Feeling Stuck

Frustrated childI hear a child’s frustrated crying in the kitchen. I go to investigate, and I find my 2-year-old son pushing with all his might against a chair, angry that it’s not moving.

He has plans, but something has gone wrong. Soon I realize why he’s upset.

The back of the chair has run into an open cupboard door and stopped his movement. But his head is down, his brow is furrowed, and he’s still crying and vigorously pushing the chair with both hands. This focused little guy hasn’t noticed what’s happening, and he’s getting more frustrated by the minute.

I step in to help, moving the chair, closing the cupboard, and letting the relieved little fellow resume scooting his chair across the floor.

It makes me chuckle to myself. How silly of him.

But then I realize that I do the same thing sometimes as a parent. I get angry at problems instead of looking for a way to fix them:

  • I get frustrated when we’re late to church AGAIN.
  • I get angry at the child who tests my limits instead of obeying me.
  • I’m resentful that I missed my Bible reading time because I was up with children during the night or too early in the morning.

Although it’s easy to feel like the victim in situations like these, I’m actually the one responsible to do something about the problem. For example:

  • Make a plan for Sunday morning that includes preparing ahead and allowing time for the inevitable lost shoe and other emergencies.
  • Be more consistent in expecting obedience, so the child won’t need to test me every time.
  • Make back-up plans for Bible study at other times during the day, because mornings are just not predictable in this season of life.

Proverbs 14:15 says “the prudent gives thought to his steps.” When challenges or frustrations arise, sometimes we need to step back and take a better look at what we’re doing. We need to take responsibility, consider the situation, and look around us for a solution.

Here are some steps that may help:

  • Pray for God’s wisdom and help
  • Talk with your spouse and look for a solution together as a team.
  • Get advice from older, wiser parents you respect
  • Ask yourself questions like “What does God’s Word say about this problem?” “What can we do to prevent this problem?” and “How does God want us to deal with this problem?”
  • Make a change to your own behavior, priorities, routines, expectations, etc.

Parenting is a demanding job. One of the ways we can avoid burning out is to be prudent about how we respond to problems and frustrations. God sees it all, and He is ready and willing to help us!

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6 Comments

  1. Needed this. For some reason it takes me a while to get to the point where I look for a solution rather than just feel frustrated.

  2. I chuckled, too, as I read about your 2-year old. How did you know I was dealing with this very issue of mishandled frustration?! Thank you very much. What also comes to mind is, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10) in the midst of the turmoil.

  3. Raising little ones and middle ones and bigger ones, teaches us so much. It is cultivating the fruit of His spirit in our hearts. The learning never stops just increases.

  4. Thank you for this post! To me, it was an answer to prayer. I began to write a long response but then decided to write about it in my blog. http://jhowder.blogspot.com/

  5. I didn’t think I was alone! Joanne, I love your post. Thanks to each of you for sharing your thoughts.

    Like Kimberly says, parenting is one of God’s tools for teaching US and making us more Christ-like. I still have a lot to learn!

  6. This was sitting in my inbox and I didn’t read it until today. It was just what I needed! God saw my frustration and provided timely advice and encouragement. Thank you!