In your frustration, do not sin…

I know that isn’t exactly what the Bible says. It actually says, in your anger, do not sin, but I think for my purposes recently I could insert ‘frustration’ because my frustration about a few things has left me on the brink of anger.

I’m not all that surprised.

You see, last week I read, “Everything about which we are tempted to complain may be the very instrument whereby the Potter intends to shape His clay into the image of His Son,” which I referenced on the blog.

Further, oftentimes when I read something convicting, I discover that temptation to feel remorse but not change grows very strong in the days and weeks shortly thereafter. So, because I decided I should make a significant effort to refrain from complaining (or at least significantly cut back), there are all of these great reasons cropping up where I’d really like to!

What does that lead to?

For me, thus far in my experiment, it has led to less talking! 🙂

It has also reminded me of the Psalm 139:4: ‘before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, oh Lord.’ (um, ouch…)

It has required more prayers such as, “Lord, I really want to complain right now, but I know it doesn’t honor you. How else can I respond to this situation because I usually complain first?”

Although there have been a few days where I’ve found myself simmering and it seems more apparent to me now that I’m not bubbling over with my complaints right away, it has also occurred to me that if I persevere, this would get easier and I would be less tempted to complain eventually, because I would have exercised the discipline of choosing not to.

Still, I haven’t quite figured out yet how the Lord allows me to handle my frustration in a healthy and Christlike manner. Somehow, I don’t want to simply suppress it. I want to resolve it, address it, just not by complaining right off the bat.

Thankfully, He has taught me to consider the other sides of the story (which I’ve been rehearsing to myself while I’m bubbling), to remember that His plans won’t be thwarted (even if mine are!) and that ultimately, if I walk with Him in these matters, things will turn out the way He purposes.

There. Now, oddly I do feel a little better, even though I didn’t list off my current gripes! (wink!)

May the Lord cultivate in each of us a greater tolerance for our ‘lists’ and a kingdom lens by which to view them through!

Prayer includes brooding and complaining

This week, I intend to spend some time examining various aspects of prayer. Perhaps one of the darker sides is what we consider lamentation. As I looked for a resource to examine this a little further, I came across Praying: Finding Our Way Through Duty to Delight by J. I. Packer and Carolyn Nystrom.

For today, a few words on brooding and complaining.

Brooding has to do with marinating in thought over problems and decisions. Sometimes this activity leads to unfocused thinking. In these times, it is helpful to remind ourselves of what Scripture tells us about God: who He is, that He will be with us, and the hope that we can have in Him. Meditation on God’s Word can soothe us and gird us up for those times of intense anxiety, busyness, or mood swings.

Complaining draws together lamentation and supplication. We are sending up petitions to God and appealing to His promises and His character for resolution to our requests. Complaints include opposition from enemies, deprivation, isolation, and depression. It is in these times that turning to God sustains us, reaffirms our trust in Him, and allows us to draw closer to Him.