We all have those moments that make us lose our cool and question everything we know to be good in this world. I have noticed recently how easily I can get frustrated over some insignificant matter, resulting in my own sudden outburst of anger. In complete honesty, these outbursts commonly include some foul language along with a derogatory remark toward whoever or whatever was the instigator of the matter. I began to take notice of this problem in my own life after first noticing it coming from other people.
There's a certain unattractiveness to a personality that is quick to anger. As a Christian, I have heard the James 1:19 command of "be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" enough times it seems to go in one ear and out the other. Those three simple concepts, however, can save us from a world of hurt if we just make a point to recognize when we have the most problem with it. It's easy to get mad at everyday frustrations to the point of forgetting how we are supposed to be children of light, showing love to others. When we get mad at the frustrations of life, we can forget that God's love for us is far greater than the impact of these frustrations. So, here are my top 7 frustrations that I realize put a dimmer on the light I should be showing as a Christian.
1. That gossip you heard minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years ago.
Our world is full of gossip. Whether true or not, it can be frustrating to hear rumors going around about yourself or the people you care about. The important thing to remember is God knows us far better than any human. His love for us is not affected by the story going around about you. If you handle rumors with grace and humility, people can see that God's love is greater than that whacked out story about you.
2. A bad hair day
I'll be the first to admit that my hair game is not always on point. Days that begin with uncooperative hair can seem to run a down hill slide all the way through. Don't get me wrong, my appearance is not one of my top concerns in life, but there is something to the phrase "Look good; feel good." People in the secular world today will make their first judgments of us based on appearance. God, however, looks at the heart. God's love for you or me will not be affected by those lousy bad hair days, so let's not let those day's affect how we show God's love.
3. That person driving 20 in a 35
Life as a full time college student/ full time worker is busy; the last thing I need is to be slowed down by some person who's got nothing better to do than drive 20 miles per hour in front of me while I'm already late for work. Anytime this event arises, I can become quite the outraged driver. Road rage is definetly one easy way to turn someone off to the Christ like message we may be trying to send, especially if you've got one of those "Jesus fish" on your bumper. Patience is a virtue. Love is patient. Is getting to where we need to be when we want to be there really that much more important that being a safe and courteous driver?
4. A bad breakup
If you haven't gone through one, I both respect and envy you. If you have, I sympathize with the urge to gossip about, bad mouth, and even get even with whoever the stinker was that broke your heart. Relationships were created by God for good. When those relationships that we think are going to last forever end badly, it can be easy to blame not only the other person, but also God. God sees our every tear that falls and knows the plan He has for us. We are not chained to the doors that close in our lifes. Look to God for the love that is most needed in your life.
5. That bad grade you got from that teacher who is always out to get you
We've all had them, those teachers you just can't seem to please no matter how many hours you've poured into their classwork. It can become so easy to vent out our frustrations toward the way a teacher grades by attacking their personality as a whole. God wants us to respect our authorities, even if we disagree with them. The light that we are called to shine as followers of Christ should not be hidden by malice or disagreement with one teacher. The class will end. We will get through.
6. Terrible Customer Service
You're in a hurry. You're really hungry. You're running low on money for the week. Why not just run through the fast food drive thru and get something cheap? Of course it's times like this when you either have to wait in line a little longer than you had time for, get your food and it's cold and chewy, or end up driving away missing an item in your bag. Bad customer service can turn a good day bad and a bad day terrible. I know how easy it is to turn my focus for the rest of the day to remembering the bad service I had. The better thing to do would be to focus on what good I had accomplished in the day and can accomplish.
7. Terrible Customers
Working in fast food, I have countless stories of customers who have frustrated me to the point of saying things I should not have said. Some people are impossible to please or at least they seem to be. The people I work with know I am a Christian, so every outburst of anger I make reflects badly on my own Christian faith walk. God knows my frustrations and loves me through my anger. Coworkers see my frustration and question my love for others. I would rather reflect well of God's love than voice my frustrations to turn someone away from God.