusts, temper, irritability, and emotional despair. In the words of dog behaviorist, Caesar Millan, “Walls create frustration” so the dog must be taken out on a walk. However, while a simple walk can solve the dog-issue, it is more than some random outdoor walk that man needs in order to deal with frustration.

In humans, frustration is connected to one’s identification of one’s meaning in life – that is, how important a goal is in order to make life worth living. That determines the intensity level of frustration. Since man is a social being, shame and guilt play important roles in defining the frustrated situation. Therefore, the solutions would either be rebelling against shame and guilt or trying to run away from them. Failure to achieve one’s goal becomes an existential issue when the goal is thought to be central to one’s experience of shame and guilt. A human who fails to deal with frustration the right way will turn into a demon – since it is impossible for him/her (a socio-morally sentient creature) to be a mere animal of instinct.

The frustrated individual is vulnerable to impatience which leads to loss of character and integrity. Truth becomes unimportant in face of the goal to be fulfilled. A lack of clear vision of the goal can also lead to a very frustrated situation since the energy within has to bring forth fruit. Fruitlessness creates frustration.

Our role model to solve frustration is Jesus Christ. He is the Perfect Man; therefore, when we get into a very frustrating situation, we must begin by asking, What Would Jesus Do in this circumstance? The answer is rather simple:

1. Turn to God’s Word for Definition of Our Motives and Goals in Life.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” He said, “and all these things shall be added unto you,” “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” We must learn to discern our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. God’s Word produces faith and spiritual faith is the antidote to frustration. Frustration that results from worldly craving will never find peace; one must repent from any willful desires. But, when one seeks God’s goals, one will not be frustrated because one knows that God is always in full control of His business. We only need to be in the boat of His will and He’ll sail us through this finite ocean of space and time to reach His eternal shore.
2. Access God’s Throne of Grace in Prayer. We have the promise that the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness in prayers and intercessions. We must lay open our heart before Him. He knows the situation better than we do. “But the frustration is also that I am not getting time to pray,” someone may say. Jesus prayed on the cross. There is no place or time where we cannot access His Throne. It is at His Throne of Grace that we find strength for our soul. But, we must access in humility, in our weakness, in our sole dependence on His wisdom and power.
3. Submit to God’s Will. Let’s remember that God is in control. Jesus prayed “Not my will, but Yours be done.” The three Hebrew children declared aloud that God is able to save them from Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, but even if He didn’t they wouldn’t bow to the idol. They knew that God is in control and He works out good for all those who love Him.
4. Give Thanks to God and Exult in His Praises. A heart of gratitude is what the Lord taught us to have. When we focus on God's goodness and His greatness, we will find less reasons to feel bound, shackled, or forced into a corner. Paul knew that even if he was in prison, the Word of God was unchained. He also knew Him whom he believed and was confident that the Lord was able to keep what he had committed to Him. Jesus knew His Father and knew that not even a single hair of our head can fall without His knowledge. He said not even the sparrow which was thought to be an extra by the vendor is forgotten by God. He counts us far more valuable than the sparrows, for He sent His own Son to suffer for our sake that we may have life. Let's give thanks to the Lord for His goodness endures forever!


Prayer: Lord Jesus, often frustration fills my heart with strong anxiety, agitation, and impatience. It makes me feel stifled and suffocated and confused. But, Lord I know that You are always there by my side. You know and discern the intents and thoughts of my heart. Lord, search me and try me and run Your searchlight on my soul. I repent of my willful desires and self-seeking objects in life that leads only to frustration and loss of peace and love. I come to Your Throne of Grace, o Shepherd of my soul. I fall before You and seek Your mercy. Strengthen me by Your Spirit. I trust You Lord and submit to Your will knowing that what You have planned in the life of Your bondservant, no human or earthly power can ever thwart off, even if it feels like that in the moment. I trust You my Savior; not my will, but Your will be done! In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray, Amen!!

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