Setting Frustration-Free Goals - Guidelines Devotional
Speaker: Dr. Harold J. Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living
"...Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13,14).
Frustration is no stranger to the child of God. Believers live in a world of broken pieces, and buses that are late, and budgets which will not balance, just the same as the man who is an atheist. Let's go back to the source of much of our frustration--goals that are not reached, accomplishments that are not realized, and expectations that are not met. The result: frustration.
For the believer, goals and objectives should rest upon the will of God, what he believes God wants him to accomplish. Bringing your goals and objectives into line with the will of God can eliminate much of your frustration.
Guideline #1: Reassess your goals. It may well be that you are trying to do something which God does not want you to do, and your frustration is the result of fighting against His gentle hand which stops you. Do not expect God to block everything you try to do that is wrong. Natural laws that are violated usually result in natural consequences. Prayer won't eliminate an unwanted pregnancy the morning after, or the hangover of an alcoholic binge. But sometimes our goals are wrong. Frustration should be a red flag that says, "Whoa! I need to reassess where I am headed."
Guideline #2: Remove the source of your frustration if you can. Obviously, it is not possible every time. But say, for example, you have an old car that keeps breaking down, and you keep thinking, "This time we will have it fixed right." Eventually there is a breaking point, and it may be you instead of your car. The problem with this guideline is that it seldom works with people. You cannot trade in your brother-in-law for a new model, so there has to be another alternative.
Guideline #3: Realize God is sovereign. At some point we need God's grace to accept what we cannot change. If you are God's child you must realize that He has the means of overriding your puny ambitions and giving you the grace to cope with frustration. If we could see life from God's perspective, how different things would be. In Ephesians 1:11 Paul says God "works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." Either you believe that and find peace, or struggle with frustration.
Guideline #4: Bring your frustration to the Lord and lay it at His feet. Paul did this as he asked the Lord to remove that thorn in the flesh--not once, or twice, but three times, and three times he did not get what he asked for. He got something better. "But he said to me, `My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9,10). We will never understand all the "whys" of life, but talking about them, knowing God cares, helps greatly.
Guideline #5: Overcome your frustration by laying hold of God's power to break through the enemy's territory. There can be a triumph that breaks through frustration. Paul wrote about it in 2 Corinthians 2:14 as he said, "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ..." This is why Paul and Silas could sing in prison with their backs raw and bleeding from the beating they had received. It was why John could rejoice from prison and see the vision of heaven's glory. Now we see through a glass darkly. With spiritual vision, we see beyond the frustration that whips so many. It is the ultimate solution.
Resource reading: Philippians 3:1-14