Frustration VS Contentment
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Life is filled with frustrations. Why? Because God wants to test us and remind us daily of several hard truths.
First, we will have in our daily lives situations we cannot control. Frustration is a disappointed feeling, often including expressions of anger in an unhelpful or self-defeating manner. Frustration is about expecting the world and its inhabitants to be, act or react as you wish. The truth is God is in charge and we are not.
Second, God already knows what frustrates us and He allows those situations into our lives so that when they come up we will turn to him for answers or the strength to endure. God wants to hear from us daily (several times a day actually.) God sends us tests to show us where we are in our levels of frustration (since he already knows all things). Learning what frustrates us and then practicing relaxing can help us cope with them.
Thirdly, God wants us to learn to be content and that will bring us to our knees with gratitude for his power that helps us get past frustrations.
In the real world, things simply are the way they are; so ranting, raving, blowing off steam and breaking down and crying will not change anything (well, except perhaps your blood pressure). Changing your expectations about people (like the ones who pull in front of you and go slower than the speed limit or the boss who gives you just one more small task before you go home today or the child that seems unable to finish a simple task) will help greatly also. Focusing on your own reactions will do you much more good than looking at their behaviors.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Things are usually not as bad as they first appear. Sometimes, things seem much worse simply because we’re tired or mentally drained. Taking a break and remembering to keep your sense of humor can also help. This time of frustration will pass. A positive mind is far more open to solutions and answers than a negative one that thinks it’s just “hopeless” and thinks “what’s the use?”
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Have you ever considered that contentment isn’t about how much stuff you have? There are people living in the jungle with only what they can make with their own hands and they are perfectly content with life. Then there ae multibillionaires who are discontent with their lives (like Mr. Hamn in Oklahoma who is divorcing his with and the judge has ordered him to pay her $995million dollars.)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So contentment isn’t a matter with being content with your situation in life and never trying to improve it. It’s a matter of being content with what you have. It is an attitude that can actually be learned! We all have the ability to choose to be happy in this very moment (well to be fair, there are some folks who are clinically depressed or people with other overwhelming life issues who actually cannot make that choice). I have determined for me that it’s not the conditions that makes me unhappy, but my choice of thoughts, of attitude, of behavior.
I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
When I look at my life and consider all I do not have, the problems at work or in relationships then I will be unhappy. When I count my many blessings and the good things I have in my life then I am happy. At least I had a job (or unemployment insurance)! At least I had someone who loved me! At least I wasn’t sick (and still had health insurance)! At least I wasn’t bankrupt and homeless! I counted, instead, my blessings. I do this when things aren’t looking so good, and it turns my attitude around. I gain an attitude of gratitude that I take to God in praise! Contentedness, on the other hand, is a matter of being satisfied with what you have. It focuses on what you have and don’t have instead of just being a state of being. It influences happiness. However, you can choose to be content, just as you can choose to be happy, and if you choose to be content with what you have, who you are and where you are, you will be happy.
So here at the end I want to leave you with some very relevant quotes:
“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
― Dale Carnegie
“You say, ‘If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.’ You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled.”
― Charles H. Spurgeon