“I’M FLUSTRATED!”

You’ve probably heard it said but there really is no such word.  However, time has proven, if we continue to use it long enough it will get in the dictionary.  It is my assumption that when the old-timers used to say, “I’m flustrated” they actually were using a derivation of the word “frustrated.”  If that’s it, you’d better believe, we’ve all been there.

It was the Apostle Paul who said, “He has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power, and a sound mind…”  The word “fear” has been translated “frustration“.  If we are frustrated, God didn’t give it to us.  Well, where did it come from?

David Augsberger made this observation:  “Listen deeply to the hopes that lie beneath our frustrations, within our anger, or behind our depressive feelings.”  Hope in frustration?  Now, that was a new one for me.  Frustration has usually brought me despair.

My wife is reading a book entitled, “Everybody’s Breaking Pieces Off Of Me“.  She shared with me this excerpt.  Even though the book is a devotional book for women, read and see that it is certainly applicable to all of us:

“Our frustration must get frustrated with us at times.  It talks and talks, trying to get our attention, trying to tell us where we’re out of balance…where we’re disorganized…where our priorities are not our own…where we’re trying to prove our worth…where we’ve settled for external calm in place of internal peace…where we’re covering or compensating for someone else’s irresponsibility…where we’re trying to be all things to all people…where we’re chasing impossible ideals…and where we’re tripping over our own bad habits and wrong thinking.

But too often we don’t listen.  We chastise our frustration as though it were the disease rather than the symptom.  So it struggles on, valiantly trying to tell us why the pressure outside us has turned into stress inside us.  Endlessly it whispers that our attitudes and expectations may be causing more problems than our circumstances.

And frustration may be only one of the voices clamoring for attention.  Exhaustion is groaning its own suggestions.  Depression and despair mutter persistent insights.  And anger often shouts its declarations over the din of it all.

“How dare they expect so much of me?”

“No matter how hard I try, it’s never good enough!”

“Nobody asks what I want!”

“I’ll never get caught up!”

“Oh, for just one uninterrupted minute to myself!”

“Whatever I’m doing, I always feel guilty for not doing something else!”

“I can’t remember when I last felt rested!”

“What’s the use?”

Are we brave enough to stop maligning the messengers and listen to them instead?  Faulty beliefs, unrealistic hopes, or deep needs may be revealed in such statements as those above.

Is exhaustion trying to tell us that our worth is not measured by what we produce?  Is despair trying to convince us that pleasing every one won’t guarantee their love?  Is disappointment trying to tell us that we can’t be personally responsible for someone else’s happiness?  Is anger trying to convince us that conflict is sometimes necessary and good?  IS fear trying to tell us that failing doesn’t make us a failure?  Is dissatisfaction trying to tell us that someone else may be able to do a task as well as we do it?  And might frustration itself be reminding us that trying harder won’t create a perfect life?

It won’t always be pleasant to let the Lord search our hearts and teach us through the voice of our own need.  But if we listen carefully we can work with Him to set new, realistic priorities.  The actions that result will bring rest and balance to our lives.  He knows us and longs to bring us peace.  We are safe with Him.

“The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being” (Proverbs 20:27).

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely.  O Lord, You hem me in – behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm l39:1-7, 23-24).

Well, there you have it!  That helps me with my “flustrations“, pardon me, frustrations.  Really, at times, I do believe that mine go beyond frustrations and become flustrations!  Let’s use it anyhow!  Because, occasionally, I run into things that are not in the dictionary.  However, I do want to learn to listen to them and see what they are trying to tell me.