Not sure about your household, but for ours this has been the toughest week yet since the pandemic came knocking. By God’s grace, we’re still managing, but our patience with the situation (and with each other) is starting to get a little thin if you know what I mean.
Right now we seem to be more vulnerable to frustration and discouragement brought on by these unusual circumstances. As the weeks pass by and we still lack a clear projection or a timeline, it naturally causes some angst way down in our core. For us this causes pressure to build and eventually it comes out in one way or another. Sometimes this can get a little messy and there’s some clean-up involved afterwards.
If you happen to be dealing with the onset of discouragement and/or frustration related to our surrounding circumstances, here are three practical things you can do that will help:
1. Pray authentically. I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the most empowering things that can happen in our prayer lives is when we realize that we have the freedom to speak candidly to God about whatever we’re thinking or feeling, even it isn’t real nice. David, the author of many of the Psalms, was a pro at this. Often, before David was ready to praise God, he first had to clear his heart out by practicing a form of prayer called lament. Many Christians aren’t aware that lament is still a perfectly acceptable and highly therapeutic way of approaching God. To lament is to simply tell God where you’re hurting.
2. Fight wisely. Our adversary is a master of the ambush. He knows when our guard is down, either because we’re exhausted or we’re just not paying attention, and he takes full advantage. And one of his slickest moves is to play us against each other. But we’d be wise to remember that our fight is not with one another:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” -Ephesians 6:12
Hey, let’s not get suckered into the wrong fight. We’re allies, on the same team, fighting the relentless antagonist of our souls in the victorious name of Jesus.
3. Love patiently. As we start getting on each other’s nerves a little more than usual, it might be helpful to remember that “Love is patient, love is kind…” (I Corinthians 13:4). We are most like God when we hang in there with each other on the good days and bad, when we’re getting it right and when we’re getting it all wrong. So he or she blew it? Like God does with us, let’s give them another chance.
To review, we said to: pray authentically, fight wisely, and love patiently.
Friend, if you’ve noticed an increased sense of discouragement or frustration lately, you have company. It isn’t just you. I leave you with these inspired words from the Apostle Paul:
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” -I Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.