Today, started pretty much like any other day. I was preparing my usual “healthy” breakfast, which consists of 1/2 glass of Apple Juice (100% pure), 3/4 glass of milk (Lactose free/2%), 2 pieces of lightly toasted and heavily buttered wheat toast and 1 Ego Blueberry waffle (heavy on the butter) with Maple syrup. Toast pops up and I start to butter the first slice, just as I reach for the second slice the waffle pops up (note to self: start waffle 15 seconds later), and our poodle who is outside, starts yapping to come in. All of a sudden I feel pressured and frustrated. Frustrated because I like my butter to be completely melted on both the toast and waffle and my dog is yapping louder and constantly. Do I stop and let him in? If I do, then my food will not be prepared exactly the way I like it. If i do not, he will continue to yap and irritate me but my food will be the way I like it. Stupid dog! Why can’t he wait? I just let him out like 2 minutes ago! Yes I felt myself becoming frustrated at this point. Then it hit me, and I had to laugh at myself. I mean one of those out loud laughs when you are by yourself and you know if anyone was around they would look at you as if you belonged in the nut house. Yep, one of those.
I realized at that moment that I was being such a fool (as usual). The dog does what the dog does. He has very little capacity to think let alone think and reason on a level even comparable to a human. He does most things automatically, out of need, instinct or routine without really much, if any, thought and no reasoning at all. Yet here I am, this amazing creation of God that has been given the ability to think, reason, problem solve, control my emotions and what I do, and I am getting frustrated by these little incidental things that either don’t matter much or I have the ability to change to a degree, but I am choosing to become frustrated.
I have realized for quite some time now that I do have a problem with frustration and not just frustration, but I how respond to and show my frustration to others. Yes, I realize frustration is part of normal daily life. Yes, I realize that many things that frustrate me actually do have a good basis, unlike this morning’s scenario. I get frustrated over so many things like, slow drivers (even if I am in no hurry), lazy people, people who are rude, selfish and or self-centered, people with more than 10 items in the 10 items or less check out. Let’s not forget the people who don’t acknowledge when you go out of your way to help them, or do not reply back to phone calls, texts or emails. Just to be clear, I am talking about when it is obviously the courteous thing to do or when it is requested. I am not saying that people should respond back to EVERY call, text or email. Also I am not talking about the occasional slip up, but those that habitually and purposely make a decision to act or be this way in these areas I am listing. I also find myself frustrated when people don’t care enough to do something right or purposely make things harder on others, inconsiderate, never wrong or refuse to admit to making any mistakes or just don’t do things the way I think things should be done. It is pretty easy to see from this list that I am a frustrated person. I normally try to hide most of this and there are too often times that I don’t.
When I look at this list along with what I realized this morning about my dog and his inability to do certain things and change certain behaviors, a whole lot of things become clear. No, I am not saying that people who frustrate me are like dogs, but there is some commonality here. That is that “I” am the common denominator here, the common factor in all of this. That I am allowing myself to become frustrated by things I have NO control over. Maybe that is THE frustration, that I cannot control these things. I can ONLY control the way I respond and/or react to these things. People are going to be people. Yes, they do have the ability to think, reason, problem solve and change their behavior. Yes, many of the things I listed are wrong and really could be corrected and the world would be a much better place. I must continually remind myself that this is THEIR CHOICE and I am only accountable to God for the choices I make, for my reactions or responses. That is exactly what God has given me the power to control and He does expect me to do just that.
As a follower of Jesus, as a Christian, I have made a personal decision sometime back to do several things. First is to serve God, and let my life be an example to others. An example of how God expects Christians to live in every aspect of their lives so that they may see something different about me that would actually create a desire in others to want to know what it is and how they can get it. I want my life to be such an example of what a Christian should be, that it actually creates a desire in people to draw closer to Jesus, not push them away. What I have realized is that I can help others change some of these things that I have mentioned. My frustration does not do that. As matter of fact it does the things I don’t want it to do. Pushes people away from Jesus and more than likely gives people a reason NOT to change. I can, however, lead my life in such a way, including the listed areas, that when people see that is how I consistently do things that maybe they can recognize and appreciate those things, creating a desire within themselves to change, but I should not expect that or be frustrated by a person’s refusal to change. That is not in my control.
The other thing I realized is that when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, when I made the decision to serve God, what I signed on to do was lead my life as a follower of Christ in His example. Jesus came to SERVE! Many of His followers became frustrated after hearing the message that Jesus had, when He explained how we are to do things and especially when He Himself did those things. Many of His followers decided to not follow any more, because Jesus as a leader, humbled Himself in every way by serving the needs of the people. Leaders do not do that! Leaders are to be served, not serve others. That is what people thought then and sadly now. Look around at our leaders in industry, politics and unfortunately our, homes and churches sometimes. Do they serve? Or do they expect to be served? If I am serious about being a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, then how can I do anything else but follow His example in all things? How can I expect others to take me seriously as a Christian, when I refuse to serve others out of love, and expect others to serve me. How can I impact my home, family, friends, church and community in a way to draw others to Jesus, if I expect to be served. When I continually become frustrated with others, what I am expecting them to do is serve me by doing things my way!
Friends, let me tell you. I have so much to learn, so much to change, that it is a wonder God is not frustrated with me. Instead He is patient and loving. He points these things out to me so that I can allow Him to change me. I am far from perfect, this I realize and freely admit. You may think I have set high goals for myself in what I want to be as a Christian, but they are the goals God has set for me and all mankind and can only be reached with His power and help. To love God enough to love follow His command to love your neighbor as you love yourself. We do this not by becoming frustrated at their weakness, faults or habits, but by serving them in love and compassion.
Please pray for me that, through God’s power and grace, I overcome these things, and many others, and become more Christ like each day so God can be glorified in my life and others may see that and desire to have relationship with God!