I could feel the pressure starting to build with each word the insurance lady spoke. It was pushing at the backs of my words as I waited for my turn to speak. “Maintain your Christian witness. Maintain your Christian witness. Try to maintain…” My head felt like it was swelling with the effort of holding back my words. Finally, when it was my turn, I managed to say things that were both polite and reasonable even as my volume got louder and my words got faster.
Her response. Was. Maddening. It occurred to me dimly that any more time spent on the phone would be very bad for both of us. I whispered a tight “Thank you” and hung up, slamming my teeth together and letting loose a scream that started low and deep and ended high and loud. That was the moment that I let the spirit of frustration in. On later reflection, it occurred to me that there are two main causes for frustration and two very biblical ways to deal with them before they turn into a stronghold.
The Insurance Situation
My story begins, as many do, with good intentions. After my slab leak last year and my insurance company’s lack of coverage or concern, I decided to shop around when the policy came up for renewal. I was contacted by my former insurance company who gave me a bid that was lower by about $40 per month. I was trying to be a good steward of God’s resources, and I liked how they handled a claim many years ago. Plus, the agent assured me that coverage would be better, the price lower, and she would take care of everything. I made the switch.
But as soon as the papers were signed, I got an email from the agent. She said it was my responsibility to contact my previous insurance company to cancel. I did that. Then another email. The company had done an inspection (that she never mentioned was coming), and the condition of the roof required me to file a claim with my other insurance company (that she had just told me to cancel). If not, the policy would be dropped. My intention was to lower my monthly payments, but now I owed a deductible that would amount to several thousand dollars. The agent’s response was, let’s just say, less than sympathetic.
The Two Causes of Frustration
1. Lack of Control
The biggest factor to frustration is often our inability to control a bad situation. There is nothing we can do to stop what is happening to us. We can’t change other people or their behavior, and we can’t change our circumstances. We feel helpless, useless, ineffective, or trapped.
But just because we can’t do anything about our situation doesn’t mean it’s out of control. God is in control. Isaiah 14:24 says, “The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand.’” When we have submitted ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, His hand is on our lives, guiding us in every situation. 1 Peter 4:12 tells us that sometimes God allows trials to teach us a lesson and/or refine us. And John 9:3 shows us that sometimes hardships come about in order to bring glory to God. We may not like what is happening to us, but God is allowing it for His purposes. We know that whatever happens, He is with us and is working everything out for our good (Romans 8:28).
When we start to feel upset, we must remember that we are not our own. It’s not our job to control. It’s our job to trust. We can pray to God to ask for help, and He will hear us and give us peace. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Another cause of frustration is the idea of injustice. We say to ourselves, “That’s just not right,” “not fair,” or “shouldn’t be happening.” Or we even ask ourselves, “Why is this happening to me?” We feel like we are minding our own business and/or doing what we’re supposed to be doing, but other people or situations are causing us grief. It could be that someone isn’t treating us the way we feel we should be treated (our spouse, coworkers, parents, children, or insurance agent). Or it could be a situation that is happening to us that, despite our best efforts, prevents us from achieving something or even being comfortable.
But we don’t wrestle against people or situations. We wrestle against an enemy who has spent years perfecting his tactics against believers. Sometimes the things that cause frustration are nothing more than an attack from the enemy. Sometimes he just capitalizes on the choices we and others make. But, while the devil doesn’t play nice or fair, he is not all powerful. 1 John 4:4 tells us “ You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” We don’t have to play the enemy’s game. James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
When we start to feel those frustrating feelings welling up inside us, we must recognize the enemy’s tactics and refuse to be taken in. We must submit to what God says is true: Jesus told us in John 14:27 that He left us His peace. We must resist the spirit of frustration that would seek to attach itself to us.
The Spirit of Frustration
Even though we live in the natural world, we can never forget the supernatural realm. The Holy Spirit of God is inside us, but Satan can and does affect our thoughts and even our emotions if we aren’t on guard. Situations in our homes, at our jobs, and even in the news can wear on us day after day. If allow it, the devil can create a stronghold, a pattern of unhealthy, frustrated thoughts that are contrary to the fruits of the Spirit of God. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says, “ For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”
From the moment I gave in to the spirit of frustration on that phone call, that spirit attached itself to me. I didn’t realize it until later, but a new agitation seemed to follow me for the next couple of days. I felt that same annoyed, frustrated feeling about a few situations that would never have caused me to lose my peace before. When I prayed a prayer of repentance asking God to bind the spirit and take it away from me, one of the very same situations just a few minutes later had me on an even keel.
Frustration’s Causes and Cures
Frustration can come from feelings of injustice or lack of control. The spirit of frustration comes straight from the enemy. When we give in to demonic pressure, we allow the devil to take hold of valuable ground in our hearts and lives. Instead, we must submit to God and resist the devil. We must ask God to help us keep His peace.
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