When You Feel Frustrated

scale.jpgThis conversation has taken place many times.  Only this time, the setting was a living room.  I sat across from this woman who was many years older than me.  In front of her was her walker.  She had seen some difficult days, in terms of her health.  At one point in this conversation, I asked her how she managed to keep going in spite of some of the frustrations that she was facing.  "How do you keep going?"

 
That is a good question for all of us at one time or another.  Last night when I got home, I was feeling very frustrated for a variety of reasons.  None of these frustrations had anything to do with home.  I just happened to be home when I realized just how frustrated I was feeling.  Frustration is very real at different points in life.  It can be work related, family related, health related, or a combination of several factors (which seems very common).   So how does a person keep going in the middle of frustration? 

 
I have no quick and easy answers.  Nor do I want to suggest some sort of formula.  I don’t have one.  Yet, I know that it is very helpful for me to remember that I have much to be thankful for.

 
1.  I am thankful that we got to visit with Jamie (our younger daughter) last night through Skype (like the telephone except it happens through the computer).  Jamie is studying abroad as a part of a group from Oklahoma Christian University.  She is in Japan and staying with a very nice family.  Her study each day is at Ibaraki Christian University.  She is having some amazing experiences and is learning so much.  (See pictures here.)

 
2.  I am thankful for Christine (our older daughter) and our son-in-law Phillip.  This past weekend, he was part of a men’s retreat at which my good friend Scotty Harris spoke.   I was impressed that Phillip took advantage of this great opportunity to learn.  He and Christine are part of a very fine church.

 
3.  I am thankful for my health.  The other day, I spent the afternoon at Baylor Rehabilitation Center where my mom is recovering from knee replacement surgery.  At one point Friday afternoon, I went to therapy with her.  In this massive room were men and women of all ages who were receiving therapy for all kinds of conditions.  One person seemed to have no use of his right side (appeared to be about 30 years old).  Another appeared to have had a severely broken leg.  I left there grateful for my health.

 
4.  I am thankful for good conversations.  Just yesterday I had a few brief but pleasant conversations with my mom, my brother, and my friend Doug.  I am learning to be thankful for these moments.

 
5.  I am thankful for our life group.  This is a wonderful group of people who really make an effort to encourage one another.  This is a real highlight for me each week.

 
6.  I am thankful to people I interact with regularly through this blog.  I have been very blessed to become acquainted with a number of men and women who have made my life even richer because of their regular thoughts and encouragement.

 
7.  I am thankful that my life in Christ really does not depend on circumstances being just right.  Nor does it depend on the behavior and functioning of others.  

 
8.  I am thankful for people who have added so much to my life.  Have I ever been blessed!  I can’t believe the people who through the years have in some way made a positive contribution to my life.  I don’t take this for granted.

 
Most of all, I am thankful for God who is the treasure that I need more than anything else in life.  I am thankful that there is a completeness that I have experienced in Christ.  I am thankful for the forever presence of the Holy Spirit which is a regular reminder to me that I am not doing life by myself. 

 
Of course, all that I have just mentioned does not make frustration or issues go away.  Yet, just remembering what I have does have a way of at least taking the sharp edge off the frustration.  Perhaps most of all, my gratitude has a way of bringing some perspective and clarity to the day.

Can you relate to this?  Does this connect?

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://www.john1010.blogspot.com Lisa

    I completely agree. Whenever I’m feeling frustrated–and especially when I’m tempted to throw myself a full-scale pity party–one of the quickest ways for me to snap out of it is to start writing out my blessings. Even if it’s something as simple as not having any bills in the mail that day (which, let’s face it, is a really good thing!), God opens my eyes to the blessings around me. The key is I have to take my eyes off myself in order to look around and see what He’s doing and bringing into my life. 

