<<irritation, disappointment>>

If we are upset or annoyed when life isn’t ministering to our desires and needs, preconceived plans, timing or expectations we are frustrated, with this emotional response being another manifestation of our sinful nature.

We should not allow emotions to control us

The causes can include unrealistic goals, poor work habits (disorganisation or lack of planning), trying to meet several conflicting demands at one time, factors outside our line of responsibility or beyond our control. Maybe a different approach or strategy will be more successful, and create a welcomed breakthrough.

Frustration brings discouragement because of the lack of measurable results tempting a person to give up or to accomplish ‘in the flesh’. Abraham tried this approach ‘to help God out’ when they took matters into their own hands with the delay of the promised son shows that things go awry resulting in more frustration and anguish of heart – the consequences are still in effect today (Gen 15:4, 16:1-5,15, 21:9-14). If we have yielded to the temptation and tried to work things out in our strength, we must repent and endeavour to bring about a proper resolution to experience His blessing (Gal 4:30). We can only do God’s work in His way and with His enabling (Zech 4:6). Paul said, ‘I do not frustrate [put aside] the grace of God” (Gal 2:21). Through surrender to the Lord, we are able to turn these trials into advantages that work for us and bring glory to God. Keep an eye on your goals – ensure each aspect of life is aiding towards its fulfillment.

Solomon, when he looked at life from a human perspective that excluded God, saw only hopelessness and frustration, lacking meaning and purpose (Eccl 1:3, 2:11,17,20, 3:9, 5:15, 12:8). Yet he concluded meaning and fulfillment were the outcome when a person is connected to God, and living by the rule, "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of mankind" (Eccl 12:13). The Psalmist was also discouraged and frustrated that the wicked seemed to be having an easy life compared to his, "Until he understood their final destiny" (Ps 73:1-17ff). David cried out, "How long, O Lord, how long?" (Ps 13:1,2, 89:46). He took his anguish and frustration to God and wrestled with Him over his situations.

Don’t despise your efforts or allow self-rejection to destroy God’s peace in your heart, instead consider what He’s already done in your life. This will give you hope and reassurance for the future – to know His calling on your life will happen if you consistently obey and co-operate with Him, confident that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it” (Phil 1:6). Satan, with discouraging and negative thoughts, tries to get our eyes off what is being achieved with God’s help in our lives, so bring into captivity every thought making it obedient to Christ (Rom 12:1; 2 Cor 10:5). 

Keep a check on your emotions and how you dissipate the frustration – venting it at others in anger by attitude, action or words is not acceptable. Don’t internalize it either through self-pity. God holds us responsible for faithfulness rather than results. We need

How do I handle frustration?

to have a long-range view, be realistic, understanding things of value take time to achieve and there will be progress as we consistently apply ourselves even if there is the odd setback and failure. Everybody has their emotional ups and downs; don’t let the downs destroy you. Focus your hope and attention on God, encouraging yourself in Him, by getting your eyes off yourself and the problem onto His solution (1 Sam 30:6).  “Commit your way to the Lord, and He will help you do it” (Ps 37:5). Get His perspective on the matter – and use the trials as stepping-stones to victory.

Frustration with God could be evidence of a lack of trust in Him or a misunderstanding of who He is. The Bible declares He is perfect, and so has perfect intentions, perfect timing, perfect methods, and perfect results – if we co-operate with His plans, for “All things work together for the good of those who have been called according to His purpose” of transforming us into conformity with Christ (Ps 18:30; Rom 8:28,29). When we consider God hasn't responded to our schedule we create our own stumbling block, and can be a reason why people stop walking with Christ.

When our prayers go unanswered or not in the way we expect are we frustrated with God? We must trust Him, and rest in His never-ending great love and care for us (Jer 31:3). "For the creation was subjected to frustration..." imposed by God when mankind sinned – this affects all areas of our existence, from childbearing to sickness, decay, and suffering through hard, sometimes unrewarding work (Gen 3:16-19; Rom 8:20). As we focus our minds on the Lord and trust Him, we will know His peace, not frustration (Isa 26:3). In contrast God said, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise [those who trust in themselves]; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate" (Isa 29:14).

See also: anger, desires, disappointments, expectations, irritation, not being ministered to, peace, perspective, progress, self-pity, self-will, stress, why.