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Posts Tagged ‘dealing with frustration’

I sat there waiting, the talk I was about to give clutched in my hands. I had known there would be a business session first, followed by morning tea. Then, as guest speaker, I was to address everyone physically present, as well as those joining in via Zoom from home. My husband and I had arrived early to set up my book table and check in with the person in charge of technology, with whom we had already liaised via email, text and Zoom, but I was still nervous. What if I could not share all those power point slides during my talk? What if our Zoom connection via my mobile phone did not work?

As the meeting began, my heart sank. The first speaker seemed to have no idea how to use Zoom—or the microphone right in front of him. Only the top of his head was visible on the screen showing us all what those at home could see, while the microphone obscured the rest of his face. And he spoke so softly, it was hard to hear him. The technology expert seemed busy with other things and took ages to act. And as I watched, I became more and more anxious.

But worse was to come. As one particular person approached the microphone, the slide presentation he needed to show could not be found. A frustrating fifteen-minute wait ensued, until it was eventually located. But this episode did little to inspire me with confidence.

A string of people then came to promote upcoming events, but they all moved so slowly and took so long to share what needed to be shared—and much more too! I stared at my watch and saw those precious minutes ticking away, shortening the time available for me to speak.

Just then, my husband noticed my anxiety and leaned over to me.

‘Relax,’ he told me. ‘God’s in charge!’

At first, I felt angry. How could I possibly relax, when these people seemed unaware how time was slipping away? And how could I shorten my talk, yet still say what I needed to say? But then I took a deep breath and tried to focus on God. Yes, I could not deny God was right there with me and was indeed in charge. I had prayed about the morning and I had also invited my prayer team to pray for me as I spoke. In this moment, I needed to trust God and simply do my best in the time I was given to share from my heart.

At last, the moment came. All our technology worked perfectly and everyone could hear and see me. I left out certain parts and finished exactly when I was supposed to, to my great relief. And afterwards, there was even time for some book sales and several interesting conversations with people.

Yes, God was there, in the midst of the chaos and failures and anxiety. And God is right there now too for us all, whatever is happening in our lives, walking through each moment with us. God knows. God cares. Our God is sufficient—always.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NLT

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I’m not so good at waiting, I’ve discovered. How about you? I want this or that now. And I’m definitely not so good at living in the moment—at noticing what I have today and appreciating this particular point in time rather than feeling frustrated as I look ahead to a time that is not yet here.

I’ve discovered this with a vengeance this past week. I have been unable to do many things I normally do because of a severe lower back problem. Instead, I have had to lie down most of the time and simply wait for my specialist appointment and that operation planned for this week. Now I imagine this period of my life wouldn’t have seemed so long, except that I am in some pain. Anyway, I should be used to waiting. That is part and parcel of a writer’s life—waiting for feedback on a manuscript, waiting to find a publisher, waiting until that book is finally released. But I must confess I have become a tad impatient at times, even with those around me, sad to say, who have only been trying to help.

Then one day, I read a sobering account in Luke 19:41-44 about something that happened as Jesus was heading for Jerusalem, knowing he would die there:

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and your children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

What sad, sad words! How clearly they show the depth of Jesus’ love for the people and for us. But it was his few, final, desolate words that spoke to me most. To me, they encapsulate Jesus’ deep grief that the people had missed their opportunity to know God. But they also spoke to me personally on a different level. In my frustration at having to wait this past little while and not be doing the things I want to do, was I missing something God wanted to teach me? Was I too not recognising the time of God’s coming to me?

I stopped then and reflected. I prayed and acknowledged God’s presence with me and in me. I stepped back into God, as it were, began to see things from a far different perspective—and soon realised how blessed I am. I have loving, caring, prayerful family and friends around me. I have a specialist I can access easily and a hospital I can go to. I have pain medication and a comfortable bed. But beyond all that, there are things God wants to teach me in this time—and I am so humbled. I don’t want to miss this moment in my life that may never come again. So right now, I am all eyes and ears to see and hear those reminders and revelations from our loving God.

How about you? Are you all eyes and ears too?

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