I Just Had A Date With Frustration

I’m a little frustrated right now – actually, I’ve been frustrated most of the day.

In the morning I was cutting it fine getting to work for an early meeting, only to find myself driving behind the slow guy who drove just fast enough to keep me from getting around him.

At noon I had a short turn-around to get my lunch and rush back to work for another meeting. I got stuck behind the lady who didn’t like moving into the intersection for a left-hand turn until there were no cars in sight.

We had to wait for a whole new light cycle until we got an advance green light. Only then did she finally feel she could get through the intersection, allowing me to go through as well.

Later in the afternoon I had a couple of drop-ins at the office that put me behind in a project I was working on.

… I was beginning to feel like I had a companion with me and its name was frustration.

On the way home from work, traffic was heavy and every time I changed lanes to get into the lane that was moving faster, it became the slow lane almost immediately.

More frustration.

It was almost like frustration was following me around, and sitting next to me with everything I did.

After I got home from an evening meeting, I watched the third period of the Leafs’ hockey game on TV.

It was the one part of the day where I felt that frustration had left my side; it had gone to interfere with someone else’s life – the Leafs were up 2-0.

However, shortly after the third period got underway, the Flyers scored. I quickly realized that, at best, frustration had only momentarily left me … like it went out to the kitchen to get a drink or snack of some kind.

I could feel my frustration build with each play or broken play the Leafs left on the ice.

Frustration – my new found best friend – was sitting so close I could feel it on my neck.  There was a cloud over us and, if it could have rained in the room, it would have.

I’m not sure if I was talking to frustration or to the TV, but I was getting more and more vocal about how my team was playing as the game progressed.

When Philly tied the game up, I kind of noticed a smile on frustration’s face and I didn’t like it very much.

I didn’t have a good feeling about the end of the game.

The game went into overtime, but not much – just 18 seconds in, the Philadelphia Flyers scored the winning goal.

I didn’t like frustration at that point, but it just wouldn’t leave me alone. I even found it putting words in my wife’s mouth, causing me to react negatively to her.

I saw it standing just over her shoulder with a big grin on its face. This was no friend; how could I let it hang around me all day?

I went to bed and hoped I wouldn’t see it in the morning.

Here’s the thing: Frustration can attach itself to us through the simplest, unsuspecting things. And it can stay with us and interrupt our day. That’s when you need to stop, take a breath, and focus on Jesus, being thankful for Him and what He’s provided for you. You will get a new perspective … and you won’t have to entertain an unwanted friend like frustration.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: During what recent frustration should you have stopped, breathed and refocused on Jesus? Leave your comments below.

Frustration Won Me Over

I was frustrated last night and I carried that frustration to bed with me.

It was the day that determined the two teams that would go on to the Super Bowl.

My frustration was not with the games or the teams; in fact, both the teams I wanted to win, won.

The first game I watched rather intently, but the second game … well, I was interested; I wanted to see it, but I had watched so much football already that I was a little football weary.

I didn’t want to entirely miss the game, so I turned to multitasking.

Now, I am not a great multitasker; I need to focus on one thing at a time. So when I do a couple of things at the same time, my productivity goes way down.

Yesterday that was okay; I didn’t mind. The game was going to be on all evening; I had time on my hands and just needed a slight distraction, while still being able to follow the action of the game.

There were a couple of multitasking possibilities for such a situation: I could play pool – the TV was right there; all I’d have to do was turn it – or I could fly my new drone around the family room.

… I tried both of these activities and still there were 3 1/2 quarters of football to go.

I then resorted to my go-to TV multitasking standby: my computer. I wanted to make some changes to our church website that I hadn’t gotten to in a long time.

Since I was doing two things at the same time – watching a game and working on the computer – I wasn’t frustrated at first when I ran into problems making the changes I wanted to make.

I knew that I had plenty of time while the game was on, so I just turned my attention to the plays for a few minutes.

As the game neared the end, I really wanted to be at the end of making those web changes … but I still couldn’t figure out how to do them.

