Support us on Paypal
Contact Us
Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - When We Feel Frustrated

Charles Stanley - When We Feel Frustrated

Charles Stanley - When We Feel Frustrated
TOPICS: The Source of My Strength, Frustrations, Stress

Sometimes without warning, you and I find ourselves stepping into a valley we didn't ask for and we can't do anything about. And oftentimes the instant response within us is frustration, something we cannot control, something we cannot change, something we can do absolutely nothing about. And I want to say to you today that walking in that valley, oftentimes, is a very frustrating situation. And sometimes we walk in it a long time, and then, all of a sudden, something happens. And I want to say to you today, before I preach this message, that I know what it means to be frustrated. I know what it means to feel helpless and not knowing which way to turn next. And then I can tell you today that something can happen in your heart that quietens your spirit, gives you a peace that passes all human understanding, gives you a joy that is absolutely unspeakable and you wonder how God can make your heart so peaceful when your circumstances have not changed.

That is the grace of God. And I want to tell you something else. In the midst of those times of frustration and anxiety we go through, one of God's primary goals is to unveil just how loving and sweet and kind and gentle and faithful and reliable and dependable He is. And I can say to you today that somewhere, back yonder, months ago, all that frustration left me, and there came a peace and a joy and a contentment that I cannot explain to you. Nor can I tell you how to get it. You know why I can't tell you how to get it? Because it's something that God gives. I can tell you, if you'll do a couple of things, that you will set yourself up for God to give you the greatest sense of contentment in the greatest turmoil of frustration.

Now, the title of this message today is, part of our series, "The Source of Our Strength: When Feeling Frustrated". And I want you to turn, if you will, to Isaiah chapter 14. Look, if you will, at this one verse. He says in verse 27, "For the Lord of hosts has planned, who can frustrate it"? That is, "Who can frustrate His plans"? "And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back"? So I want you to think about this for a moment. Who can move sovereignty? Here's a sovereign God who's in absolute control of all things. Who can move Him, shove Him, push Him? Who can pull Him and knock Him around?

If you are one of those believers who thinks and feels that you're a victim of the circumstances of other people or your circumstances, then you're going to live in frustration all your life, not knowing how to respond and what to do. But once you come to grips with who God really and truly is and begin to relate to Him on the basis of who He is, not, maybe, some erroneous thinking about Him, you'll be amazed at what happens to your life. Now, when I think about frustration, I used to think about it the way most people do until I began to realize there's a different way to think about frustration.

And let me explain what it is, first of all. Frustration is that feeling that I am being hindered, there's a barrier between me and what I want to accomplish or achieve, where I want to get, where I want to go to, something I want to accomplish over here. It may be in a relationship with someone. It may be something in your business. It may be something mechanical. In fact, you can feel frustrated about machinery, about persons, about your pet dog who won't come when you keep on calling him or you can feel frustrated about lots of things. But frustration says, "Something is holding me back. Something's clipped my wings. I can't do what I want to do". And so, we want to do it. We have a goal. We have a desire, and somehow, there's something there that keeps holding us back. Sometimes we know what it is, sometimes we do not.

Now, the first thing I think we need to look at is this: that frustration isn't an external thing. In other words, that person or that thing or this situation, circumstance can't frustrate me unless I allow it. So, frustration has its root on the inside of me, not on the outside. It is not something on the outside. Now, normally we want to look for somebody to blame, some circumstance that we want to change. "If I'da this or If I'da that, if that would change, he would change, she would change, this would change. If I had this, that, if this hadn't happened, if I felt this way, if I had good health". We can all think of a lot of things in life that we would like to change. But you see, frustration is not the result of all of that. Those things in life or persons or circumstances or situations trigger something that is already in us.

So, it's probably one of about three things. Sometimes it is the inability of a person to accept themselves the way God made them. For example, here's a person who says, "Well, you know, no matter what I do in life, I won't ever look any better". People are dissatisfied with the way they look, dissatisfied with their talents and their gifts in life. They look at other people and say, "Well, he can do that and she can do this and they can have that and she can have this. And those families can have these things and we can't. This is just my lot in life. I don't like it". And so, they live in a state of frustration, that somehow in life God's dealt them a bad deal and either He forgot something or He missed out, He doesn't love them as much. And so, they just live with this.

Friend, God never intended for you to live with that kind of frustration. He doesn't make any mistakes. He doesn't do everything the way you and I would do it. He doesn't do everything the way, what we want Him to do, but there is a level of frustration because I don't like my circumstance and I don't like the way I am. Well, there's a second reason I think there's a root cause of it, and that is the reluctance to deal with things in the past. And I think, in many people's lives, one of the primary sources, root causes of their level of frustration, whether it's low, medium, or high level of frustration is they won't deal with things in the past. It may be something back yonder in their childhood. It may be some mistake that they made, some sin that they committed, some real error in judgment that brought about a lot of heartache and suffering and pain.

