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frustrated boy

My wife woke up early Monday morning to listen to Charles Stanley preach on frustration and on how God can use our frustration.

I woke up a little later after her, slowly trying to wake up and brew a cup of coffee in the kitchen while my wife took notes on Charles Stanley’s sermon that I heard in passing.

As Charles Stanley talked, he made a point that struck me…a point that I will paraphrase…that frustration comes from when you want something to be but it is not. Frustration comes from when you can’t get to where you want or get what you want for some reason.

My wife and I spent over an hour talking about our greatest frustrations thanks to that sermon.

Fortunately neither one of us were frustrated with each other.

You can laugh..Rachel and I are doing awesome!

But, we talked about the frustration of getting to our dreams…our hopes….our goals…our wants…for a life that was what we imagined.

Frustration settles in when you have to pay the bills in one place while pursuing your dream on the other side of it when you really want to pursue the dream job.

Frustration can settle in when you are struggling with an issue of the past and it seems like the more you pray the more difficult things get.

Frustration can settle in when you’re sick but you can’t seem to get well.

But, God can use the frustration you have. And often, that’s exactly what He’s trying to do.

What are you trying to escape from? What are you REALLY trying not to deal with? What do you really think of God? Do you truly believe in Him?

Rather than medicate or busy myself or try to escape in some way, I allow the frustration to be used by the Lord. This starts in prayer. This starts in “diligently” seeking him (Hebrews 11:6) and trusting and believing that He has a reason…a plan…a purpose… for why you’re not healed yet, not in that new opportunity you want yet, not accepted yet, not received yet, not where you want or what you want yet.

We miss it when we medicate the pain. We miss the opportunity for God to show us His love for us in the midst of the frustration — and to in fact relief and free us of the frustration and give us peace in the middle of all of the “frustrating” times.

I’m learning to stay faithful in prayer, seeking the Lord, trusting Him with all of the circumstances and in every circumstance AND living in the peace the Lord gives me when things are not favorable.

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I had a nice chat with a co-worker the other day about the whole idea of truly “coming together.”

After the ugliness of the 2016 election and the nasty social media presence, people a little after the election and during the holidays have begun to say, “hey, let’s all come together and be one nation.”

Easier said than done!

But, my co-worker stated a question to me that he stated to his friend during a dinner conversation, “what are you doing to bring about this coming together.”

Stay with me here.

What are you REALLY doing!

All too often, we declare that we must be united…but we are quick to bash everyone we even remotely think we disagree with…the conservative, the liberal, the gay guy, the straight guy, the Christian, the Muslim, the Latino, gun owners, black lives matter and so forth and so on.

Saying “we should come together” sounds beautiful. It sounds sweet. It sounds amazing. It is an awesome idea.

I genuinely believe that most people desperately want that! Unfortunately, many of us want it on our own terms and in our own vision.

In other words…”yeah, let’s be united…but, you mind your business and I’ll mind mine. Oh, wait, what, you want to come to my school…work in my office building…live in my neighborhood…hmmm, no, no, I don’t think that’ll work. Try across town…in fact…try a county over.”

Yes…unity is an awesome idea…when you actually DO it.

For most of us…that’s all it is…an idea.

I could go into a deeper analysis of why that is so, but, it would require multiple blog posts. And I’m fine with that. I got all the time in the world till the Lord decides to call me home.

Unity is messy…very messy. It is also a LOT of work. It’s a LOT of listening. It’s also a LOT of putting down all of our phones, shredding those articles and getting ready of any and all vast assumptions we have made ourselves or have been given by our choice of media and literature. Unity also requires consideration. In other words, being willing not to win over an argument, but, to win over a heart.

What does that look like…it means saying, “I don’t get it all…but I’m trying…can we continue this conversation over coffee again! Why? Because I actually care.”

Or…could it be that you just want to imagine a world where we are united…only we are divided…more than ever.

I get it…you’re scared…you don’t know what could come next. You’re probably just trying to get through the day to day. But that’s just it. We Americans love to go it alone! We’re so about our “independence” that we forget that we can’t get past our struggles alone.

As I write this, I’m preaching to myself here! I hate having help sometimes…but truth is, it’s unhealthy to think that. It’s unrealistic. And to put it bluntly, it’s prideful!

You can blame others. You can blame the system. You can blame the media. You can blame all the culprits you want.

But, at the end of the day, the buck stops not with just people we appoint as leaders…but…on us. ALL of us! EVERYONE!

No more excuses…I would rather shake hands with someone I disagree with and have a coffee with them than yell and fuss and cuss and make excuses for the real reason I don’t want to try….fear and anger!

And our children and our children’s children will inherit the results of that labor…lacking or otherwise. I sincerely hope not, but we have to work for better.

This year, I dare you to do something…actually DO something…about “coming together” in America. Start at home with your family…with friends…with co-workers. Then expand…expand past your comfort zones

Because at the end of the day…you can’t legislate unity or morality. And you can’t wait on someone else to make the first move.

Let it be you first for a change.