might will continue, but the series on frustration is over. Below is a map of the posts. Dealing with frustration rightly really is an ongoing journey (hopefully one we are growing in) and that’s why I mapped it out like a narrative. You can click on any part to jump directly to that particular post. And here’s a large version.
In each stage there are prompts in blue. The first area deals with knowing this world is not how it should be, something is not right. The second section deals with us as we ask ourselves the question God asked Adam, “Where are you?” The goal of this self-awareness isn’t an end in itself, it’s supposed to go somewhere. That’s the Highest Low: where we realize our need for God, not only for our situation that got us here to begin with, but for ourselves. That leads to repentance, which is submitting to an active God. Our repentance is called to be active (remember, “talk is cheap“), and we ask Him to change us as we rely on an active God. This repentance leads us to a holy longing, probably worlds apart from our original frustration. It echoes Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane, “not my will, but Yours.”
We will probably not see our worlds completely changed as we wish. For those who cling to their own wants with an iron grip, that leads to grumbling. For those who hope in spite of the darkness, that leads to groaning, and our sound joins with creation and Christ on the cross, hoping in the day where all things will be made new.
This is the sixth post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
This is where we end—holy longing. We started in selfishness with fashionable fists and childish foot stomping. We know that it’s not wise to just say “don’t be frustrated” because sometimes frustration is good. Jesus was frustrated. But even in our selfish forms of frustration merely saying “don’t do that” isn’t very helpful. What is going on beneath the stomping of our feet? A “don’t do that” also assumes we have the power ourselves to actually stop. We don’t. Continue reading
This is the fifth post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
Quick survey. We first talked about outward only frustration, to only care about appearances, with us all lifting a fashionable fist while sitting on the couch. So maybe the answer is a frustration that’s inward only? But when we looked at that we found that form will only lead to childish foot stomping—not getting our way. In both of these takes on frustration, they appear very immature. Continue reading
This is the fourth post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
Last post covered a form of faux frustration that I labeled as “outward only” (you can read more about that here). There is another form of false frustration that I’d like to bring up here, the “inward only” form. If outward only was merely way for the world to see how unselfish we are (which is pretty selfish, right?), inward only is just pure selfishness. Continue reading
This is the third post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
Frustration comes in many colors, as mentioned in the introduction. The last post I talked about why we should be frustrated. Problem is, as people who are imperfect, we are simultaneously frustrated too much and not frustrated enough. We are frustrated too much with empty forms of frustration and not enough with the real thing. Empty frustration is not deep frustration. It takes its façade, but only to hide pride and self-righteousness behind it. These next two posts I’ll be looking at empty forms of frustration, outward and inward. Continue reading
This is the second post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
Frustration isn’t always bad. I feel like this needs to be said, especially if you dwell in Christian circles for any length of time. Sometimes the “niceness” of Christian organizations (be they churches or anything else) cut off any of this kind of talk. Even as this post is published on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there is something inside us all that knows part of this world are broken. Continue reading
This is the first post in a series on frustration. View them all here.
If anyone has even halfway known me for any amount of time, they would know that I struggle with frustration. I want everything and I want it yesterday. This surfaces much in my ministry life, as it often feels like hard work to feel content. I know others who deal with the same thing, especially church planters. I believe it’s a combination of the personality of one attracted to church planting and the slow nature of the work. Frustration is even in the description people use of the young, restless and reformed movement (if you want to call it that). Restless. Anxious. Unsettled. These are all versions of frustration. Continue reading