And so what happens is they just haven't faced up with it. And so, they want to run from it. And so they're running all of their life, trying to run from something that happened years and years ago. Instead of dealing with it, they keep on running from it. Or maybe they can't even identify what it is. They just know that something back yonder is not right, and sometimes it's some parental relationship. Sometimes it's someone having to deal with a suicide of a friend, as we mentioned before. There are lots of things back there. So some people run. They ignore them. They deny them. They live in a state of denial. They just refuse to face it. Everybody else is wrong. There's something wrong with everybody else, but not me, of course.

And so, instead of facing up to something back there that has made a real, indelible impression upon them, instead of facing up to it, they just sort of live with it. And so, the easiest thing to do is to blame him, her, it, to blame circumstance, "If I had this, if I had that". Instead of dealing with the past, that's what they do. Well, that doesn't work either. A third root cause of frustration is our refusal to deal with what we know is not the will of God for our life at the present time. It's one thing to be frustrated over how we think God made us, about what's happened in the past, but what are the present thing? And there are many people who live in a state of frustration because they won't deal with a present day attitude or habit in their life.

You see, if a person is bitter or resentful or hostile or unforgiving, it doesn't make any difference what you do, you will never, never, never escape frustration. Because, first of all, God's not going to allow you to do it. And secondly, a bitter spirit, resentful hostility and anger, an un-Christlike spirit, an ungodly spirit towards someone else is going to create frustration because you're always having to do what? Defend yourself. Prove that they're wrong, you're right, they are wrong, you're right, they're wrong, you're right, they're wrong every time you see them. Or if it's some situation or maybe it's geographically, whatever it might be. And so people do all kind of things.

And here's what's happening. There are multitudes of people, people who sit in church Sunday after Sunday who come to church uptight, who stay there uptight, who leave uptight, who go home and live all week long uptight, and come back next week uptight. They've heard the gospel. They say, "Yes, I do believe. Yes. Oh, I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I even believe the maps. I believe it all. I believe every part of it". And yet, what are they doing? They are living just like this... They're frustrated with life. Well, what would you change? "Well, I'd change several things". Well, like what? "Well, I'd change where I live, what I drive, what I wear. I'd change my geographical location. I'd change my kids. If my kids would just change. I'd change my finances. And a lot of things I'd change". Then what? "Well, then I'd be happy". Oh, is that right? "Yeah".

You know what happens? That doesn't make you happy. Because happiness is not the result of circumstances. Happiness is the result of the condition of the heart. There are people who have nothing who are far happier than people who have everything. There are people who are known by almost no one who are happier than people who are known by everyone. You can name any and every circumstance in life, none of those things have to do with happiness and peace and joy. And so what happens? After a while they get frustrated and they continue to be frustrated and they think, "Well, must be something wrong with me". So, one form of frustration that is the result of our own doings is very exhausting, penalizing, and very, oftentimes, costly in many ways of our life. But then I'm grateful that I don't have to stop there to say that there's another form of frustration that is exciting.

You say, "Well, how in the world can anything that treats you like that be exciting"? Well, just listen. Because there is a form of it that is exciting. I want you to look back at this twenty seventh verse for a moment. I just want us to read it again and I want us to read it several times, but look at this. He says, "For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched out hand, who can turn it back"? Now, what he's referring to here in this passage is the Assyrians were going to attack Israel, and they, later on in this book, surrounded the city of Jerusalem. And I mean, they absolutely didn't have a ghost of a chance of survival. Next morning, Israelites woke up. What happened? Thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of dead Assyrians. God took care of them during the night.

What does he say in this passage? "The Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand," he says, "who can turn it back"? Now, there are periods of frustration in our life that have nothing to do with sin or mistakes, necessarily. And so, there is a difference in that kind of frustration and the kind we've been talking about. And here's what you'll discover when you notice that. First of all, it'll be a frustration that you don't feel driven to prove something. You are not blaming someone. You can't put your finger on a circumstance that you really think, "If I change that, everything'll be different".

And so, that frustration, oftentimes, comes instantly, without any warning. Sometimes it comes as a process over a period of time. And somehow you cannot identify its cause. You see, most of the time when it's something that's a result of something inside of us that's going on that we are responsible for, man, we've got a whole lot of things we can put our finger on. But when it's God's frustration, you can't put your finger on it. You look around and you say, "Well, no, it's not that. It's not him. It's not her. It's not them. It's not these things. It's not what I don't have. It's not what I have". And what you discover is this: once you make the move that God has in mind for you, what happens is the frustration's over. It's gone! It just disappears.