Long after the game was over, some show was on TV that I was not one bit interested in, but it provided background noise that kept the frustration from really taking hold of me.

I looked at the time – it was way later than I wanted to be up and working on this! Then the frustration set its hooks into me and I laboured on it a little longer, with a little more angst building inside me.

I finally gave up for the night; frustration had won, but I planned to try another approach the next day.

It was time for bed, but how could I sleep? I was all keyed up, frustrated and not really ready to settle down.

So I put on a movie and let my mind chill out. It worked; it wasn’t long before I started to nod off.

… I had just needed to turn my attention to something else.

Here’s the thing: Frustration captures and controls our thoughts and emotions. If you turn your frustration over to God, and focus your attention on Him instead of your frustration, He will give you relief in mind and emotion. He will also give you a way out or through your frustration.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What kinds of things frustrate you most? Leave your comments below.

Anyone Need Their Grass Cut?

From time to time I will republish a post I’ve written in the past. The post was originally written and published in October 2012.

Sometimes you start a simple task or job and it grows into something bigger. I have certainly experienced this at times in my life.

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One time we had a water leak in our vacation trailer.  I decided to see if I could fix it myself.  I checked and found the problem needed to be fixed from the outside, which meant peeling off the metal shell at the front of the trailer.

I started at the bottom and noticed the problem extended a little higher so I took off the next strip, then the next, and the next.

When I had the whole front of the trailer removed, with just the wood frame left in place, I stepped back and thought, “What have I done?!”  It was way more work than I had thought.

Another time we had a leak in our basement.  I thought I would dig a hole outside and patch the foundation where the leak was.  In the end, the hole I dug was over 5 feet deep and about 12 feet long.  Again, that job got way bigger than I had first thought!

Reading about those two experiences, you might think they weren’t that bad, and that I must be a handy guy.  That’s where you would be VERY wrong!  I’m not that handy, and for all the handy work I have done, I don’t really like it.

It takes me too long; I don’t have the right tools; I make mistakes; I get frustrated; I get discouraged; I cut myself (another story).

Recently, we were at our cottage on a rainy weekend, when we happened to get a break from the rain for a few hours.  I decided I’d better take the opportunity to cut the grass since we wouldn’t be back for a few weeks.

It’s such a small piece of lawn that the job really doesn’t take much time.  But, as I was running the lawnmower over our grass, I thought about my brother’s lawn.  He had left his cottage a few hours earlier in the rain and I had noticed that his lawn needed a cut.

Since he’s up at his cottage almost every weekend and often cuts our grass (because we don’t get there all that frequently), I thought it was my chance to return the favour.  So, when I finished our lawn, I walked over to his place and started to cut his grass.

As I got close to finishing, I started to think about my brother’s neighbour who’s wife had just had surgery and was in intensive care at the hospital.

I thought, “That guy doesn’t need to be bothered with his lawn”.  So, as I finished with my brother’s lawn, I just kept going and worked on his neighbour’s.

As I walked back to my place pushing my lawnmower, I realized this was one of the few times a job that got bigger didn’t become frustrating or discouraging.  In fact, I walked with a sense of satisfaction that I had, in some small way, been a help to others.

Here’s the thing:  One of the greatest ways we can show the love of God to others is not by telling them but by showing them.  The problem is it takes time and, for many of us, time is precious.  We don’t have a lot of extra time to allow the task or job we are working on to become any bigger.  But sometimes that is exactly how we are to “love one another as I have loved you” John 13:34.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What kind of “loving one another” acts have you done recently?

Frustrated On The Road Again

Traveling the other day, I found myself a little frustrated. The conditions were good; the sun was shining, and the road was dry.

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The traffic, though heavy, was moving at a good pace.

I had some music on and really, what more could you ask for? … Not much, except I would have liked the guy in front of me to get out of the way!

I found him a little annoying. Well, to be honest, a little more than annoying.

For one thing, he didn’t drive at a steady pace. He would keep up with the traffic ahead of him for a few minutes, but then slow down by almost 10 km/hr. I found I was on the gas, off the gas the whole trip.

