Daily Riches: Frustration as Self-Sabotage (John Chittister)

“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.”

Sources:

Chittister, Joan. Between the Dark and the Daylight: Embracing the Contradictions of Life. New York: Image, 2015.

Daily Riches: The Antitoxin of Gratitude (Wayne Muller, Matthew Henry and John Henry Jowett)

 “Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.” John Henry Jowett

“A ‘successful’ life has become a violent enterprise. We make war on our bodies, pushing them beyond their limits; war on our children, because we cannot find enough time to be with them when they are hurt or afraid, and need our company; war on our spirit, because we are too preoccupied to listen to the quiet voices that seek to nourish and refresh us; war on our communities, because we are fearfully protecting what we have, and do not feel safe enough to be kind and generous; war on earth, because we cannot take time to place our feet on the ground and allow it to feed us, to taste its blessing and gave thanks.” Wayne Muller

“Let me be thankful;
first, because I was never robbed before;
second, although he took my purse, he did not take my life;
third, although he took all I possessed, it was not much;
fourth, it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed.”
Matthew Henry, in his diary

“And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Colossians 3:17

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Think about the relationship you have with your body, your children, your soul, your community – and with the earth. How does thankfulness inform these relationships?
  • Reread the words of Mathew Henry. Can you imagine yourself in that very situation, and then ask God to “let” you be similarly thankful?
  • Must you come to the end of your rope, your strength, and yourself before you remember to call out to God? …to think about giving thanks to God?

“Heavenly Father, when I come to the end of my rope, my strength, myself, I’m finally open to the help you offer. Teach me then, God, the basics of prayer, like ‘help’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’. In the name of Jesus, amen.”  The Heidelberg Catechism

For More: Breathe: Creating Space for God in a Hectic Life by Keri Wyatt Kent

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: The Transfiguration of Ordinary Things (Thomas Merton, Philip Yancey and Kathleen Norris)

“Asceticism …is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person.” Kathleen Norris

“Under [G. K. Chesterton’s] influence I too realized the need to become more ‘ordinary.’ I had conceived of faith as a tight-lipped, grim exercise of spiritual discipline, a blending of asceticism and rationalism in which joy leaked away. Chesterton restored to me a thirst for the exuberance that flows from a link to the God who dreamed up all the things that give me pleasure.” Philip Yancy

“Asceticism is utterly useless if it turns us into freaks. The cornerstone of all asceticism is humility, and Christian humility is first of all a matter of supernatural common sense. It teaches us to take ourselves as we are, instead of pretending (as pride would have us imagine) that we are something better than we are. Pride makes us artificial, humility makes us real. In II Thessalonians 3, work and supernatural acceptance of ordinary life are seen by the Apostle as a protection against the restless agitation of false mysticism. We are to work and live in simplicity, with more joy and greater security than others, because we do not look for any special fulfillment in this life. We are to live in peace among transient things. It is supreme humility to see that ordinary life, embraced by perfect faith, can be more saintly and more supernatural than a spectacular ascetical career. Such humility dares to be ordinary, and that is something beyond the reach of spiritual pride. Pride always longs to be unusual. Humility not so. Humility finds all its peace in hope, knowing that Christ must come again to elevate and transfigure ordinary things and fill them with his glory.” Thomas Merton

“clothe yourselves with humility”
1 Peter 5:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you willing to “surrender yourself to reduced circumstances” (choose to do without certain things) in order to enhance your life?
  • Are you able, at the same time, to experience “exuberance” for the things “God dreamed up” to bring you pleasure?
  • Is your desire to be noticed, exceptional, applauded – is that something God also wants for you? Will you “dare to be ordinary” if that’s what God wants? Can you even imagine why God would want such a thing?

As you see fit Lord, I would be as unspectacular and ordinary as necessary for the revelation of your glory.

For More: No Man Is An Island by Thomas Merton

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: The Difference Between Thinking and Praying (Donald McCullough, William O’Malley, and John Donne)

“I don’t understand why God loves me – or anyone else, for that matter. But does a minnow have to understand the ocean to swim in it? Does a goose have to understand his instinctive urges to fly south in winter before taking flight? Does a hawk understand the physics of hot air rising to soar atop the currents? Do I really need to understand the height and breadth and depth of God’s love to throw myself upon it? Authentic spirituality, it seems to me, does not depend on understanding everything about ourselves and God and then using that knowledge to hoist ourselves to a higher level of experience and achievement. …Authentic spirituality confidently assumes that God is up to something good, going ahead of us, calling us, embracing us, and it seeks simply to participate and delight in this.”  Donald McCullough

“Prayer begins with being connected to God. One way I find helpful to remind myself of the ever-present God is to say over and over again, ‘God, my great friend, … somehow you’re alive in me.’ At times, I am sure, you will need nothing more than that. But the essential difference between thinking and praying is the conscious ‘connection.’ The goal of these prayers is connecting with and resting in God, not trying to learn anything or to make ‘progress in the spiritual life.’  Remember, God will lead us as God will, and God’s faithfulness, goodness, and love for us are infinite.” William O’Malley

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love
may … grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
and know this love that surpasses knowledge….”
Ephesians 3:18,19

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are you striving to know more about God? What can you do to make sure learning more leads to loving more, growing more, and changing more – to new practices rather than just new convictions?
  • Are your prayers routinely characterized by “connecting with and resting in God”, even when they’re filled with petitions?
  • Do you assume “God is up to something good,” going ahead of you, calling you?
  • Do you experience God’s love mostly as fact or feeling? Does it “surpass knowledge?”

Abba, take me to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
John Donne

For More: Daily Prayers for Busy People by William J. O’Malley

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

Daily Riches: When You Don’t Need Spiritual Disciplines (John Ortberg, Dallas Willard and Anthony de Mello)

“The master was asked, ‘What is spirituality?’

He said, ‘Spirituality is that which succeeds
in bringing one to inner transformation.’
‘But if I apply the traditional methods handed
down by the masters, is that not spirituality?’
‘It is not spirituality if it does not perform
its function for you. A blanket is no longer a
blanket if it does not keep you warm.’
‘So spirituality does change?’
‘People change and needs change. So what was
spirituality once is spirituality no more. What
generally goes under the name of spirituality
is merely the record of past methods.’
Anthony de Mello

 “A disciplined person is not simply someone who exercises many disciplines. …Disciplined people can do what is called for at any given moment. They can do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason. This definition applies to artists and athletes and astronauts as well as to followers of Jesus. A disciplined follower of Jesus – a ‘disciple’ – is not someone who has ‘mastered the disciplines’ and never misses a daily regimen of spiritual exercises. A disciplined follower of Jesus is someone who discerns when laughter, gentleness, silence, healing words, or prophetic indignation is called for, and offers it promptly, effectively, and lovingly.” John Ortberg

“The aim and substance of spiritual life is not fasting, prayer, hymn singing, frugal living, and so forth. …People who think that they are spiritually superior because they make practice of a discipline such as fasting or silence or frugality are entirely missing the point. The need for extensive practice of a given discipline is an indication of our weakness, not our strength. …the true indicator of spiritual well-being is growth in the ability to love God and people. If we can do this without the practice of any particular spiritual disciplines, then we should by all means skip them.” Dallas Willard

“I discipline my body like an athlete,
training it to do what it should.”
1 Corinthians 9:27

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you practice spiritual disciplines? Why or why not?
  • Do you often “do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason?”
  • How are you doing at “loving God and people?”

Abba, help me do the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason.

For More:  The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard

_________________________________________________

These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”