Journeying from Frustration to Freedom

Dear Friends,

There's one word I could use to sum up how I've been feeling lately - frustrated!  I've been so frustrated by my own limitations.  Fed up and frustrated by chronic migraines and frustrated by the M.E which has recently taken a nose-dive making me feel weak, sick, tired and in pain. To put the icing on the cake of frustration I've been having particularly bad pain in one upper arm for around 2 months which has not got any easier despite doing the exercises my GP recommended.  This week I had an appointment for an injection in my shoulder but I saw a different doctor who gave me a different diagnosis and told me it was not frozen shoulder but a muscular problem in my upper arm.  As I've weaned myself off daily pain medication he prescribed me some anti-inflammatory gel and told me to rest my arm as much as possible and not put too much exertion on it.  Are you kidding me?  It's my right arm, the one I use to do everything!  How is that going to work?  He told me it could take 7-10 days to feel better.  Can you sense my growing frustrations with the combination of limitations I'm facing?

Are you feeling frustrated right now?  Frustrated by your health? Age? Relationships? Work? Something else?

It's human nature (or at least it's my nature) to dwell on these frustrations.  But this does me no good at all.  The more I focus on what's frustrating me the more frustrated I become. The more frustrated I become the more fed up and low I become.  I get down right miserable!  Things feel and seem worse. Not only for me, but for those around me, and that's no fun!

So what did I do?   I phoned my sister.  I just needed to talk to someone slightly removed from the situation but someone who also understood me.  She's great, she listened and gave me some good advice.  So good in fact that I told her she needed to heed some of her own advice!  Rather than focusing on my frustrations I need to accept them and use it as a time to rest and be kind to myself.  Make the most of this enforced break and see it as a positive thing rather than a negative one.

Our mind is a battlefield.  I can choose to focus on my limitations and the things that frustrate me but if I do that I will loose the battle, and I probably won't be the only casualty. Or I can choose to focus on God and experience victory.  Paul says in Philippians 4:6-8 "Don’t fret or worry. [In my case, stop dwelling on my frustrations.] Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry [or your fretting, fuming and frustrations] at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse." (MSG)

I've had some time to do some thinking and talking with God and this is what I'm learning.  This is the journey I'm on and it's about taking one step at a time.

In many ways I like to be in control and be independent.  I like to be doing something.  But in my journey it's about relinquishing this control to God, knowing that he's got the situation in hand and learning to be dependent on him, moment by moment. 

I'm finding that giving up control to God and recognising his sovereignty is incredibly freeing. This is where freedom lies - in submitting to him, depending on him, allowing him to be God in my life rather than me playing at being god.  I'm leaning to let it go - to let go of my need to be in control, to let go of being the one who dictates the way, and instead to keep trusting him.

It's good to have someone to share with (be discerning about who you open up to).  But most importantly we can open up to Jesus who experienced life on earth.  He experienced the limitations of a human body and he knows what we are going through.  The good news is that Jesus is our high priest and "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin."  Hebrews 4:15 (NLT)

"Be still, and know that I am God!"  Psalm 46:10 (NLT) is a verse that has been on my mind for some time now.  In this world we live in we are always in such a hurry, we are so busy rushing from one thing to another, that we hardly have time to be still or we feel guilty if we do take time out to stop.  Yet this is what God is telling us, and sometimes, if we don't, he allows something into our lives where we are made to slow down and rest.

So, in my journey to freedom, I believe God wants me to take some time out to practice the spiritual discipline of being still and of being silent in his presence.  To take the time to reacquaint myself with him. To go deeper in an intimate relationship with him.  To know him more and know him better.  To take take the time to listen and commune with him, rather than rushing from one activity to the next.  To really know that He is God.  To understand that my life is in his hands, that he is in charge, that he knows everything, that he is sovereign and that he has no limitations.

My journey from frustration to freedom is just beginning, and I'm taking time for plenty of stops along the way, times of sitting quietly at the Master's feet and times when I can just soak in his presence.  At least, that's the plan and that's my desire. Remembering that God is in control, that he is the one who determines the pace and when it's time to just rest in him. All I need to do is follow on this journey.

To Think About:
What frustrations are you facing right now?  If you focus on these where do they lead you?

Is there something God wants to teach you through them?

Does God want to take you through your own journey from frustration to freedom?  (It's likely that it will look very different to mine.)  Are you willing to take that journey?

Vicki


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