“The ancients tell us that, to develop spiritually, we must discover how to control ourselves in the face of what we claim to lack but have no right to expect. . . . To claim to be frustrated in the midst of life’s normalcies only defeats our desire to be a fully functioning human being. And, ironically, we do it to ourselves. And why would that be? The case is clear. Frustration is something that does not exist–except within the self. It translates my world to me through the filter of my own need to control it. . . . We call frustrating anything we want the world to confirm as justification for being unable to control the way we think. It’s what we use to explain the sour or pouty or demanding or manipulative attitudes we have developed. It is the right we assert to be less than we are capable of being. The paradox of delusion is that, if anything, the very act of putting trivia between us and the world is exactly a sign that we need to question what it is that is undermining our ability to function well in normal circumstances. When we allow the inconsequential to affect our ability to really be consequential in life, the question must be faced: What is really bothering us? . . . Frustration is the signal that, indeed, something does need to change in our lives. But no one else can change it for us. Only we have the power to name it and to change it within ourselves. . . . Then trivia becomes only trivia. We discover every day that there are greater things to concentrate on in life than the niggling, ordinary, commonplace little things we so often allow to fell us.” Joan Chittister
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
This is the first and greatest commandment.”
Matthew 22:37-28 NIV
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Have you stopped to really consider what is underneath your frustration?
- Is being frustrated all the time sabotaging your ability to become “a fully functioning human being?” . . . someone focused on what really does matter?
- Can you turn to the Great Physician just as you are (judgmental, controlling, angry, entitled, bitter) and present yourself as a person in need of divine help?
Abba, help me to see my frustration as the excuse that it (often) is.
For more: Between the Dark and the Daylight by Joan Chittister
Thanks for reading, following and sharing these Daily Riches. Look for my book this Fall, Wisdom From the Margins: Daily Readings for more of these “riches.”
Chittister, Joan. Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life. New York: Image, 2015.
A really thought-provoking post. Thank you for introducing me to John Chittester.
Your welcome Alexandra. She has many books. Every time I read her I find it worth my while. She’s wise, and loving and tells it like it is.