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Why Frustration Is Fantastic and How to Own It

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photo by Jake Ingle

Are you feeling frustrated in some are of your life?
Restless?
Anxious?
Unsettled?
Dissatisfied?

That's so awesome! I'm super excited for you!

(Wait. Did she just say she was excited for me? What the?)

Yes. I did. And please don't leave until I tell you why.

Frustration is a prompt.


A pre-cursor.
A sign.
A signal.

A cue... that something new... is ready to break through.

Frustration tells you that the old way is no longer okay with you. Frustration gives a shout out that something needs to change.

I've learned this from our growing son.


Just when I find a comfortable parenting groove that seems to work well, boom. Out of nowhere, we hit a wall. Everything I do aggravates him. He is pissy and I am (trying to keep from being) pissy.

I used to blame these sudden shifts on teething or poppy pants until I realized all his teeth were in and he stopped wearing diapers years ago.
 
When I ceased making excuses, I could clearly see he was growing. Not just in his body and need for bigger shoes, but his in his spirit and need for space to walk things out his way. His frustration was creating room for expansion.

That's what frustration does.

It's God's way of telling us, a growth spurt is occurring.


Somewhere in the big, fat middle of frustration we wake up from a fog. We say to ourselves (when we are sick of our own whining), "Hey wait a minute. Something isn't working here. Maybe I need to change the way I'm doing (seeing, handling, approaching, praying over) this."

Frustration is not a reason to throw dirt on the fire and head home. You'll miss something stellar if you do. Frustration is the flame that lights up a dark situation and ushers us through to the sunrise.

With an open mind, try it for yourself.

  • Start by asking, "What is really frustrating me right now?"
  • Name it now. (Drill it down. Get super specific. It's that thing you were just complaining about.)
  • Now say, "Cool. This frustration is obviously intended for my ultimate good." (Because that's always the case as God is molding and making us awesome.)
  • Now say, "Thank you, God, for _____________. (Yes, the frustration goes right in that convenient blank.)
  • Next, look for what has recently changed regarding  __________. (Again, be super specific here.)  You might not have noticed (until now of course).
Uh-huh.  You're starting to see it, right?

 

  Ok. Good stuff. Because now I want you to ask one more question,
  • "What is one small thing I can adjust to make this easier/ better/ less stressful / more peaceful?" Seriously, one simple thing. Do not make this complicated.
  • Get quiet and listen... to your life experience, your gut, your God. (This is not where you ask a bunch of other people what they think. You can totally do this solo. I believe in you.)
Got it?   Good.
  • Now do it. (Don't make this a whole "thang." Just take the small step.)
When you do, you'll find yourself past that particular frustration in no time and on to the next one. But you won't mind, because you know now it's just gonna be another growth spurt.  

 
Here's to growing pains... bring 'em on!

Best,
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This article first published on The Purpose Dweller Diaries