It was at least my 8th time attempting to make things work so I could move on with my work, but sometimes technology has a way of giving up on you especially when it knows you really need it. I had a deadline at work and this particular software chose the wrong day to not function. Did I mention I had a deadline? In my many attempts to make things work before the end of the workday, I was trying everything possible and with each attempt, my patience began to run thin and by my 8th attempt, I was frustrated. With absolutely no control over what was going on, I gave into my frustrations so I slammed my laptop, and slapped my hands over my face to express my frustration. I bet this sounds familiar to most of you, frustration is quite the emotion, right? I oftentimes think of frustration as that annoying deep itch you can’t reach in the middle of your back and if you are without help, you sit there with it in hopes that it will go away and it doesn’t. I want us to talk about the deep itch called frustration and how best we can get through it without losing ourselves.
REcognizing your frustration
I, first of all, would like to confirm with you that you are not the first and certainly will not be the last to experience frustration. Even the people of old were quite frustrated with their lives and situations, just most of us are at times. Frustration has a way of showing up when people are unable to attain what they personally what to fulfill. In the same way, it also in some way makes people feel like they have lost control over their own lives. A perfect example of worldwide shared frustration was with the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of us experienced many frustrations due to the limitation and little control we had over the course of the pandemic. With these many frustrations being experienced, it was almost impossible to see the other side of our frustrations and be assured by God that things will go back to normal prior to the pandemic.
When we as humans get frustrated we are often consumed by the need to take back control and find stability by whatever means possible, let us face it, we love to be comfortable. We witnessed that a lot during the early months of the pandemic, might I remind you of all the bulk-buying of toilet paper and cleaning supplies (Yikes)? However, when we are frustrated, it is almost like that comfort is taken away from us and then we get so fixated on how we can get back to our comfort without finding the proper help to help us get on the other side of it all. Understandably, we all find ways to cope with our day-to-day frustrations, but there are long-term frustrations, people, still, experience and those types need the help of Jesus in order to get on the other side. Examples of long term frustrations are plenty, but here are a few; persons frustrated from the lack of career fulfillment, persons frustrated from the lack of having a baby after many years of trying, persons frustrated from many failed relationships, persons frustrated from a terminal illness, persons frustrated from the lack of sufficient funds to pay off debt…..I mean the list can go on, but these are some long-term frustrations that need the assurance of Jesus if we ever want to get to the other side of things. Notice how I mentioned “the lack of” in all the long-term frustration examples? I was not writing that just so I could flow with the text, long-term frustration are often times experienced due to the lack of something for prolonged periods of time. Unlike everyday work frustrations that can be fixed by the IT guy or sharing notes with your co-worker, long-term frustrations can be a tough thing to live through, and to some, they may feel impossible to overcome, but can I encourage you? I will share this famous Bible story and I hope it helps you see that on the other side of your frustration is the help and assurance of Jesus you have been looking for. What does the other side of frustration look like anyway?
Jesus ON the other sIDE OF FRUSTRATION
I couldn’t think of a better example of Jesus on the other side of frustration than this Bible story I will share with you. Granted, there are many bible stories that could help us understand that Jesus is our assurance in all things, but this Bible story is still fresh in my mind, you can read it for yourself (Luke 5 v 1-11) or if you are a visual learner like me, watch ‘The Chosen’. Last Saturday I took some time to watch a few episodes of ‘The Chosen’, an amazing Bible story series by the way. If you haven’t watched the show, I highly recommend it, my sister’s in Christ suggested it and I love it! I had a chance to watch the story of Simon Peter the day before his first meeting with Jesus. I liked the visual depiction of Simon Peter’s many frustrations throughout the episode. But there are these two particular scenes that lead me to think about frustration and Jesus. The first scene that got my attention was when Simon Peter was out fishing at night. He like most of us usually decides to take matters into our own hands, the idea of control and the dare need to attain our desires leads us to many frustrating situations just like Peter experienced. Back to the story, with every attempt to cast his net and catch fish, Simon Peter grew more and more frustrated, he frantically cast his nets to no avail, he also had help, but even with the help of his brother and fisherman friends, nothing was caught all night. How many of us just like Simon Peter had the help, but we’re still left with the dealings of our long-term frustrations? Our inability to get to the other side of frustration is not always because we do not have the help, it is because we have placed a limit on how things should happen based on our initial desire to fulfill our goals. This is where Jesus comes in.
Going back to the Bible story, the other scene from ‘The Chosen’ that caught my attention was Jesus meeting Simon Peter right after a very unsuccessful night of taking matters into his own hands. Jesus then notices that the fishermen have toiled all night with nothing caught, he sees their frustration, he then asked if he can use their boat as a pulpit to teach a small crowd by the shore. With their permission, he continues to teach the crowd and once he was done, he asks them about their night, and you guessed it, they express their frustration of being unable to catch any fish. He, Jesus then instructs them to cast their nets again and at his instructions, they cast their nets again. Something miraculous happened, they caught plenty of fish! A night of frustration quickly turned into a joyous celebration for Simon Peter and his friends. How does this relate to us you ask? Think about the many frustrations that keep you up at night, only to wake up to them again the next day. What was Jesus trying to show Simon Peter and the rest of the fishermen? He was trying to show them that he is the assured help to all their frustration. He also showed them that on the other side of frustration is joy, peace, rest, and fulfillment. Their plan was to catch fish at night and that limited them to see that Jesus could help them catch fish during daylight. Jesus took the limits off their initial idea of attaining their goal and idea of control. So what is on the other side of your frustrations that you can actually look forward to? I already mentioned some, but let me list them for you;
I hope this encourages you to see the other side of your frustrations, while I know the reason for your long-term frustration still lingers, there is a much better path you can take. The limitless path Jesus has set up for you. As cliche as this may sound, I feel like it is okay to say this right now, let go and let God! Here is the perfect assurance from God to you while you make your way to the other side of your frustrations;
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11 v 28- 30
All! not some…the verse says ALL should come to God with their frustrations and he will give them rest. Now that is a blessed assurance! I will end by saying these words, trust God by his word, and listen to his instructions especially when you get frustrated. God knows there is another side to all your frustration and wants you to see it. It is time for you to take your rightful place! It is time to trade thorns for crowns.