Photo by Guian Bolisay
This Little Thing Called Frustration
Frustration is what comes instantly to mind when I think about failure. Early this week I talked about fear of failure. About how we get to choose how we use our fear of failure, and for this article, I wanted to share thoughts on a sister of failure: frustration.
When we're not experiencing the progress we long for or when things aren't going as well as we had hoped, frustration rears its ugly head. If it gets a foothold, frustration can snowball into overwhelm, despair, hopelessness, and depression.
I experienced this chain of emotions in the fall of 2009. My business had come to a screeching halt about four months earlier and over the summer I didn't see any progress. It felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't get it back off the ground. I felt frustration, overwhelm at being so far behind my goals, and then despair and hopelessness because I couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel. That led to some really bad thoughts…
I like to say it was my laziness that kept me from getting off that couch and ending it all, but really that's not the reason. God had a bigger plan for me. It might seem like a coincidence that the next morning, my husband and I experienced a carbon monoxide scare. Both of us passed out within minutes of each other and when I woke up, I was in my husband's arms. Evidently, the window I had opened for him before I passed out on the kitchen floor let in enough fresh air that he was able to come to and get me to the front door.
Coincidence? I don't think so.
It took me several months to realize what that was all about. It was a message to me. Here I was thinking suicidal thoughts for the first time in my entire life and the very next morning we both passed out from carbon monoxide poisoning. We didn't have anyone checking up on us that morning. It was just the two of us. And if the scenario had happened any other way, if I had been the one who needed to pull Harold out of the house, we would have died that day. It's also very curious that the carbon monoxide level in our bedroom was not nearly as high as in the rest of the house. Had it been…well, we never would have had a chance to wake up.
That day could have been the end. But it wasn't. And the message that I eventually realized… "You think you can end your life? No. *I* have the power to do that." If all of those challenges and the frustration were a test, I failed miserably. But obviously, He's not done with me yet.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because I'm hoping my story can help you in some way. Inspire you or move you.
When we're not achieving our goals or we feel stuck in some area, I think sometimes we're being tested. Have you heard the idea that we need to learn from an experience before we can move on to something better? For example, a job that you can't stand. If you never accept and respect the situation you are in, you'll have a hard time moving on to something better because you haven't learned the lesson you needed to learn. Once you've accepted the situation, you may find that it really wasn't as bad as you thought or that things are finally falling into place for you to move on.
We can't move on until we've learned the lesson. Maybe that lesson is to relinquish control and lay everything down before God.
When we don't experience a resolution or acceptance, this little thing called frustration can lead to so much more. And if we let it get the best of us, we will sink deeper into those negative emotions.
Every time we experience opposition or frustration or despair, we need to take a minute to fully recognize where that negative emotion is coming from. Sometimes, it's for good reason and it's really in our best interests, but other times, it's a sign that we're on the right track and we just need to handle the test in stride. But regardless, we need to recognize that there is a lesson in there somewhere. What is that lesson for you?