Now, what we have to ask is this, and that is, what is God's purpose? Why would He frustrate us? That is, why would He suddenly put up a little barrier, won't let us move? Why does He sort of stop us? Why will He not let things keep moving? Because He's got something in mind. Now, one of His primary purposes is to bring us to a deeper relationship with Him in our character. So what does He do? He begins this frustration. Let me explain sort of a little bit how it works, and then we'll talk about some examples of it. There's this sense of restlessness that comes. And you feel a little frustrated. "Well, I, you know, I don't know what's going on". You can't put your finger on it. As I say, you can't blame, nothing, you can't identify.

And so you think, "What's going on"? One of the purposes that God begins to bring about frustration and this restlessness within us, He wants to get our attention about something about our life. It's probably something that you and I never thought about, never considered, never gave it any thought. And so we think, "Well, you know, I must be sick. Give me a couple of Bufferin. I mean, do something". And what it is, it is a restlessness that you can't put your finger on. You just feel it. Now, if you're one of those persons who runs to the prescription bottle every time you have a bad feeling, you're going to be in real trouble. And the trouble is you're going to miss God because, oftentimes, He sends restlessness to bring us to focus.

Now, listen. Think about this now. If it is something that you and I have not thought about, most of the time God doesn't say, "There it is". But He brings this restlessness, this sense of frustration. God, you know, what's happening? Little by little, He begins to move us in His direction. And it is a time. It is a process that goes on within us. Now, if I'm unwilling or if I don't realize how God operates, I will find some reason to run or to ignore or to misinterpret what's happening. And I'll give credit to my physical body or to someone else or something. I'll find something to blame it on. But what I want you to see is that some frustration is divinely sent. And His purpose is to deal with an area we have not thought about dealing with before. And so, it takes time to listen.

Well, I remember, the first time this ever became a reality to me, my wife and I had finished two years of seminary. We're finishing up the second year and we were going to Fresno, California to preach, and I was going to preach that summer and she was going to sing. That was going to give us some experience, and I'd never been a pastor except one summer. And so, she was going to lead the choir in this little church, didn't have a pastor. And so, we're just gonna go out there and fill in for three months. Man, we had it all worked up and everything was just fine. I can remember just like it were today.

Saturday morning, I got up early that morning, began to pray, and all of a sudden, with no warning, I remember how frustrated I felt. I thought, "What's going on"? It's like I was churning. Nothing was wrong. School was about out. Grades were fine. She was doing fine. Our relationship was absolutely wonderful, blissful. I thought, "What's going on, God"? I couldn't find anything to blame anything on. I thought, "Uh-oh, what's going on"? So, when she finally got up and I said, "I want us to pray, something's not right". She said, "Well, what is it"? I said, "Well, I don't know, but let", and we hadn't been married very long, and so, when I'd come up with something like that, she didn't quite understand that. So I said, "Well, I don't know what it is, but I'm telling you, we've got to find out".

Did you know we prayed all morning? We prayed around six o'clock in the evening, all day long. About that time we concluded, those were our plans. They weren't God's plans. Now, suppose I'd have gotten up and felt bad and I said, "I need to go out and walk or eat a big breakfast or take a Bufferin or something". In other words, "Let's just go do something"? You know what we'd have missed? We'd have missed the will of God, that's what we'd have missed. We'd have missed the will of God desperately. And let me show you how we'd have missed it. We'd have missed it all the way around because, surprisingly to us, and it was such a wonderful thing that... then we had to fight, "God, You couldn't be saying this. That sounds too good and too easy".

That was me. We ended up spending three months up at Lake Lure in North Carolina, taking it easy, if you can imagine that. You say, "Well, that doesn't sound very spiritual". I know it doesn't. But you see, that's the flesh. That's where God wanted us because about the last week we were up there, out on the lake fishing, this man came down and he called me. He says, "Your name Charles Stanley"? I said, "Yeah," he said, "Are you are a seminary student"? I said, "yeah," he said, "Well, I want to talk to you". Came over, he said, "Pastor's going to be gone two weeks. Will you preach in our church"? I said, "Why, sure".

So, to make a long story short, I preached up there. They called me. I was pastor of that church and taught in a Bible institute. But suppose we'd have said, "Nope. We're going to Fresno no matter what. That's what God said. We're going"? I'd have been out of the will of God. And I can look back and see how, step by step, in my life began... If I'd have made that mistake, I would never have gotten to Fruitland. I'd have never have gotten to these places I've been in life for the simple reason it wouldn't have worked out that way. The people, the person I would never have met that finally brought me to Miami, Bartow, all those places. It was the fact that God frustrated me so badly that morning, I couldn't do a thing but stay on my face until I found out what He was talking about.

Now, you say, "Well, I'm not a pastor". It has nothing to do with being a pastor. It has to do with what is the will of God for your life? Listen, He loves you just as much He loves me, and He's just as interested in your job, in your family, in your work, in your children and your things and your goals and your ideals in life as He is me or anyone else! All He wants is when He starts rustling up your nest and getting you frustrated, instead of blaming, looking somewhere else, first of all, look inside and ask God, is there something He wants to deal with? And secondly, look to Him and say, "Lord, are You trying to say something to me"?

