Frustration and Anger: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools Ecclesiastes 7:9 KJV

One day I was sitting at the table, trying to relax after putting the children to bed, and my husband was telling me about problems he was having on the job, problems new converts were having etc. I told him, “Hey honey, I really don’t want to hear about anyone’s problems right now.”   I had reached my human limit. I was tired, and I was frustrated. Continue reading

Are Negative Personality Traits An Excuse to Sin?

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,  Hebrews 2:11

Our backgrounds, childhoods, upbringing can affect our personality traits. But does this necessarily have to hurt our walk with the Lord? Sometimes it can. God never tempts any man toward sin.  The fault lies in our own desires and temptation from Satan. God allows us to see our personal weaknesses so that we may better understand ourselves and as a result,  lay these undesirable characteristics at the feet of Jesus.

God sees all of our issues: our need for attention, our coldness toward people, our shyness, our tendencies to be aggressive, our suspicious and mistrustful eyes, our stubbornness, or avoidance of communication and conflicts, our exaggerations, our need to emulate others, our desire to exalt ourselves, our insecurities with ourselves, our hastiness, our passivity, or our controlling nature.  All are shortcomings that God wants us to eradicate from our lives. All are areas to which God does not turn a blind eye. When God creates situations that show us the negative side of our personality, it is for our growth as a believer.  We have loving God that shepherds our spiritual development.

Yet, after the situation has passed, we should examine why the struggle  with our personality happened in the first place: “Why did I overreact to that question?”  “Why did I assume the other person was wrong?”  “Why was I hurt by this situation?” If we are unwilling to seek God for the answers to these questions, we will only have a shallow Christian experience and not the deeper walk that God wants us to enjoy.

For example, a conflict between people is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to degenerate into catastrophic damage. Disturbances in relationships with the people around us often happen when differing views collide.  The collision can be the result of opposite perceptions.  People’s backgrounds and past experiences can affect how they view day-to-day situations. The way they think, the way they react to things or perceive things or the words that come out of their mouths. Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering trial because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina in that particular area. He will put that person in conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Personality traits can hinder accomplishing goals.  Someone who gets frustrated or gives up easily, for example, may need more encouragement to find a job or overcome a lingering spiritual battle because they lack perseverance. He or she doesn’t see things through to the end and quits too soon.  That person may struggle more to complete a simple task than someone who regularly sticks to his or her guns. God sees this weakness, however, and will send that person through areas that will try his or her stamina. He will put that person in situations and conflicts where he or she has to stay the course and see things through to the end without complaining.

Christians even after being forgiven of all their sin, can hold onto behaviors such as laziness, undue criticism of others, controlling behaviors, perfectionism, stinginess, over-sensitiveness, stubbornness,  mistrust of others, argumentative behavior or chronic impatience for a variety of reasons having to do with their backgrounds. Although it is essential to get to the bottom of our personality issues, our background should never be an excuse for sinful behavior.  To sin, you have to make a choice.  In order to keep doing what’s right, the Christian must recognize and push back against the wrong that presents itself through the flesh.

God will come in through the sanctifying experience and give us the power to face these character killers, cleanse us and transform our personality where he will not be ashamed to call us brethren.

from How to Walk on Water              DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

Human Emotions

In the first three chapters of Genesis, we see fear, guilt, shame, contentment, anger, and happiness. Emotions are part of our existence, and while they should not be ignored, they are also not intended to rule our lives.  Jesus showed extreme levels of emotion in his walk here on earth.  He was human in every way.

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;  (Hebrews 5:7)

Emotions are part of our existence, and while they should not be ignored, they are also not intended to rule our lives.  Emotions come and go.  How many times have you felt depressed or sad, but the next morning you felt great?  I’ve known of some churches to teach the Christian experience at such an elevated level as to make it inhumane. Emotions do take time to process especially when something tragic happens like death, terminal illness, or a divorce.

It’s normal for us as humans to experience lingering sadness and depression over enormous hurts, such as the loss of a relationship or the death of a loved one.  If someone harms your child, it is human to feel hurt, anger, anguish, and a desire for justice.   While the Christian may certainly struggle with feelings of anger, hurt, revenge, we fight not to succumb to them and we pray for God to provide peace. Christ gives us strength beyond ourselves to endure and overcome.  I’ve been there and back and I’ve been amazed at His power to overcome evil with good.  Since God has grace for all these things, He encourages us to come boldly to the throne so that damaging emotions will not find a settled home in our hearts.

We will be hungry; that cannot be erased.  We will be angry.  We will desire the opposite sex and companionship; those hormones and attractions are part of our mortal fabric. We will get physically tired or even bored because humans crave variety.  We will not want to suffer problems, pain, death, injustices, rejection, isolation, loss of relationships, loss of health, or fear of the unknown. We will get physically tired or even bored because humans crave variety.

