Frustrated!

As I began to write this article today on “Frustration” my WIFI network crashed. Instantly, all access to my bog-site, youtube videos for illustration, catchy quotes on wiki-quotes – all gone.

WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!!! THIS IS SO FRUSTRAT….

Oh. Wait. There it is, the frustration monster rearing its fuming head.

It doesn’t take much, just one little nudge, and the plans of mice and men have gone awry.

How frustrating.

How fitting that the network would crash, frustrating my efforts to accomplish my goal That’s the verb form of the word. As a noun, frustration is the feeling of irritation or annoyance because of an inability to achieve one’s goals.

What frustrates me? Here’s the quick list:

Choppy internet connections

People who don’t know how to drive, especially at roundabouts

source-1

Constant interruptions that keep me from what I’m doing

Having to deal with the same problems over and over again

My own inability to live up to the standards that I have set for myself.

Now, if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice that all of these, even the internet thing, all stem from my sense of self-importance and entitlement.  People should drive better so they don’t slow me down. Why can’t you do what I told you the first time, the way I told you to. An honest self-critique reveals that I am frustrated most when others don’t do things like I would do them, when my own lack of power and control i exposed, when I realize, once again, that I am not God.

Of course, the scriptures reveal the genuine source of my frustration – my own disobedience and willfulness. In Deuteronomy 28 God warns of His curse upon those who do not obey the voice of the Lord, that he will send confusion and frustration upon them. In Job 5, we are told that the Lord frustrates the plans of the crafty. In Psalm 33:10 we read that God frustrates the plans of the peoples, but the council of the Lord stands forever.

Frustration is evidence that even still His ways are not my ways; that I must continue to die to myself and follow after the Lord.  It is proof that the old man in me, though slain by grace (for I have been crucified with Christ), still rears and rages from time to time.

So what is the solution to my frustration.  Here are some quick thoughts.

  1. “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). My frustration comes primarily when I am full of myself, insisting upon my ways, and putting myself in the place of God. When I sense frustration building, it is a good reminder to humble myself in the sight of the Lord, to know that He is Sovereign and I am not.  And that’s a very good thing. Nothing can frustrate His councils, not even my own weaknesses and shortsightedness. “He who has begun a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6).
  2. Let Love for God and Neighbor Replace A sense of pride and arrogance.  1 Corinthians 13 teaches, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.” These characteristics of love are the exact opposite of frustration.  Let love for God and one another be that which soothes and abates the fires of frustration.
  3. Preach the Gospel to Yourself. Simply trying to replace frustration with love would end up making me more frustrated, because that would be a works-based remedy, and remember, the source of frustration is making myself the center of everything. No, the best cure for my frustrations is always the gospel.  Knowing that Jesus has taken my sin, my brokenness, my failures, my shame, and died upon the cross for me, so that by faith in Him I have new life; this is my hope and peace. Now, if ever there was someone who had a right to be frustrated, wouldn’t it be Jesus?  He is the righteous One, who never sinned, but was sinned against by all, and bore the sins of the world upon His cross. Yet as Hebrews 12:2 reminds us, he, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” By His grace I am delivered from the curse of frustration of the old life, and raised to joyful life in the Spirit.  Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.  Feeling frustrated? Turn to, and trust in, Jesus Christ for your salvation. He will make your paths straight!

SDG

PS – Here’s the video I thought I’d share on Frustration – can’t help it, it’s Ray Romano and Grover.

We Are Hollow Men

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see.
They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell.
They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; 

and they do not make a sound in their throat.
Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.”
(Psalm 115:4-8)

We are hollow people.

We have filled ourselves with food so that there is an obesity epidemic; but still we hunger for purpose and meaning in life.

We pride ourselves in the knowledge of the trivial and technological, but we have lost the basic understanding of how to relate to one another.

We supply our homes with comfort and entertainment, but the saccharine fluff leaves us desolate and rotting inside.

We are bombarded with breaking news every minute, but the truth of what is really happening eludes us.

We are surrounded on social media with “friends,” but we are isolated and feel like know one really knows us.

We chase after the desires of the flesh with no thought of lasting consequence and wonder why we are left feeling empty, broken, and lost.

This generation has more than any age that has gone before, why then are we plagued with emptiness? We read almost everyday of another life lost to suicide, bound by addiction, or even worse; of those who take up arms to inflict violence upon the unsuspecting.

And this is nothing new. T.S. Eliot penned the following in 1925:

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.

Could it be that after generations of planting the seeds of idolatry, its hollow fruit is finally coming to harvest? While giving lip-service to the God of Scriptures, have we not chased after the idols of gold and silver, those things of earth and man which offer no hope of life or salvation?

We pursue a career, advancement and success; but feel betrayed when the cold wheel of industry eventually rolls us over.

We have made the individual the arbiter of truth so that everything is subjective, denying the authority (and even existence) of our Creator; and we wonder why the world is full of lies.

We cast of the restraints of antiquated morality for the sake of individual fulfillment; only to find ourselves alone and abused by those we’d hope would bring us pleasure.

All of this is evidence of the truth of Psalm 115. We have laid ourselves low before the false-gods of this world, and we are amazed that we have become like them! We are “shape without form, shade without color; paralyzed force, gesture without motion…” When we see a world filled with violence, deception, and indulgence, isn’t it because that’s what we’ve been worshiping all this time: power, self, and pleasure.

We are hollow, empty people, longing to be filled with that which brings us life; and that is why we need to hear the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ. Quit starving yourselves on the empty and vain things of this world. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread… Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in rich food” (Isa 55:2). Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:48), and He gives the water of eternal life (John 7:38). In John 10:10, Jesus said that He came that we may have life and have it abundantly. He alone is way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).

Jesus Christ came to bear the wrath of God to take away our sins, and to give all who believe in Him the gift of forgiveness and pease with God in eternal life. Through His life, death, and resurrection, He has purchased salvation, the reconciliation of those who had “exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man” (Rom 1:23). His is the only name given, in heaven and on earth, by which we must be saved… (Acts 4:12).

O hollow ones, if you are longing to be filled with life, with peace, with meaning – won’t you come to Christ Jesus the Lord and Savior. Beloved, if your heart breaks for the lost, if you hear the cry of the madding crowd – won’t you share Christ Jesus your Lord and Savior!

SDG