Listen, at least give Him a chance! Don't go running off somewhere or blaming someone else or trying to change your circumstance. It may be that God is just loving you. And you see, every single time God has ever moved my life in either what I believe or where I was, it has always been to my great, great, great benefit. You know why? Because He's a loving Father! He's not going to act any other way than love. That's the only way God knows how to act.

You say, "What about His wrath"? Even in His wrath, What is He doing? He's expressing love. Because if He didn't condemn and judge sin, all of us would be so reckless, we wouldn't be fit to live with. And so what does He do? That's an expression of His love. It's a warning to us. And so, when you think about how He works, and He says in this passage, "The Lord of hosts has planned, who can frustrate Him? His outstretched hand, who can turn it back"? Listen to me, God is so in control of your life and my life, we don't have to worry about what, listen, we don't have to worry about what people do to us or circumstances. We belong to Him.

If we are listening to Him and He sends these frustrations into our life, don't look to somebody to blame. Look to Him and say, "God, are You trying to say something to me? Do You want to change something about my thinking, my attitude, my actions, my habits? Do You want to change where I am, what I'm doing? Do You want to change my major? Do You want to change my occupation? Do You want to change my vocation? What are You doing, God"? He loves that. You know what'll happen? That frustration will turn into the most wonderful excitement that you know that God is up to something. Now, there are two things. Sometimes it's a process, and the process, sometimes, is sort of prolonged.

You think, "God, what are You waiting for? Come on. Just let me have it. Tell me what it is". No, He's got His own timetable. And then, sometimes you know you're getting close. You know you're getting close, but you know what? You can't make Him, and this is hard for me to accept sometimes. You, listen, you can't make Him tell you one second quicker than He intends to. Now, listen to me carefully. More times than not, what He's trying to do is going to hit you when you're not even thinking about anything like it! All of a sudden, there it is.

You think, "Well, where did that come from"? It came from that long process of listening, waiting, sifting, sanding, working, frustration, anxiety, having pity parties, and all the other things that we do in the process of having God speak to us. Now, you say, "Okay, I got you. What do I have to do to make all this a reality"? And I want you to listen very, very carefully because this is the end. No matter what's happening, I need to acknowledge this, "Father, I may not be worth two cents in my own thinking. I may be so messed up and so much sin in my life and I've been so fouled up, God". Maybe feel that way. "Lord, I know You love me anyway".

I have to, listen, if you don't begin with acknowledging God's love, it's not going to work. Now, listen to me! "God, I know you love me. I don't feel very lovable. I don't think I love You very much, not according to my actions and habits and, God, but I know You love me". Secondly, "I'm going to trust You". Now, listen to this. He's a sovereign God, has all power. He knows all of my weaknesses and frailties. He knows exactly where He wants to get me and how to get me there. "I don't understand what's going on, God, if there's something You're changing about me, something... You want to change direction, I'm going to trust You. I'm going to have to trust You. I can't do this for myself".

Trusting Him means that I am just depending and relying and surrendering myself to Him to do in me and for me and through me and to me whatever He chooses because He has the power to do it. He can change anything about me He wants to change. He can put me somewhere I could never put myself. That's why I don't underestimate God. Don't say, "Oh, I could never do that". Don't underestimate Him. You know what it is? It's coming to the conclusion that this wonderful, loving Father loves you and me with all of His heart. And secondly, all He wants me to do is to trust Him. And if I trust Him, I'll just surrender my life to Him and just say, "Lord, here I am. You just do whatever You want to do".

Now, listen to me. I don't care what you're going through. I don't care how deep, dark, frustrating, how much turmoil, heartache, suffering, I don't care what you're going through, I can tell you with all of my heart, once you acknowledge His wonderful, fatherly love for you and you say, "Lord, because I know You're a wonderful, loving Father who's always doing the right thing and the good thing, I'm just going to trust You," here's what happens: the frustration disappears. The peace rolls in. The quietness of your spirit overwhelms you. There is a joy, there is a sense of contentment, there is a sense of absolute peace because you know what?

You know that God is going to shelter you in every storm, He's going to be your shield from every attack, He's going to be your wisdom for all decisions. He's going to be everything you need no matter what. And, in His wisdom, He knows what He needs to change. And so, if I just say, "You're free to change anything about me You want to change". I can tell you this with of my heart I wish I knew how to tell you, you wouldn't swap the change for anything you have ever done for yourself. That's the kind of God He is. So all frustration's not bad. The key is that I look to Him, trust Him, and surrender to His will and His way and whatever He sends and know in my heart it's going to turn out for my good no matter what. You know why? Because who can frustrate God? Nobody.
Are you Human?:*