Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dealing with Frustration

We've seen the Duggar mom and June Cleaver. We've seen the super moms around us carting kids to and fro with a smile on their faces. (And their houses are always spotless!) We hear all the great and cool things that our friends do with their children. We see the smiles and happiness. And then we go home. Our children are screaming or throwing fits. The house is not clean. Dinner is not ready. Our feet are sore, our patience is thin. In our own strength, we work to manage the moment. And with any spare energy, we wistfully envy those other moms that seem to have it all together.

Is that you? Sometimes it's me. And lately, I've had quite a few conversations with ladies who feel the same way. Life just seems to be piling up and we feel as though we are a back seat driver. Our emotions no longer seem to be under our control. Our joy and happiness are compromised. And at times, our relationship with God feels non-existent. Where is a mom to go from here?

The Guilt and Envy Trap

As if on cue, we start feeling guilty. Then as that pours in, we start get jealous of the other moms. We try to dig deeper to keep up, but each attempt leaves us farther behind. Eventually, we feel as if the walls of our pit are crumbling around us. This leads to perpetual grumpiness, a huge sense of inadequacy, and low self esteem. But why? Why do we get caught on this ride over and over again? We have a better way.

The Better Way

So where do we go from here. How do we get off this roller coaster and stand on terra firma? The first thing that we as moms need to do is stop looking horizontally. That's right ladies. God did not make us the mom next door. He made us to be who He wanted us to be. We need to look up to our Almighty God find out who that is. He knows the number of hairs on our head. So how can this great God not know how to help us through the trying times of life?

First we need to confess our inadequacy to him. We need to confess our sins of guilt and envy and start looking towards an eternal solution. Opening up that line of honest communication with God is the most important step.

After that, pull out your bible. That's right. Time strapped as you are, nothing is more important than spending time reading the word. On top of that, God will use this time to provide you with encouragement and meaning for the days ahead. When I was going through a rough patch as a mom, God put it on my heart to read the book of Philippians. Why? Well, Paul is one amazing apostle. He had some very horrible things done to him. And even though the going was rough, he still praised God. He never let chains, beatings or imprisonments infringe upon the joy that God had placed in his heart.

In Philippians (NIV), Paul is reminding them to rejoice. He uses his own circumstances to relay a message of hope and joy in the Lord. Over and over again, uses the word "rejoice". Two verses the have spoken the most to me are Philippians 2:17-18 and Philippians 4:4-7. In both, Paul talks about his service to the Lord and reminds us to rejoice in it.

We are moms. Our service to the Lord is our family. During the bad days and good, we need to remember that God is with us and we must rejoice in Him first. When our children are out of control, when our husbands want more than we feel capable, when our house looks as though it should be condemned, we need to remember to first "Rejoice"! Then we need to step aside for a minute and confess that we are overwhelmed and ask God to guide us through. He is so faithful and will give us the strength.

Next, accept that you are who God made you to be. Instead of trying to fix everything, focus on one or two areas where you feel God is leading you to change. During this time, share those areas with your husband and a few close girlfriends. Have these folks pray for you in these specific areas. You may find that you have to cut out some other things that you have been doing. Pray for God's guidance in family life, work and even ministry to others. He may ask you to let some ministry areas go so that you may grow closer to him and to serving your family.

This process could take months to years. Just be patient! As you become grow in your relationship with God, these area will improve. As you successfully get one thing under control, ask God to show you the next. If you get frustrated, pray about it. If you are mad, pray. If you are having a bad day.

As all of this is going on, remember that God put fellow Christians in your path to help you through this. If you need help or just need to talk something out, utilize those around you. You are human! God tells us to fellowship with other Christians and he doesn't mean for you to do that only when you are in a good mood!

Finally, let me leave you with a few more verses from Philippians...

Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received, or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have leaned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:8-13

P.S. You will not be able to change overnight! Don't get discouraged. God is faithful and will help you be the person he wants you to be!

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