It’s an irritating word and an even more irritating feeling. Especially when frustration seems to be there everywhere you turn.
About 2 years ago, this is exactly where I was: Frustrated at absolutely everything in my life. From my kids and parenting, to my husband, to my work and blogging and every little thing in between. I was absolutely miserable and stressed to the max. So was my husband. We had no idea what to do or where to turn or how to even begin to sort out the many messes that had become our lives.
However, what God did show us to do made an amazing difference in helping us to sort out some of the workable frustrations we were dealing with and move forward. I’ve gone through this exercise myself a few times since then and found it really helpful to begin getting out of the frustration pit, so I wanted to share what God has shown me to help others who find themselves feeling walled in by frustration in every area of their lives.
I actually started my list with number 2, but then realized that even the ability to do any of it has to start with prayer. It doesn’t have to be formal, journaled, or even detailed – the Holy Spirit is able to plead our case even in our groanings (Romans 8:26). However, it must start here with a simple prayer for God to give you wisdom and guidance to deal with your circumstances and to reveal what it is that is truly at the center of them and how to move forward.
Because I know from dealing with my own seasons of intense frustrations that sometimes this step can be the hardest one, here’s a prayer to help get you started.
Lord, I’m frustrated and lost right now. I have no idea how to get out of this pit of frustration and I’m overwhelmed by even trying to think about it. I have no idea what to do, but your Word says I can come to you for wisdom (James 1:5). Lord, grant me the wisdom I need to move forward out of this season of frustration. Give me insight into the sources of my frustration, and the wisdom to see how to move forward from where I am now. Lord, I thank you that you are always with me and that you have promised to use all things including these frustrations for my good (Romans 8:28). Help me to seek Your will for my life as I move forward during this time. In Jesus’s name – Amen!
2. List out all your frustrations
After several days of wanting to just rip my hair out and scream at everything and everyone in my house and probably doing it on more than one occasion (not pretty, but just keeping it real!), I asked my husband to have a meeting while the kids took a nap. I gave him a piece of paper and took one of my own and had us both make a list of EVERYTHING we were feeling frustrated/angry/irritated about.
It was a VERY long list for me.
His wasn’t as long but as we compared the lists it revealed most of the same things. If nothing else, at this point we knew what we were frustrated about and as a couple we knew we were on the same page.
This is an important step in the process, so please don’t skip over it. When we feel frustrated it is very easy to let this emotion seep into every single area of our life and permeate our thinking until the issues that we are yelling at our kids or spouse about isn’t the REAL issue at the root of our frustrations.
We have to be able to clearly identify and be able to articulate our frustrations to ourselves and those involved in the situations in order to bring about any sort of plans for resolution. It also helps to get them “off your chest” so to speak. You may even find some frustrations are resolved just by having a clearer picture. You do not have to do this with your spouse if most of your frustrations are on your end. However it is a good idea to communicate with your spouse that you are feeling frustrated and be able to give them a clearer idea of why. (Please be mindful to do this calmly and without placing blame or fault for the frustrations.)
3. Evaluate Your Frustrations
The next part is to really take a look at your frustrations and evaluate them. Here’s some good questions to ask yourself as you evaluate your frustrations and look for root causes.
- Do a number of them center around a particular person/place/or thing? If so, who or what? (There may be more than one connection with some of your frustrations.)
- Are any of my frustrations out of my scope of control? (dependent on another person’s actions or choices; i.e. a boss, the government, etc.)
- Are any frustrations a result of another frustration?
- Which frustrations are minor? Which are major?
- Do any of my frustrations result from my own sin? (Lack of self-control, procrastination, bad choices, etc.)
- Are any of my frustrations resulting from choices of people within my realm of influence? (Note: you can influence your spouse’s behavior and your children’s, however you cannot make choices for them.)
- Is there a common thread that weaves its way through a majority of my frustrations? Is it something I can resolve or a season of life issue to learn to cope and deal with?
