Have you ever had a pesky little annoyance creep into your heart and cause frustration, only to scroll social media a few minutes later and see a good friend’s post about a difficult trial or struggle she’s facing?
I let the small stuff dredge up petty negativity while my friend is going through a tough time.
The grip of conviction hurts. But instead of taking this correction as an opportunity to grow and change my habits, I simply turn the frustration inward.
I become frustrated with myself.
Thoughts like, “I should know better,” and “I’m a terrible person. I should be more thankful,” come to mind. I feel guilty. It’s not that I want to be frustrated with myself, but sometimes I question how someone who reads the Bible, prays, and studies God’s Word can mess up over and over.
Paul felt the same way.
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me….” Romans 7:21-23 NLT
But then in verse 25, Paul goes on to reveal this.
God gave us a sound mind, but our sinful nature is constantly at odds with the love of Jesus in our hearts and the peace of the Holy Spirit. That’s why as believers it is so important to pray continuously, read the Truth in God’s Word, and “meditate on it day and night.” (Joshua 1:8)
God’s Word tells us He corrects those He loves. (Hebrews 12:6) Knowing we will make mistakes and staying in constant awareness of God’s presence helps us to be open to correction. So those moments of conviction can draw us into a deeper gratitude for God’s goodness.
God doesn’t want me to dwell on my missteps, and He definitely does not want me to be frustrated with myself. These three words will help me overcome frustration with myself and move forward in Christ.
1. Awareness - Be aware of the Holy Spirit’s nudges when frustration threatens again.
2. Forgiveness - Ask God to forgive me instead of turning the frustration toward me.
3. Gentleness - Move forward with a more gentle spirit toward others and myself.
Awareness. Forgiveness. Gentleness. If you’re experiencing frustration today, whether it’s with your circumstances or with yourself, let these three words calm the war in your mind. God will “renew a right spirit within you” as frustration releases its grip. And what a beautiful spirit it is:)