  • Chris Frizzell

    "Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." There is no better way to adjust your vision, to see life more hopefully, than what you just did as a response to frustration.
    A good way to end every day.
    Chris

  • bryan

    You are right Jim. I think frustrations are always going to be present in our lives in one form or another. I find that thinking that things could have been worse tends to refocus my energy. I heard of a man whose home was robbed and when they found his dairy some years later, he wrote several things that he was thankful for in that robbery ..among them… he was thankful that he was the one robbed and that he had not robbed someone else… he was thankful that even though they stole he purse, they did not take his life… he was thankful that he had possessions worthy of being stolen… he was thankful that the robber chose his house and not the elderly neighbors across the street and so on …. Imagine what this world would be like if we all looked at the other side of all our  frustrations. That is why I love the hymn Count your many blessings, name them one by one.

  • Dana Qualls

    I can definitely identify with your frustration and with the relief that thankfulness brings. I just don’t practice it often enough. I have had my share of health issues lately and find myself struggling often with depression. Thank you for this post as it was a much needed reminder to think beyond what I feel to what is real.  Bless you!

  • Jim Martin

    Chris,Thanks for your words.  Again, it was good to meet you in Abilene recently. 

  • Jim Martin

    Lisa,I really like this line from your comment: "Even if it is something as simple as…"So often we (I) forget/ignore/take for granted the simple, everything day things which are actually gifts from God.Thanks. 

  • Jim Martin

    Bryan,Loved your story regarding the man who was robbed.  Wow… 

  • Jim Martin

    Dana,Thanks for your note.  This was especially meaningful after hearing of your struggle with health issues and some depression.There is something very encouraging about hearing about reading a comment like yours from someone who is having these kind of struggles.Thanks.

  • Lanier Stevens

    Jim,   I am so very thankful for you and your site is such an encouragement to me!     ….I took the liberty to use "Ive learned that the church belongs to God" for the front page of our bulletin here in Madisonville next Sunday.    Gave them your URL ….hopefully, your circle of friends and influence will continue to grow.    May God’s richest blessings continue with you in your work and ministry!     ….Lanier

  • Karen Greer

    This one really strikes a chord with me.  During the last 9 1/2 weeks, I’ve been constantly reminded that God’s blessings, large and small, are never more evident than when your circumstances are far from ideal.  We have so much to be thankful for, especially as we near the end of Nikki’s hospital stay.  When I’ve felt frustrated about being so far away from our family for so long, I’ve been reminded how blessed we are to be at such an excellent hospital, to have doctors who have worked hard to find the best treatment options for her, and to have a daughter who is so strong.  God has been so good to us.

  • ConnieLard

    The Psalms is very helpful to me when I’m experiencing negative emotion, whether it’s frustration, anger, disappointment, or whatever.  The psalmist will usually start with an honest expression of whatever emotion he is feeling and spend some time with that, then proceed on to the point where he looks to God and the blessings that are to be found in Him.  A good, healthy pattern to follow for all of us, don’t you think? 

  • http://www.thoughtsofagyrovague.com Carl Holmes

    Wise words my friend.
    I have been having a rough few months with health and other things and God just reminded me to be thankful for the little things. I listed out about 40 things in my head without even thinking hard about it.
    Working in a ministry that works with poor children around the world you think I would be better at being thankful for the 1,000′s of things I have that they do not, but I fall prey to the mindset of so many in our country and loose focus.
    Time for a trip to work with the orphans and recenter my thoughts again!!
     

  • Beth

    This was exactly what I needed to hear.  It is so easy to focus on the things in our lives that bring us down instead of keeping our eyes on the God who blesses us in ways we can’t even imagine.  Thank you

  • Jim Martin

    Beth,Thanks!  So glad you came by. 

  • Jim Martin

    Carl,I’m sorry to hear about your health problems.Your ministry to children in poverty sounds interesting.I do suspect that many of us struggle with gratitude at times.I appreciate your comment.

  • Jim Martin

    Lanier,You are ever the encourager.  I’m glad you found one of these posts useful for your bulletin.  Feel free to do so anytime.Thanks, 

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