December 12, 2012

The F Word

Pin It!
Don't worry - all my posts are G.

No, I'm talking about another word.  Frustration.  Nobody likes being frustrated and no one likes being around someone that is.  We see it as a negetive reaction to life's circumstances.  And boy, life's circumstances are not always pretty!  We have siblings who are annoying us, politics that never go our way, food burning, bills needing to be paid, cars breaking down - the list could go on and on.  We would never look at frustration positively.  But did you know frustration is a choice?  And that there is another option other that to get upset?

I know that whenever I find myself frustrated, I'm already angry.  I don't see it as, "oh, John Caleb just tore my assignment.  What should I do?"  No, I immediately yell at him or vent at other people.  It wasn't until I read in a book that it dawned on me:  I can choose not to be frustrated. 

Some of the people I most respect are the ones that handle interruptions calmly, look at the bigger picture and don't dwell on every single earthly pain.  They see interruptions, not as God messing up their plans, but as part of God's agenda for them.  Maybe God is trying to get my attention or draw my attention to someone that needs Him.  They keep thier focus on things above, not on earthly things.  (Colossians 3:2) 

These people seem more at peace, more joyful, and less stressed.  Our focus is so important.  If we are focused on purely gaining earthly attention, we will be devestated when we don't get attention.  If our reputation is based on always getting somewhere on time or always showing up with immaculate hair (that probably only applies to girls) then our self worth will fall drastically when those things don't happen the way we want them to, because, more often than not, we won't get there exactly on time with immaculate hair.

Keys to choosing joy rather than frustration:

1) Laugh!

2) Remember as Christians, we are living by God's agenda, not our own.

3) Frustration is normally not honoring God.  (Note:  There are excepetions, such as being frustrated with immoral actions, but the frustration I'm talking about is when we let our emotions have too much importance)

Here is an example:  Stephen's Sunday School Class has a progressive dinner every year.  (The first one was when I was in 6th grade.)  Four children pick (volunteer their mom ) one part of the meal to make.  Then, on the scheduled day, our church's bus takes the class from house to house.  There are four courses: Appetizers, Soup and Salad, Main Dish, and Dessert.  This years theme was Asian and we were the Soup and Salad stop.  Mom decided to make Wonton Soup and and Asian salad with ingredients hopefully kid friendly.  She asked (you could read between the lines and say she pleaded, but . . . that would be reading in between the lines.  Plus it isn't completely accurate.)  So I picked wontons.

Below: How to make a wonton. Mom and me had to google it to see how to do it! While we were doing that, my dad (walking in from working outside) comes over to our cookie sheet and deftly whips one up. I made him do it again so I could try.

And here is my version:

Put filling on wonton.  Ours was pork, chopped shrimp, chopped onion, soy sauce, salt, pepper and sugar.

Wet edges of wonton with water, so it will seal.
Press all the air out of it and fold.

Can you tell part of this post was to show you how proud I was of making wontons for the first time!? :)

I decided to do them earlier in the morning, so I wouldn't be assembling them as they arrived. 

So it was 1:30 and they were supposed to arrive at two.  I am reading in my room in my play clothes when Mom yells, "They're here!"

My siblings were more than excited that people were coming to our house.  (Its no wonder the public doesn't think homeschoolers get out much.)  Mom and I were excited, just maybe not the happy kind.  We hadn't boiled the wontons and although I had managed to pull on jeans and a long sleeve shirt, Mom was still in her sweats and self described "unfashionably baggy" shirt. 

We grinned at the kids coming in, but shot each other "AAAHHHH!!" looks behind their backs.  But we shouldn't have worried.  These 4th and 5th graders were more than happy to play outside for five minutes and then were most gracious in trying Asian salad, complete with baby corn snd chopped water chestnuts.  They ate the wonton soup and most of them liked it.

Once they left, Mom and me were cleaning the dishes and hashing it over.  And we laughed.  No, it definitely did not go the way we had planned.  No, we weren't suitably dressed or even ready.  But we laughed anyway, because as Mom said, "I don't think they noticed and if they did, they won't remember.  And, you know, it really doesn't matter."

If little things are ruffling your feathers more then they should, look at your priorities.  Frustration is your choice.  When uninvited emotions come barging in, smile, and then politely show them the door.  You have better things to do with your time.  Like glorifying God with your choices.


  1. Bravo, Mary Frances. I love your insight! A super good reminder that I need everyday.

  2. So insightful as usual, and boy, I'm impressed! Folding those wonton thingies looks complicated!

    1. I know:) . . . but they really aren't! They just look cool!

  3. A great reminder, Mary Frances!

  4. Thanks for your thoughts AND the real-life example and application! What was the book that got you started on this idea? I think the books that helped me with this concept were "Respectable Sins" by Jerry Bridges and "Instruments in the Redeemer's Hand" by Paul Tripp. Your observation about us living by God's agenda, not our own, especially reminded me of some of Paul Tripp's writings.

    I love Asian food, and your wonton's look amazing! Maybe I will look up a recipe and try them sometime. I am always impressed with your cooking creativity!

    1. Actually, it was from Rick Warren's "40 Days of Purpose." It was part of school, but I really enjoyed it. It was really thought provoking and insightful.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts! Your comments make my day! Protection