Friday, March 2, 2012

The End of Frustration

When I was in the hospital with pneumonia in December, a dear friend visited me and gave me a book called "The Secret Place of Strength".  She also gave me a journal and encouraged me to write.  To restate what the devotion said, to write my questions, to write my observations, my prayers, whatever!  I've been going through it as my daily (almost every day!) devotional.

Something wonderful has happened: I look forward to devotion time.  For a long time I've felt like I "should" do devotions.  I've tried.  I've got a ton of books.  I've got a ton of Bibles!  I've got a ton of good intentions!  But the time always felt pained, not quite wasted, but not fulfilling either.  (Is anyone else identifying with me?  I can't be the only "good Christian girl" who didn't live for devotional time!)  They have always been viewed as a chore; something else on the to do list that never got done.  I've never really been able to see them as "me time" - something that I do for my own pleasure and encouragement.  I've always felt they were part of the grading stick that I was failing.

Since I've been using this book and journal, I enjoy spending time with God.  I have always enjoyed worship, going to church, etc. - but devotion time has been less than thrilling.  Recently, I have been able to hear Him calling to me when the house is still "come sit with me".

I don't blog these times - they are mine!  However, as I was reflecting today, I felt I really needed to share a revelation with you!

Ezekiel 36:26: " I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."
The title was "The End of Frustration" and as I pondered what causes frustration, here is what I found:

  • disappointment
  • loss
  • unmet expectations
  • poor planning
  • lack of resources
  • time pressures
As I read the devotional portion, I realized that frustration always stems from discontentment (a temporary loss of contentment).  I also thought about malcontent (an absence of contentment).  Without content(ment). Without content.  Without substance.  Without fullness.  Without being.

Whoa!  When I express frustration, I am exposing an area of my life that has a lack of content(ment).  This means that when I am frustrated that my toddler is poking me in the back to get my attention (while I am trying to work on the computer) what I am really saying is "I need to plan my time and priorities better".  

I know that it is normal to be frustrated.  We all do it (several times a day!)  Instead of letting that frustration drive you to distraction, let it point inward to the area that needs to be filled.  Let God fill that place, be content, be full!  A good way to do this is to be grateful.  Expressing gratitude helps us refocus on what we have instead of what we lack. 
Fill your whole heart
   with my words.
Fill your whole mind
   with my intelligence.
Fill your whole boday
  with my enabling health.
       Sing the healing song
       of contentment.
Then frustration shall not plague you
     nor enslave you.
I have for you a new life,
       a life of joy,
       creativity,
       wisdom.
Grow, dear one, grow;
       learn,
       love life.
Fill your whole soul
with Me -
       truly be.
John 17:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 1:3 (from "The Secret Place of Strength" by Marie Chapian)

Don't stop - there's lots more good stuff...

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