- Do I need outside help to deal with any of these frustrations? (Help may be in the form of professional or pastoral counseling, or possibly in the form of getting someone to take the kids for an hour, do the laundry or other household chores (even maybe your kids!), etc.)
In this step continue to ask God to show you the deep root cause(s) of your frustrations. Ask Him to reveal the answers to these questions and more. He will guide you. I’ll warn you – it may not be easy to realize the root causes of your frustrations, and you may have to be willing to lay some of them down as they just aren’t “fixable” at this stage of your life – but identifying them and evaluating them is a step in the right direction.
4. Act on the things you can fix
Not everything on your list will have a fix. But there is a good chance that as you evaluated your frustrations and looked at how they connected that some things surfaced that you knew you can and should act upon.
Maybe it’s as “simple” as a few minor routine tweaks (maybe an earlier bedtime for mom and dad or the kids). Maybe it’s major thing like deciding to polish off the resume and start looking for a new job or even leave your current one. Whatever the actionable fixes are that reveal themselves, continue to pray about them and ACT!
For us the biggest common thread was that we weren’t getting enough sleep. Caleb was 3 months old at the time and still sleeping in our room as his 2 year old sister had yet to vacate her crib. She absolutely wanted nothing to do with sleeping in her toddler bed that we’d had set up for a while. She also wasn’t sleeping well due to some health issues, and we later discovered because she’d actually outgrown the crib and it was waking her when she rolled over.
The fix – taking our upstairs office and moving it into our unfinished basement in order to give Caleb his own room. This required moving a Queen sized bed into Naomi’s room for her to sleep in and to make space in the basement. It was a TON of work that we did on the coldest day of the year – our neighbors probably thought we were crazy as we have to use our driveway to move large pieces of furniture between the basement and upstairs – BUT it was worth it!!! The very first night – both kids slept through the night!
I won’t say that things will go that smoothly with every transition. In fact, ours wasn’t so smooth as we quickly discovered that our new office basement is about 48 degrees and no amount of kerosene or electric heaters will warm it all up with cement block everywhere. However we managed to muddle through until Spring.
This fix took care of several frustrations all at once – but by NO means all of them, which takes us to our last step.
5. Deal with what you can
Dealing with things has a lot of different meanings – and you may need to use all the meanings of the words to sort out your various frustrations.
Dealing with what you can may mean actually completing step number 4 of acting on what you can fix multiple times.
Dealing with what you can may mean seeking out counseling to help you sort out your emotions and responses to certain frustrations.
Dealing with what you can may mean reevaluating your current coping strategies and creating some new ones.
Dealing with what you can may mean realizing that you can’t do anything about some frustration right now BUT to give it to God in prayer and keep waiting on Him.
Dealing with what you can means you cross off the things that are NOT your frustrations to deal with.
Dealing with frustrations is going to be a lifelong process.
Some frustrations you will have to work hard to resolve, others will resolve on their own, and other’s will linger with you. However, the impact of your frustrations on your everyday life will ebb and flow like the tide. It’s the times in life were it seems to wall you in from all sides that it is critical to take some time to seek God’s wisdom for getting out of the pit of frustration.
It won’t be easy, but Jesus promised He’d always be with us (Matthew 28:20). He sent His Counselor to help us and guide us in the process, we just have to seek Him out.
Prayers for you as you go about dealing with your frustrations.
Lord, I ask that you be with each person who reads this post. I thank you that you care about every detail in our lives (Psalm 37:23 NLT) and I ask that you will encourage and lead their hearts to seek after You and the plans You have for them. Give them the ability to hear Your voice and guidance clearly. Help them to act upon what you reveal, and give them grace to deal with the issues at hand. Lord, I ask that you will help all of us to continually seek You in our frustrations and not allow them to become a stumbling block that keeps us from You. You are our light and salvation (Psalm 27:1), our ever present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1), help us to sense You in the midst of the pit we are in. In Jesus’s name – Amen.
Currently, I am just ready to QUIT.
I am unsure of the path I am on right now. Where it is leading or even if I am facing the right way? Every day feels like I am stuck in an endless cycle of questions without answers. Problems without solutions. And to be quite frank, like there is no way out or end.