Though we are human, our hearts have been changed with the touch of the divine. Our focus while suffering these things should be to follow the steps of the one “who did no sin, neither was guile [craftiness or deception] found in his mouth; who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23).

In other words, Jesus left an example of how we should live. We should walk in the same path as our Savior. A person who believes he or she can’t overcome even the most minor temptations because “Well, what’s the use? God looks at me as a sinner anyway and I can’t stop doing wrong,” is not living the way God intended.  The mindset of Christ is to walk in his path and do what He would do.

Christ never emphasized the weakness of man over the power of God.

excerpt from How to Walk on Water     DOWNLOAD THE BOOK

One Dream Becomes Reality

If you are old enough to have watched television in the 1970s, you remember George Jefferson, the African-American neighbor of bigoted Archie Bunker in “All in the Family” who went from living in a modest home to a penthouse with a live-in maid. The show’s theme song was “Movin’ on Up.” If you in financial difficulty, God has his own time to move us from the prison to the palace.

The time we spent saving our house was for a reason. Sometimes we said, “Let’s just let it go and start over.” But God had a reason for keeping us in the frame of mind to keep it. And lo and behold, we had a huge amount of equity in our property despite the fact that we weren’t smart enough or savvy enough to have refinanced our property multiple times. And of course, we were unemployed! So after I worked for three years, Gino received the vision and burden to move. So we mapped out the best areas for education for our three children, but we were still open for other ideas.

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We had been living next to an affluent area called Beverly, which had nice houses and mansions. I had lived in the adjacent areas most of life, so I knew that area was out of our reach financially.  It was like being in the friend zone. Next the person all the time, but no relationship.

I had always walked through that neighborhood, looking at the tree-lined streets and valuable homes, with their distinct landscaping, and historical/landmark placards and thought, Well maybe one day, when Gino and I retire, we’ll be able to afford something here.

There was one house I really loved, but it didn’t have much closet space.  It was in the school district we wanted to be in, though, and it was a good financial buy because the houses were selling quite high in that area.  It sat and sat and sat and sat; no one wanted to put a contract on it. It was a perfectly good home that had been sitting for about nine months by the time we looked at it.  The owners accepted our offer and we moved into our dream neighborhood that I never thought we’d move into in my lifetime. It certainly wasn’t our real estate savvy or intellect that got us what we have—it was entirely the Lord. As always, all glory goes to Him.

Looking back, I don’t know how we went through hospitalizations, job injuries, financial ruin, employment problems, deaths, and illnesses on both sides of the family, in addition to church turmoil. Whew!

It was during the early years of these trials that God gave me the Psalm 37 formula for overcoming a trial, which I outline in this book, which has guided me through many heartaches and difficulties in my personal walk.  I have not been through everything; maybe I haven’t even been through as much as some, but I’ve been through enough to realize that all power belongs to God and He turns our lives however He chooses. We just have to hold His hand through all the twists and turns.

Through all this, I learned to trust God with my life—my money, my time, and my future.  I learned to rest even when it seemed I should not be resting.

I learned to wait because I never knew what God was trying to work, not only in my life but also in the lives of others during that time.

It took us years to recover from having little or no income, but now I walk down the streets of my beautiful neighborhood and tears come to my eyes because I know where God brought me from spiritually and naturally. Gino and I have never forgotten having so many bills and so little money.

We are just happy to have received God’s favor.

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A Package Just in Time

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Here is another story of God working on our behalf.  During one of the many times we had fallen behind on our mortgage, the mortgage company threatened us with foreclosure. This is it; we thought. This time we’re going to lose our home. The lawyers sent us a letter and told us we had to have $2,000 in their office by the next week, or they were going to proceed with foreclosure.

None of our friends really knew how much we needed; Gino just asked for prayer during church services about a “business matter.”  That was on a Friday. Sunday night after service, a dear sister approached us and said that ever since she heard our request, God would not let her alone. She felt burdened to give us a sum of money to the point that she said she did not want to disobey God.

This was a humbling experience; we almost felt ashamed to take any money from her, though we were both certain she wasn’t going to give us any amount that would be terribly helpful. She also said that she told her mother about her burden, and her mother had an envelope for us, as well. She handed my husband both envelopes and told us she was glad to get God off her. We thanked her, thinking it was so nice, but that we were still in trouble.  $2000 was a large sum of money.

On the way home, I opened the first envelope.  $1,000 in cash.  I opened the second one and found another $1,000 in cash.  We were speechless. Of course, we immediately put it in cashier check form and took it to the lawyer’s office. God had miraculously worked on our behalf.  If God has ever so precisely met your needs, you know that this type of blessing is extremely humbling. It does not make you proud or lifted up; it makes you awestruck beyond all reason because it puts you face to face with a real God who can meet real needs.