Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Frustration and Melancholy

I’m quite clear that not all the blog entries on this blog are great. Maybe not even good. Perhaps there are one or two that would be considered sub-standard, not really all that interesting or missing something somewhere. What keeps me blogging though is the discipline of getting the thing done from my head and/or my heart and put it out and motivate further thoughts for future blogs or at least keep the rhythm of thinking to write going. Sometimes it inspires me to consider day to day issues and connect to others and see where it goes.

Today for example two streams of thought ran through the day almost concurrently but one flow was in greater ebb at the beginning of the day than the end, and the other was rising towards the end of the day although had connections to the beginning.

This morning I was frustrated. I didn’t help it. I rather wallowed in it and were it not for the book I was reading on my way to work and subsequent distractions of work and the like, I would have reasoned myself into self-pity and a justified morose attitude. I flung myself in a huff to myself at the sense of injustice that caused the source of frustration. Sadly for the frustration, however, then I got a good word that was actually linked to something that nagged me about the frustration.

The good word was that frustration is an expression of anger. As I pondered on that further and the negative connotations of that it began to make sense. After all it is not in my experience that frustration has been associated with godly character and conduct. Usual bed-fellows of frustration include annoyance, irritation, impatience and pent up anger as well as that sense of injustice.

Digging further behind the reasons for frustration I also saw that frustration is something that comes along when a much desired outcome has been postponed – I can’t have something perhaps, or there’s been an issue that prevents some situation from taking place. Either way, my sense of control and passion to have things my way has been thwarted and that is not to the liking of my ego. Now I can mask it, perhaps divert energies elsewhere, but it still resides in my system unless it is resolved properly and I get over it, or I do something I regret. As far as I’m aware today I didn’t do something I regret, but that was only because of that good word that reminded me of where frustration really comes from.

What’s worse, though, is that there is something about frustration that makes a claim on who the most important person in my life is. I can hardly claim to love Jesus wholeheartedly when my reaction to plans thwarted is to throw my dummies away, get upset and refuse to co-operate with life as I should. That is a clear contradiction. That is to say frustration is an obstacle to real worship of God and a healthy relationship with Him. Obstacles to healthy relationship with God are a problem.

By deduction then, frustration is not really a God thing. After all, how can God get frustrated when He knows His plans will work out anyway? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure God expresses feelings throughout scripture – that’s clear. For all of that, however, there is an element in which He knows His plans are never thwarted and the place of frustration is never needed if full confident faith is placed in Him like a child entrusts herself to her father. So frustration at times can be an expression of missing the focus of faith.

Of course this kind of learning can be on the surface of the mind without being embedded in the heart and I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn this and allow the Spirit to embed it deep into my persona as my place of trust for Him.

Oh and about the melancholy. On this score I heartily approve of seasons in life where melancholy is present. I don’t condone a life lived in melancholy, I don’t even see the value of extending a season of melancholy beyond its time, but I do believe that melancholy should be digested from time to time. I find melancholy can often be a good way of reflecting and contemplating how changes in life necessarily upsets the previously known order of things and can often require the departure of familiar friends – even if those friends are regular routines and habits.

Departures and goodbyes should be treated seriously, just as there should be joy and thanksgiving for whatever benefits have been received, so there should be that sense of loss that will happen as a result of the departure. That’s why we don’t dwell on melancholy we don’t want to get things out of perspective, but it’s exactly the desire to get things in perspective that should allow us to spend some time walking through with God in the attic of past things.

And on that note I must extend thanks for your time In reading these jaunts, it’s been a pleasure blogging for you.

For His Name's Sake



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