Ever been there?
I know there is still hope. This season won’t last forever. That there is a plan and a hope and a future. However, I can’t feel it. I can’t find it or grab a hold of it.
When I asked God 6 months ago about continuing this blog I felt the strong push to persevere. I am pretty sure I have failed miserably at this. I have lost all drive to continue, all motivation and desire to continue.
So why am I writing this today?
Honestly, I don’t know. Other than the fact I have come to a place I MUST do something different. I can not continue in this place. I must choose to continue in something in life and persevere or quit altogether.
I hate writing depressing stuff. I hate writing stuff without answers. And I have none right now.
Except to Persevere.
In frustration at not knowing what to do yesterday I decided instead of turning to the land of google for answers to questions that I did not even know what to search for, I decided to open my Bible app and just keep reading there.
It is often thought of as cliché to go to God’s Word for answers, but I know He answers and I haven’t been seeking there. I HAD to try something different.
I clicked randomly through the app and landed in 1st John. I read it and nothing. So I just kept reading. Second and 3rd John, Jude and half of Revelation.
There was no light bulb moment. No real clarity and nothing to speak of. I was kind of disappointed and honestly Revelation is a TOUGH book to read. However, I decided to keep reading today all the way to the end of Revelation.
Still no light bulb. Still no clue what to do.
Yet, as I sat here frustrated at not being able to complete the task I wanted to and desperately in need of doing something, I decided to write. If for no other reason than something to keep me from screaming!
Perseverance was the only thing that has come to mind.
To just keep going. But as I have typed this out this is what I have realized. This is what God has said to His people. Over and over again … just keep following Him. Stay faithful to the end.
Revelation is very clear on this. In the midst of the Great Wraths and Tribulations, of which there are many, over and over again John is shown those who remained faithful. They are clothed in white, given gifts, and ultimately the right to be with and rule with Christ.
Jesus spoke to several of the 7 Churches praising them for their perseverance in the light of persecution and sin. He tells each to remain strong.
I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. — Jesus, Revelation 3:11-12
I don’t know about you, but reading Revelation tells me I do not want to quit.
We can see where things are going – and it is not good for those who choose the easier path. Quitting often seems like the best or only option, but in light of eternity our present struggles are nothing.
I could really use some prayers in this season of my life. Part of the reason I have “clammed up” in writing lately is I am afraid to share my current journey. However, maybe that is the one thing keeping me stuck in this spot I am in.
For now my job is to persevere and keep seeking Him and to be obedient to the call He has given me.
Truthfully, this is everyone’s job … especially when all we want to do is quit.
Prayers for wisdom,
(Note: I am publishing this a few weeks later than I wrote it. Things are still challenging, in some ways more so, but God is leading and continuing to tell me to persevere – He’s telling you to do so as well, wherever you are!)
It’s been a really busy and stressful season for our family. And it is far from over.
In fact it’s been so busy, God reminded me last night that I have even forgotten my own name.
Of course, I have not (at least not yet!) forgotten my actual first name. But I have forgotten who God has called me to be – a wisdom seeking mommy.
You see, I spent most of yesterday in a state just below a mild panic attack.
I have been concerned, as any mom would be, as we have continued to see specialists who are unsure what to think about Naomi and keep using the word complicated to describe her. She appears to most to be a relatively healthy and normal toddler – but there is an odd assortment of symptoms and blood work, and dietary restrictions that keep her doing fairly well, that have left those we have seen unsure of where to go next … other than to refer us to another specialist.
So back to yesterday. We received some of the newest blood work back, and in my normal fashion I Googled the abnormal results so I would have a better understanding of what it all meant.
Googling things can be a double-edged sword.
I was a bit concerned but not overly in a panic till I got to the bottom. The part with a long complicated explanation that didn’t make much sense. I tried Googling, only to find a complication formula for trying to figure out a score that was supposed to give you information and how well a person’s kidneys are functioning.
