Five Steps for Handling Frustration

by Todd Shupe

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). 

We all have experienced frustration.   Sometimes we are frustrated with ourselves and sometimes with others, including God.  Our frustrations present an opportunity to either deepen our relationships with others or divide us.  Regardless of the nature of our frustration, our response will determine if good fruit comes from the situation. 

Here are five simple steps for dealing with frustrations.

Did I cause it? The Bible says, “A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). We are often frustrated by things in life because we bring them on ourselves.   If the “sowing” is accidental, the “reaping” may seem too harsh.  However, if we accidently strike our thumb with a hammer is the pain any different than if we did it intentionally?

What can I learn?  There is a lesson to be learned in all circumstances.  Romans 8:28 teaches, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  There are far too many bad things and evil people in the world, but we can take comfort that all things work together. God can even take the negative and turn it into a positive.  The key is we need to trust Him and wait patiently for Him.

Thank God.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 we learn, “Give thanks in all circumstances.” You don’t have to be thankful for a bad situation, but you can be thankful in a bad situation.  Frustration may be a blessing in disguise.  The Apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh and pleaded three times to God to remove it.  “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” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Focus on the good.  Our mental health greatly influences our spiritual and physical health.  This is likely the reason that we are encouraged in Philippians 4:8 to properly focus our thoughts.  “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  It is not easy to laugh in difficult times, but whenever possible we should do so because “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).

Ask God to bless you with His love.  One of the most common Scripture readings at a Christian marriage is 1 Corinthians 13 because it defines love.  1 Corinthians 13:5 teaches, “[Love] is not easily angered.”   Love is self-giving, not self-serving.   Love honors the other person.  We tend to get so busy with our daily lives that we neglect to nurture our existing relationships or grow new relationships.  A Christian life is one lived in relationship with God and His people. 

Prayer:  Dear God help us to view others with the same love that you view us.  Amen.

About the Author:  

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and wood science.  Shupe worked as a  professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the Secretary of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, Database Coordinator for Gulf South Men, and volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, Iron Sharpens Iron, Open Air Ministries, HOPE Ministries food pantry. Todd is currently preparing to be a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men.