I would have passed him but it was only a two lane highway and there was steady traffic coming the other way.

I figured he wasn’t much of a skater – he had to have weak ankles not to be able to keep his foot on the gas at an even pressure for very long.

I found myself analyzing what he was probably like. I came up with his personality traits and the kinds of things he was thinking about.

If I had have had a police sketcher in the seat next to me I think I probably would have been able to come up with a fairly good picture of what he looked like.

My picture might not have looked anything like the guy in real life, but it was dark out and so we will never know for sure.

Let’s just say my description fit him to a T.

The other thing that bugged me about his driving was he used his brakes all the time. We were driving on a highway; there were no lights, just straight road!

There was no need to touch the brakes, but it was like he needed to hit them frequently just to make sure the pedal was still there or that someone hadn’t tampered with his brake line.

Like in most things, momentum is key. I’ve learned in mountain biking to try to use your brakes as little as possible, because any forward momentum you’ve built up will be lost as soon as you put on the brakes. Coasting is a better way to control your speed than stepping on and off the brakes.

However, on a bike when you loose momentum, you have to expend a lot of energy pedalling to get it back. In a car you just have to put your foot back on the gas pedal … unless you have weak ankles and can only sustain the pressure on the gas for a short amount of time, like the guy who was driving in front of me.

In the end we parted ways. He turned off the road, and someone else had to drive behind him and get all frustrated.

As for me, I’ll forget about him, but there’s plenty others out there who will take his place in front of me.

Here’s the thing: Life can frustrate you at times. You may even be a little frustrated with God, feeling like He is not clearing the way for you. Patience is required, and maybe that’s what you need God’s help for more than anything else.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: What has you frustrated lately? What will you do about it? Leave your comments below.

When Something Important Is Kept From You

Have you ever thought that something had been kept from you? You know, when you were little and you caught bits and pieces of a conversation your parents were having?

RoadBlockage

You were dying to know what they were talking about, but you were not permitted to hear the details. They kept them from you.

Have you ever thought God might do that with us from time to time?

… Like when two disciples were walking with Jesus and they didn’t realize it was him until after he left them? The Bible says “then their minds were opened”.

A couple of days ago we came up to our cottage to spend a week. It was still April and this was the first time we were up since we closed the place in the fall.

On arrival everything looked in order. It was nice to see the digs had stood up to the winter and won!

We turned everything back on but when I went to turn on the furnace, because it was still April, and it is Sauble Beach, I got no heat.

The furnace came on; I could hear the roar of the blower. I heard the click of the igniter to fire up the furnace, but all that came out of the ducts was cool air.

I checked everything, the switch, the circuit breaker, the gas. It was all working but still no heat.

I worked for about two hours in the cold; I was chilled and frustrated. I couldn’t think of anything else I could do. It had to be a furnace problem; I would have to call a service guy.

But that would be in the morning, and we needed a way to keep warm that night! I borrowed a space heater from my brother’s cottage, and Lily and I went out for dinner, so that I could get warm.

And just to make sure we were going to be warm enough, we also bought a space heater of our own.

That night we were warm alright – almost too warm. In the middle of the night we had to shed some of the covers that we had piled on the bed.

The next morning when I woke up, I lay in bed and an idea popped into my brain. I think God put it there. I think I was kept from that thought the night before.

As I lay in bed, I remembered that we had put duct tape over the furnace exhaust vents in the fall. I realized there probably was a safety feature on the furnace that wouldn’t allow it to fire up if the vents were blocked.

I jumped out of bed, went outside, took off the tape, came back in and “budda boom, budda bing” the furnace worked like a charm.

I shared the tale with some people who told me that a guy had done the same thing years ago, and almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning! They got him out just in time. Wow! Thanks, God.

Here’s the thing: Sometimes we’re blocked from getting what we need. God may have a reason for keeping things from us. Be aware that blockages are possible, and when you’re frustrated, seek God. Determine to obey Him and ask Him to reveal what the blockage is and how to remove it.

That’s Life!

Paul

Question: When was the last time you felt frustrated and blocked from something you needed? Leave your comment below.