I listened to a sermon the other day, and the man’s definition of frustration stood out to me:
Frustration is the difference between our expectations and reality.
Basically, we get frustrated because what we experience is different than what we expected or wanted. We look forward and determine what we think will happen or what we want to happen, and when it doesn’t, we get frustrated. It can be the big things or the small things. Someone we care for doesn’t respond in the way we expect. We don’t arrive at an appointment when we wanted because of traffic.
So, what should we do? We can’t withdraw our anticipation and hope so that we never experience tension between our expectations and reality, but we can temper our expectations and reality with truth. We can adjust. We can be flexible more than frustrated. And when we are frustrated – because we will be at times – we can do so with appropriateness. We can sift aside much of the high emotion that can make frustration so volatile, so it’s more productive as we respond and try to remedy a situation. We can let God guide us in determining what to be frustrated about and how to respond and what to set aside. We can refuse to rewrite the reality of what we’re facing and let God keep our expectations in check. We can do less blaming and more coping. We can have healthy hope as we lean forward and authentic faith as we deal with reality. We can lean into God closely enough to see his perspective in order to keep our own in check.
We can live in the real world with God’s standards and coping strategies.