When Dealing with Frustration

Sometimes life puts you in a funk.

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If this picture doesn’t just scream frustration…only thing worse than ruining your hairdo in your sweater is putting fitted sheets on a bed. Oh, or trying to stuff the air mattress back in the bag. Am I right?

Perhaps you’ve been feeling unappreciated or listless.

Maybe things haven’t been coming together for you, despite your best efforts.

Or, you may have found yourself in a season of waiting, where try as you might, you can’t control a darn thing.

You’re frustrated.

Frustration is one of my least favorite feelings in life (…Besides the feeling of being itchy. That one takes the cake.). And one of the most annoying facets of that feeling is that it often leads to other undesirable feelings, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Self-doubt
  • Doubt in God and others who love you
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Jealousy

It’s a real problem. And to be honest, it’s one that’s plaguing me right now.

For me, frustration typically manifests from one specific arena, but then touches every other aspect of my life in numerous ways. For example, maybe the main frustration is work. But then, because you’re feeling some (if not all) of the feelings listed above, you start feeling frustrated by your significant other, by that thing so-and-so posted, by the humidity…the list can go on and on. Frustration has a ripple effect and, if you’re not careful, it can penetrate every aspect of your life.

So, how does one tame the frustration beast? This is what has worked for me lately:

  1. Allow yourself to be frustrated, but only for an hour. 
    It’s ok to feel frustration, but you simply cannot allow it to fester. So give yourself a time limit. Feel frustrated. Go to a trusted friend or family member that is NOT a part of the situation. Pout a little. …but then, do not stay in that place. After an allotted time, make a game plan. For example, if you’re frustrated with a friend, feel that frustration and feel it BIG, but then after an hour, choose to let it go or confront the problem. Either response is fine, but don’t continue to sit in it.
  2. Go for a walk, run, or complete a workout.
    You’d be surprised how often frustrating situations are built up in your mind due to stress. Try being active and see how you feel after.
  3. Pray. Read your Bible.
    If you’re a person of faith like me, this is by far the best route to begin with. Often times my frustration begins with pride. Opening my Bible or talking to God about it always reminds me that life just isn’t about me. When I gain that bigger picture of His goodness and His grace, I’m able to have more grace with others and myself.
  4. Bring frustration to people.
    Maybe this is obvious, but if you’re willing to embrace the awkwardness of actually talking to someone who’s caused frustration, it’s likely that your negative feelings will evaporate quickly. Now, if I’m being honest, this is not always the case. But more times than not, frustrations are formed from miscommunication, and simply talking it out and can do a world of good.

Kat
Currently listening to “Say It” by Maggie Rogers

2016.

It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from 2017 at this point in the ball game.

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2016 has been a very diverse year for me. Part drama, part comedy, a little tragedy, a whole lotta change and some surprising consistency. Overall, I’ve come out of 2016 with some good lessons and memories in my back pocket.

Here are some highlights.

WINTER

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Cousin Emma made it to state in…Ag? FFA? Something like that. I went to see her and my farming ignorance gave everyone a good laugh throughout the night. Still, I was super impressed by this cool cousin of mine!

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SPRING

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My goofy, lovable Nebraska besties came to visit the Big D in May. Twas a highlight of my year for sure (particularly the moment when Kara partially fell into White Rock Lake).

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I got a new job at this wonderful place last May.

SUMMER

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The friend on the right moved to NYC in June. Cool for him; terrible for us.
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Fourth of July. On a boat.

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SO MUCH FUN with these students.
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Another big thing in the year 2016: babysitting. And dog sitting. And house sitting. And basically just any type of sitting that gave me some extra cash.
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FALL
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Fall was wedding season for me!

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WINTER (AGAIN)

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2016 was a full, wonderful year. A real year of dreams.

“Who am I, Oh God, and what is my house that You have brought me thus far?”

-1 Chronicles 17:16

KAT
Currently listening to “Auld Lang Syne” by Bing Crosby

 

Fear.

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What’s your worst fear? Spiders, being chased, a college final?

I’m scared of many things. In fact, I once told a friend about a guerilla that had escaped its cage at the Dallas zoo and caused all sorts of terror in the typically happy, kid-friendly environment. To this, my friend said, “Oh, so you’re super scared of guerillas?” My response… “well, sure, if I were being chased by one.” Moral of the story: I’m often scared of things that will never happen to me or that I have no reason to be scared of.

Fear has found many forms throughout my life. Some of those ways make sense…who wouldn’t be scared of tornadoes, man-eating snakes, or killer clowns? But other great fears are a bit more complex. You know, those internal fears that eat. you. alive.

Today, I’m sitting with two fears that made appearances in my life this morning: failure + being unknown.

Let’s start by talking about the former.

I totally failed at something this morning. Like, 100% failure after trying really hard. Isn’t that everyone’s worst fear–that you will give something your very best shot, and yet fall short? Perhaps for some, failure brings feelings of depression or self hatred. For me? Just fear. Fear that I’m not who I should be. Fear that I’ll never “reach my potential” (whatever that means…). Fear that I’m not enough.

The other culprit in my oh-so-scary day came from a super non-threatening comment that I took out of context. Upon hearing words that seemed untrue about myself, my brain immediately told me lies like you’re unknown/unloved/unseen. And there, ladies and gents, is where the fear set in. I was having an identity crisis with the best of ’em.

I almost named this post “The Panic of Being Unknown,” because isn’t that how it feels when you realize that you might not be known by others or, even worse, yourself? I felt unknown by myself when I didn’t succeed, as I have always identified with being an achiever. I felt unknown by others when someone said something that didn’t line up with who I perceive myself to be. Panic leads to fear, and fear leads to a whole lotta misery.

