Trivial Frustration

2940147241851_p0_v1_s260x420 (2)My sons recently lured my husband and me into Trivia Crack addiction. In doing so, they brought out a deeply-buried emotion. At least, one I try to keep stuck in the most remote regions of my mind but suspect comes out more than I realize.

Years ago, frustration ruled and reigned in my life, usually in the form of hurtful words toward myself and others. In fact, my volatility became a point of humor at times. Nothing feels more frustrating than being teased over how easily you become frustrated.

Frustration brought out the worst in my temper, which did a nice job on its own too. At one point, I felt out of control. When I realized how easily frustration came and how anger almost always followed, I knew I needed to find a way to break frustration’s hold on me.

Overcoming Frustration

Until my recent descent into Trivia Crack mania, and discovering that my oldest son is way smarter than me, I thought frustration’s grip on my self esteem no longer existed. When I saw differently, I reached into my anti-frustration toolbox to again tame the animal before anger followed it its wake. Here’s what consistently works for me:

  1. Walk away. When the tension begins to build deep within my gut and the self-insults begin to fly carelessly out of my mouth, off goes the game. When I recognize the early signals of frustration and walk away, I begin the process of turning off my frustration.
  2. Find a distraction. Once I walk away from frustration, I must walk directly to a distraction. Reading. Watching a movie. Exercising. Cleaning. Anything to get my mind off of the cause of my frustration before I begin to stew and boil.
  3. Pray. When frustrated, my prayers resemble a “deliver me or I’m going to die or go to jail” sort of desperation. Of course, the preventative approach prevails in effectiveness, but I fail to always remember to pray for help with frustration until I’m deep in its throes.

Generally speaking, frustration visits my psyche much less today than in my younger days. Yet, it does still seem to sneak up on me from time to time in a cumulative, frog in the frying pan, sort of way. This process truly helps squelch the animal before the ugly really comes out. Staying well rested, healthy and prayed up makes the episodes flee sooner and stay relatively mild too.

Still, I cannot forget that frustration always exists as a struggle for me. Perhaps God gave me an insanely patient husband to balance me a bit in this area. For sure, a certain diligent awareness must always exist on my part to prevent frustration’s return to the throne. Lastly, great comfort comes in this struggle of mine through the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9.

2 Cor 12v9

In this battle with one of my greatest weaknesses, Christ’s power shows itself in the specific activity that counteracts frustration. Nothing mystical takes place. Just a simple “do this” kind of instruction that leads me away from frustration.

DISCUSSION: What suggestions do you have for overcoming frustration? What other areas have you seen or experienced God work in a similar way?

8 thoughts on “Trivial Frustration

  1. Good reminder for all of us. Everyone has a point where frustration develops out of our own internal fears. I found your article made an interesting connection to think about: Why do we feel so bad when we get frustrated? Why does it bother us so? Well you made the reference to our psyche as where frustration is experienced. PSYCHE is the modern transliterated word for PSUCHE, which is Greek for SOUL! Hmm, we thought psyche was all about our mind? Frustration is soul problem that impacts the mind, which in turn causes the heart to respond. (Just thinking out of the box this morning. Maybe God allows frustration to happen for a reason?)

    • Great addition to this idea of frustration and especially in relation to the psyche. (Seems as though God is getting more into the details of my psyche these days.) Frustration is a normal, human emotion, and it can cause us to horrible things against others or to do amazing things for God. Learning to direct our frustration, or rather to focus in the midst of it, might just hold the key to why he does allow it. (The out-of-the box thinking is a bit early for me, but I'm coming around.)

  2. Frustrated? Who me? Surely you jest. At least you better be. i get less frustrated these days, but given the right set of circumstances my old enemy comes back to haunt me. Good advice Kari on dealing with it.
    My recent post Predictable2

    • Satan loves to use frustration to mess with us, that's for sure. Though, I realize that I'm my own worst enemy when frustration hits too. Combine the two and uh oh! Having a plan in place is important for me. It leads me to take action to refocus, to look to God, and in doing so to not allow frustration to lead me to very unhealthy places.

  3. Thanks for your authenticity here Kari. I'm am pretty patient, but in those moments of frustration, I usually go to points #1 & 2. I don't know why we forget the prayer part until we have nowhere else to turn.

    Usually frustration reveals some other underlying issue with us. Maybe it's something from our past that continues to creep back up. Or it could be that things aren't going our way in the overall scope of our lives, and we become easily frustrated at the minutiae. I try to ask myself, "Will this matter five years from now?" It helps me put things into perspective.
    My recent post Snowmageddon & Keeping the Adventure Alive

    • Two really good points here, Chris. First, frustration usually does indicate a bigger problem that needs dealt with. I call this finding the root cause. Second, asking if it will matter in the long-term can really give us the perspective to fight frustration. Great points!

  4. I think frustration grows when something does not go the way we think it should go or as quick or easy as we think. Thus one reason small things sometimes get to us. They are not a big deal and when they turn into one for whatever reason we struggle to accept something small could cause a big problem. We generally accept some things as being hard and don't get frustrated as we work through them. So our preconceived ideas about issues can take us to frustration quickly. I think it helps to stop the process and rethink the issue. It is hard to accept that something simple may not be. We have got to get over that and realize nothing really is the same.
    At work the option to walk away sometimes does not present itself; it helps to evaluate the situation and come up with one thing that will move it forward and move it away from frustration.

    • Our expectations certainly do play a big role in our frustration level and the ease with which we get frustrated. Assumptions are in the mix as well. Perhaps the way to really get at our frustration is to address our expectations & assumptions more regularly. And you're right, walking away isn't always an option. But, even a brief break can make a big difference. Even if we mentally step back – evaluation the situation, as you say – this can be the mental walking away or break we need. Great points, Mark.

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