Tag: Proverbs

When People Frustrate Us

You’re frustrated. The conversation goes horribly. Tardiness becomes the norm. A person nitpicks our actions. You and I have a list of what frustrates us.

Frustration raises the levels of our emotions and defenses. In the heat of the moment, some of us want to retaliate. Others of us avoid the situation while slowly seething with anger. Some of us utilize passive aggressiveness.

Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” The key to overcoming frustration is seeing the big picture. Patience invites us to realize the grace God has given us and therefore have the wisdom to respond well to the other person.

Today, you might get frustrated with a person. Ask yourself these four questions before you take any actions:

1. What’s my preference vs. problem?

It’s important to categorize our frustration. Preferences emphasize opinions. Problems deal in terms of facts and guidelines. When our preferences get mixed up with problems, we focus on how we want to change the person to fit our needs rather than helping them mature.

2. What’s my role vs. theirs?

Often, our frustration comes from a lack of communication. We have not shared our expectations. Frustration causes us to assign motivation to a person with them filling in the blanks. Deciphering our roles helps us honestly assess the situation clearly.

3. Where are they on their journey of growth?

Our frustration with people can cause us to forget their growth. A person may have come a long way on an issue, but they have triggered us to forget. Subjective grace overlooks issues that do not bother us, but can magnify the ones that do. The conflicts we have with people may not adequately understand their journey.

4. How ready is the person to hear what I have to say?

We play over and over in our mind the conversation we would love to have. You could have the perfect argument to the person in their place. If our frustration causes us to confront, then the person may miss what we have to say. Ultimately, this has to do with trust. Can the person see that you are invested in the well-being of their lives to hear you?

When you get frustrated with a person, take a moment to pause and see the situation. Asking one of these questions could make the difference in how you approach the person. What other insights have helped you when you get frustrated with others?

Photo credit by Josue Bieri.

Being Right

Patterns matter in our lives. People can notice them in our lives, but often we can miss their subtlety in our lives. A few months ago, I had to come face to face with a pattern of my life. Trusted friends brought to my attention the need to be right.

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Rightness would trump understanding and empathy. A few conflicts and disagreements took place in my life. The pattern began to start. Rather than moving towards the other person attempting to see their perspective, I stubbornly saw the situation out of my rightness.

In our relationships, we ask people to move towards us without ever taking the effort to go towards them.

When being right becomes a pattern, we want to tell people like it is without any regard to grace. You and I can practice our venting session to them. At the end of the day, it reeks of our own pride. Keeping the focus on the other person releases us from seeing our part. I can remain in the clear without taking any responsibility.

Proverbs 21:2 calls us to evaluate rightness, “A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.”

Pride locks us on the faults of another. Empathy moves us to one another.  Recording wrongs makes a never-ending tally.  Compassion looks at people as Christ sees them.

Releasing our need for rightness allows us to experience the Gospel. It reveals our need for Christ’s grace while also extending it to others. It moves us from making situations transactional to identifying the pain in someone else. It motivates us to seek reconciliation rather than winning the argument. 

I had to come to grips with my pattern of being right. I had to ask God for help to understand the other person. In doing so, I began to see how God was changing my heart and making me realize the blindspot I could not see. Gracious people spoke the truth in love to me.

What would happen if you released your need to be right? How would you experience Christ’s grace? How might it help you in your relationships?

Photo credit by Sérgio Rola.

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