Here’s the truth of the matter: I’m still very much dealing with this identity/fear thing. I don’t have it down, so I won’t even try to wrap this post up with a pretty bow. But I will leave some Scripture below that reminds me of where my real identity lies. Not in successes; not in popularity; in Jesus Christ alone. And when He alone is the object of my identity, I find a different emotion in my life: peace.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” -1 Peter 2:9

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” -John 15:15

“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.'” -Isaiah 43:1

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”
-2 Corinthians 1:21-22

“And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed.” -Luke 8:47

KAT
Currently listening to “Pieces” by Amanda Cook

Trying to be Brave is Being Brave.

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Four and a half years ago, I graduated from college with little to no clue as to how I was going to make my way in the “real world.” I decided to move to Nashville on a whim and boy oh boy did adulthood kick my rear.

A bright spot during that time was my church, Midtown Fellowship…a small, quaint PCA church in my neck of the Nashville woods. In fact, my church was probably the hardest thing to leave when I moved to Texas last fall. I loved the worship, the youth group, and the accessibility of the church—it was open and welcoming to all, at any time of day. Midtown was a place of rest for me during many trying times. And for that, I’m truly thankful.

That being said, I’d like to share with you my favorite sermon from my pastor (or former pastor, if you will), Russ Ramsey. I admire Russ’ ability to story tell through sermons, as well as his kind and honest demeanor. The sermon Trying to be Brave is Being Brave actually happened after I no longer attended Midtown (three big cheers for podcasts!). I was newly transplanted in Texas and life felt wobbly at best.

I’ve listened to this sermon many times in the past year, and often find myself in tears. To be brave for the Lord is good and hard. I so resonate with the line, “I love Jesus. And I fail Jesus. And yet, I love Jesus.” So if you’re struggling to understand God’s plan or if you just need the reminder to be brave, then give this sermon a listen. 

KAT
Currently listening to Carole King (via the Gilmore Girls Reunion series)

That one time I worked in marketing.

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Last year I packed up my bags and headed West to the Lone Star State (read more about that here, here, and here). And what an adventure it was. I moved with a pocketful of dreams, but no real game plan (great idea in theory; terrifying in execution).

Graciously, my former boss in Nashville allowed me to continue my job remotely as a contract worker, so I had fairly consistent work my first two months in Dallas. In fact, my day-to-day work routine did not change at all with the exception of locale. But by giving up my full-time job and going contract, I also gave up some significant benefits (read: health insurance). Lucky for me, I was 25 at the time and could go back on my parent’s insurance until I turned 26 (thanks Mom and Dad!).

Those first few months in Dallas were equal parts hard and wonderful, as many of the best things in life are. But, with my birthday quickly approaching (reminder: 26 = no more insurance), I decided it was time to do some serious job searching. It felt like I applied for thousands of jobs, and yet, no one was super jazzed about hiring a 25-year-old Bible study editor. Shocker.

I finally got an interview with a company based in Ft. Worth, which was a whopping 45 minutes away with no traffic. I decided to go to the interview “for practice” only.

Fast forward a week. I was running at White Rock Lake and having a very honest conversation with God that basically looked like me questioning if He was really taking care of me. Real talk: I was apartment-less, soon to be job + insurance-less, and had also broken up with a guy the day before. Life felt tough that day. But as I ran, I was reminded of how God had taken care of me thus far. He had completely orchestrated my move to Dallas in beautiful and brilliant ways. He had never let me down. The amount of instant peace that comes with realizing God’s sovereignty is humbling, is it not?

As I walked to my car after my run, I mindlessly checked my email and up popped an offer letter from the company in Ft. Worth. And the projected start date for this position? Oh, that would be the same day my publishing work/insurance was over. God gave me exactly what I needed when I needed it.

That being said, I wasn’t very excited to work in a) marketing; and b) Ft. Worth, but God had given me a job when I needed one…so, I took the position. And you know what’s even better, God knew the job at the church—a dream job of mine—would become available a few months later. This job in marketing was the perfect in-between gig that I needed for that season.

Looking back on my short 6 month career in marketing, I can honestly say it was such a gift. I met some amazing people, learned a thing or two about patience, and also grew professionally. In fact, it was very bittersweet when I realized that my time at that company was coming to a close. I knew God was leading me to take the position at the church, but there were so many good things that had come out of my brief stint in Ft. Worth. In hindsight, I’m just deeply grateful for that short time.

Oh, and just for humor’s sake, I found some notes the other day from my first few weeks on the job. My total ignorance made me laugh, so hopefully it will have the same impact on you…

Day 2: “I have no idea what my job is. I also have no idea what this company that just employed me does.”

Day 4: “I am deathly scared of sales guy Stephen. He’ll probably make an appearance in a bad dream of mine at some point.”

Day 7: “I still have no clue what I’m doing.”

Day 8: “My boss is a tiny, brilliant homeschooler who is way younger than me. I liken her to a Disney animated animal. One of the virtuous ones.”

Day 11: “Joe is the most ‘Joe’ Joe I’ver ever met. His name completely suits him. (P.S. I think Joe is cool.)

Day 11: “The guy in the office who looks like Clark Kent from afar looks even more like Clark Kent up close. Also, there’s a girl here who looks like Luna Lovegood and a guy who looks like Moses in the Prince of Egypt.”

Day 16: “Someone please tell me it’s possible to bounce back after accidentally winking at a male co-worker.”

(That last one still makes me cringe.)

KAT
Currently listening to “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by Indelible Grace