Frustration. Some people experience it now and then and some people wrestle with it day after day. You may be frustrated right now.
Merriam-Webster defines frustration as “a feeling of anger or annoyance caused by being unable to do something: the state of being frustrated” and “a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs.”
You might be frustrated with your spouse for not meeting your expectations. And you could be frustrated with your boss for not giving you the promotion he promised. You may be frustrated with yourself for not losing those 10 pounds you set out to shed last year—and even putting on a few. Or you could have frustration about all these things and more but it doesn’t do you a bit of good—in fact, frustration breeds more frustration.
Frustration And God’s Grace
I’ll admit it. I have been prone to frustration. I’ve been frustrated over flight delays that caused me to lose a night’s sleep; frustrated over the air conditioning in my office going out and leaving me sweating on deadline; frustrated about those stubborn 10 pounds; or frustrated over the actions of people who generally make my life harder for no good reason; and so on and so on and so on.
What I know about frustration is this: The devil wants to keep us in a constant state of frustration because we cannot operate in the grace of God and frustration at the same time any more than we can operate in faith and fear at the same time. Paul warned us not to frustrate the grace of God (see Gal. 2:21).
Grace Over Frustration
The Greek word for “grace” in that Scripture comes from the word charis. It means grace, that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness; goodwill, loving-kindness, favor; of a merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection and kindles them to the exercise of Christian virtues; the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace; and thanks, recompose and reward.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take grace over frustration any day.
When we’re frustrated, we’re frustrating the grace of God because God’s grace is available to help us, but we’re too focused on outward circumstances (or inward thoughts) to focus on Him. We know the Scripture: God will keep you in perfect peace if you keep your eyes set on Him (see Isaiah 26:3). If we put our faith in that and take action, we do not operate in frustration—we receive grace to help in times of need.
Cast Your Frustration on Him
Surely you’ve read the Scripture: “casting all our cares on Him because He cares for us.” (1 Pet. 5:7) What is a frustration, ultimately, but a care? What would happen if, instead of frustrating or blocking the grace of God from operating in our lives, we cast the frustration out and tapped into the grace instead?
Beyond keeping our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith, the best way to do this, I’ve found, is to use our faith in prayer. What if you turned every frustration, each time it arose, into a prayer request? What if, when you felt that familiar feeling of frustration begins to rise up in your soul, you put your faith in Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God”?
Frustration, left unchecked, ultimately causes anxiety. Why not stop frustration dead in its tracks before it gets to that point? Why not be frustrated for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude ask God to work it out—or give you wisdom and grace to walk it out?
When you are frustrated with your boss for not giving you that promotion, why not pray. “Father, I’m grateful that I have a job and that You are my provider. I trust You for the right promotion at the right time and I believe you for increase in my life.” Instead of acting in frustration with your kids, why not pray instead?
When you do, the second half of Philippians 4:7 can manifest in your life. “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When you are peaceful, you can receive abundant grace.
So, again, turn your frustrations into prayer requests, and you will walk in grace and peace. This confuses your enemies and blesses everyone around you. Amen.