Archive | February 2012

Frustration is Your Friend

11 Strategies for Facing Frustration with Fortitude and Grace | Loving Life at HomeFrustration is something we all face from time to time.

The question is, how do we respond?

Do life’s trials make us bitter… or better?

Do they cause us to sink or to soar?

It takes wisdom and maturity to swallow disappointment without complaint.

Any two-year-old can throw a tantrum, but if we hope to do more than survive setbacks — if we want to actually grow through them and profit from them — then we must learn healthier ways of handling hardships.

So next time you’re feeling frustrated, consider it an exercise in character-building. Learn to view frustration as a friend, not a foe.

Practice the following responses, and they will soon become second-nature.

11 Ways to Respond to Frustration with Fortitude and Grace:

F – Faith – Trust that God has a purpose and a plan. Look to Him for guidance.

R – Respect – Treat others well. Don’t use frustration as an excuse to be rude or impatient.

U – Understanding – Why did this happen? Have my actions caused or contributed to the problem?

S – Sympathy – Demonstrate compassion for others who’ve been through similar trials.

T – Teachability – What lessons can I learn from this? How do I avoid similar situations in the future?

R – Resourcefulness – Think outside the box. Be flexible. Is there a different approach I might try?

A – Acceptance – Frustrations are just a fact of life. Anticipate and make allowances for them.

T – Tenacity – Hold fast to your convictions. Remain resolved. Don’t give up in the face of frustration.

I – Integrity – Guard your good name. Live above reproach. Never return evil for evil.

O – Opportunity – Where God closes a door, He opens a window. Look for it.

N – Need – We need God’s grace, strength, wisdom, and mercy, and should pray for such continually.

How to Conquer Frustration: 11 Tips for Facing Irritations with Grace | Loving Life at HomeMisguided parents will sometimes cater to a child’s every whim (thereby doing him a great disservice). There’s a name for kids who must always have their way: spoiled brats.

God loves us too much to make the same mistake. Scripture goes so far as to say that we should rejoice when we encounter hardships, big or small, for God uses such trials to mold in us the character of Christ (James 1:2-3).

Someday, when we stand before Him, complete, we may finally recognize frustration for what it truly is: a friend without whom we’d never be the same.

Have you developed a strategy for dealing with frustration? Please share by leaving a comment below, or join me on Facebook and we can discuss it there.

In My Thoughts and Prayers

MemoriesMemories are curious things. A person or event from our distant past can lie dormant and forgotten in the deepest recesses of our brains for literally years at a time, only to be stirred to life in a split-second by a glimpse or sound or smell of something that calls that memory to mind.

When the face of a friend or acquaintance whom I’ve not seen for decades springs suddenly and unbidden to mind, I cannot help but wonder why. Rosalind Goforth, the wife of a Canadian missionary to China, put forth one explanation in the following poem, which I love and long-ago learned by heart:

I cannot tell why there should come to me
A thought of someone miles and years away,
In swift instance on the memory,
Unless there is a need that I should pray.

Perhaps just then my friend has fiercer fight,
A more appalling weakness, a decay
Of courage, darkness, some lost sense of right;
And so, in case he needs my prayers, I pray.

This is something I strive to practice in my own life. When such a memory is triggered, I take it as a signal to pray. Most of the time, this just entails my asking God to pour out His blessings and strength and grace upon my friend, then going on about my daily business with nary a second thought. But on a few occasions, I’ve been privileged and amazed to later learn how urgently those prayers were needed and appreciated at the very moment they were offered.

I find this very comforting. Because I know that the God who impresses me to pray for others just when they need it most will likewise prompt others to intercede for me in my time of need (which, incidentally, is 24/7 and is also the reason God gave me a praying mother — but that's another post for another day).

When others are in our thoughts, shouldn't they be in our prayers, as well?

Make Your Valentine’s Day

As a wife, you have the ability to make your Valentine’s day, every day of the year, and you don’t even need flowers, chocolates, or greeting cards to do it. Just follow these three simple steps:

And that about sums it up. No further explanation required.

How Will You Be Remembered?

The Flanders Family: Mom and KidsAn interviewer once asked Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison how she had become such a great writer. Did she study a particular method? Read books to hone her craft? Study under famous authors?

To which Morrison laughed and replied, “Oh, no, that is not why I am a great writer. I am a great writer because when I was a little girl and walked into a room where my father was sitting, his eyes would light up. That is why I am a great writer. There isn’t any other reason.”*

I find this story both encouraging and convicting. Encouraging, because it shows what a profound effect this man’s love for his daughter had upon her development. Convicting, because it begs the question, How will my children will remember me?

Will they remember a mother who took utter delight in their company? Or one who was too distracted to notice when they entered a room?

Will they recall eyes that danced as she listened to their stories with unfeigned interest? Or eyes that drifted back to an iPhone or computer screen before half a dozen words were uttered?

Will their minds replay the unceasing stream of affirmation, love, encouragement, and respect that flowed from their mother’s lips? Or will they be haunted by criticism, disapproval, and remarks made in anger or frustration?

Will they envision a mother who willingly laid aside projects, plans, and pastimes whenever she heard them call, “Look, Mom! Watch me, Mom! Mom! You’ve got to see this…”? Or will they remember a mom too busy to be bothered?

Will they remember a mother who smiled?

The mother I want my children to remember in the future is the mother I must be in the here and now.

How do you want your children to remember you? What steps will you take today to make today to make those memories happen?

Further reading on related topics, may I suggest:

One Awesome Piece of Advice Every Parent Should Know by Darlene Schacht (The Time Warp Wife)
Missing More Than Life by Rachel Stafford (Hands Free Mama)
The Interrupted Life by Charlotte Siems (This Lovely Place)

*As quoted by Nancy Campbell on page 362 of her newest book, CHEER UP!