How to… Overcome Frustration – I don’t know, do you?

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Many of the “How to…” posts I’ve written stem from a need in me to figure something out. For example, How to… Age Gracefully came about as I struggle to accept my middle-age status, and How to… Be Encouraging Just by Being You resulted from my attempts to learn to be a more encouraging person.

Some of the “How to…” posts come from a place of experience and a desire to save others from making some of the same mistakes I made. How to… Live an 80/20 Life, Part 1 and How to… Live and 80/20 Life, Part 2 are examples of this.

All of the “How to…” posts exist because of my belief that each person is responsible for his/her own walk. Others impact, sure, but ultimately only I can decide whether to walk the narrow, straight path or to meander aimlessly. I decided a long time ago that no one is going to keep me from pursuing Jesus. No one.

This post comes from a deeper place than any that have come before it. While all the others had at least some success to back them up, this one lacks victory. You see, frustration is a negative pattern I can’t seem to break. Maybe admitting that will be the first crack.

My biggest problem with frustration seems to be identifying the source, the place of origin. Sure, people and circumstances exacerbate frustration, but I don’t think they cause it. I think people’s actions, or lack thereof, often just trigger something that has lingered deep inside me for many years.

What triggers my frustration? Things I can’t control and shouldn’t have to control. Electronics – They should just work. My kids – Why can’t they see I just want what’s best for them? Friends – Do they really believe their way is always the best way? My body – I feed it healthy food & exercise, but it seems to constantly break down anyway. And let’s not even talk about how I feel about my hair!

And maybe the answer isn’t eliminating frustration. Maybe the answer is accepting its existence and then finding ways to more positively mitigate it rather than to constantly react when frustration overwhelms. Honestly, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that anything I’ve done to this point has only buried the root cause of my frustration and not really dealt with it.

I hate that frustration triggers reactions in me I thought I had overcome. Reactions I’m too ashamed to admit on paper or out loud. Reactions that seem stronger at times than any good in me and that lead me to believe, if only for a moment, that I am still a mouthy, arrogant, temper-driven teenager and that I’ll never change.

Do you sense the frustration in my words? Do you sense that even though I know that “He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4), I still struggle with letting that truth reign in this area of my life? Even worse, I struggle with seeing through my frustration enough to find scripture that would direct me toward healing in this area.

Perhaps the answer is that I can’t overcome this through struggle and reasoning and effort. Perhaps the answer, simply, is to continually take my frustration to the cross and to let the power of the Holy Spirit keep it from controlling me. I thought I had done that, but maybe I haven’t done that enough.

Maybe there’s still that child in me that was constantly frustrated by things she couldn’t control. Maybe she still wonders how she could have not felt overlooked and misunderstood all of the time. And maybe, just maybe, she has to simply admit that she can’t handle a bumpy road on her own, that no amount of “How to…” will fix her frustration.

DISCUSSION: I don’t know how to overcome frustration, do you?

For a related post reflecting this struggle with frustration, see Could this be your biggest source of irritation, frustration and even anger?

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