There appeared to be 2 ways to interpret her results, and after a while I still could not figure out which was correct. All I knew was one way would mean something was very wrong, and the other she was absolutely fine.
I finally opted to call the Pediatrician and ask her to take a look at the results as the Specialist who ordered the test was not in.
The scary part for me today — and by the way her results were fine on that test, praise God! — was not once yesterday did I stop and really pray.
I didn’t stop and ask God for wisdom. I didn’t stop and remember that He is her Creator, and the giver of all wisdom.
I just kept Googling for knowledge. I kept trying to figure out the tests and put together some of the different things that I have come across that have helped her in the last year. It honestly makes my head spin.
And yet, I have forgotten in the last few months who I am.
First and foremost, I am a beloved Daughter of the King of kings. A child of the Living God – who is the Creator of all. I am a child who has a Parent who truly knows all things – and I was given the clear directive to follow Him in obedience in all things. Which includes seeking Him for Wisdom.
Knowledge is good, but without wisdom how can we know how to properly apply it?
I have a feeling that I am not the only one who forgets who they are in seasons of busyness and stress.
So if you are there with me today – may I remind you that you are a beloved child of God who has this whole world in His hands. Who knows each season of our lives, and has laid them out according to His purpose to bring about our good. He has the wisdom to navigate our lives, and freely gives it as we ask and seek Him (James 1:5).
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
I am unsure when or how often I will be back to post here at WisdomSeekingMommy.com. I am continuing to seek God’s direction for my life and honestly it is hard to say at this point what even the very near future holds.
But, I am thoroughly reminded that I need to remember my name – and continue to seek Wisdom for all things in my life.
May God bless each of you as you seek Him,
Confession time …
I’ve been in a really bad slump lately. And I do mean really bad, irritated, unhappy and depressed slump. I started out the month of June with big plans. Plans to spend at least an hour a day on both this blog and my Lilla Rose business. I did great the first few days and then we had to travel out-of-town. Things went downhill from there this month.
I never got back into the swing of things. Then it came time to renew my domain name and site … or get rid of it all together. I spent a lot of time really praying about that one because as you know I haven’t been able to blog much this past year.
But I asked God … and His clear answer was to persevere.
I’m worse at doing that than spelling it, and it is one word that always has a red squiggle underneath. But I knew He gave me a clear answer so I went ahead spent the money (I hate spending money!), and renewed my contract for a year. I started out great … worked on removing the ads from my site, started looking at new color palettes and started thing about a new logo. I’m not a designer so these things are really not fun for me at all! I even created a new updated profile picture … though I have only loaded it on Facebook as of this week.
But then …
Well, I’m not exactly sure what then. I think the short of it was I stopped asking God.
I stopped asking Him to give me grace, wisdom, peace and time to get through my day.
I stopped asking Him what He wanted me to spend my time on, or what He might want this blog to look like.
I stopped asking Him questions at all … but was dreadfully unhappy at not having any clear direction on what to do in my life. I forgot I needed to ask about the small things instead of just the big overall picture.
Between everything going on I just stopped asking at some point … and slipped into a deep pit.
Sunday night on the eve of my birthday, my husband sat trying to counsel me and encourage me as I lamented over the many things I was feeling. He suggested that I get a journal and start writing down the questions I had for God, and the requests, so that I could start seeing when God answered.
I told him I’d try, and I did start asking … but I’ll be honest – it was in that whiny pre-teen kid kind of way.
But you know what – He still answered.
Even in my bad attitude, struggling to keep it together and not blow a head gasket, He has still answered me and heard me. No, not on every request – but on some of the simple, basic things, and on a couple of the bigger ones.
So my goal is to start asking again – to start writing it down … maybe here with you, what I am asking God to give me wisdom for – He will answer. His word says so!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all, without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5
What I’m asking God for today:
– Peace to continue to unwrap the knots that are causing me to struggle
– Wisdom for dealing with my husband and children in this season
– Provision for our families needs
– Self-control and diligence to keep going
What are you asking Him for today?