Category Archives: Frustration

Need a shot of adrenaline for your soul?

The end product of biblical Christianity is a person—not a book, not a building, not a set of principles or a system of ethics—but one person. ~ Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet in Jesus: A Theography

William Wilson PhotographyJesus!

After offering up a who’s who list of giants of the faith (Chapter 11), the author of the letter to the Hebrews writes:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! ~ Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message)

I’ll be honest. A shot of adrenaline into my soul sounds pretty good right now. I’ve been feeling fairly discouraged and frustrated lately for a variety of reasons. My guess is I’m not alone.

The reminder that Jesus endured much more than I’ll ever face and not only survived but thrived is very encouraging. All because “he never lost sight of where he was headed.”

So I’m starting this week with a renewed passion to keep my eyes on Jesus no matter what comes at me. And while I know that Satan will do his best to distract me – and likely succeed at least a few times; I also know that the Holy Spirit will be relentless in drawing my attention back to Jesus.

How about you? Need a shot of adrenaline for your soul?

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

6 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Frustration, God, Heaven, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

“Would this be a good time for deep breathing Dad?”

So the other night Brynden (our 13-year-old) and I were headed to a dad/son gathering when he mentioned that his neck has been sore whenever he stretches it. I’m no doctor but he is healthy in every other way so I suggested that it might be tension or stress.

Supreme_pizzaHe tends to get worked up rather easily and is just a couple of months into a new school semester after two and a half years of homeschooling. It was his idea and we believed he was ready but he was still fairly nervous heading into it.

So we talked a good 10-15 minutes about learning to relax.

I explained that it’s not that uncommon for most people to get tense without even realizing it but that our body feels it and lets us know with little aches and pains. I mentioned that clenching or tightening our shoulders is a biggie and could easily cause the kind of neck soreness he was describing.

When I talked about being intentional with learning to relax he asked if that was why I did stretching every morning. I told him it was and explained that stretching is half of it while the other half is breathing deeply while doing them to help push oxygen all through the body.

I even mentioned learning to be aware of certain situations that make us tense and being careful to practice deep breathing whenever we felt the tension building.

About that time we pulled into a pizza place to pick up our order.

Five of the pizzas we ordered were ready but they had forgotten to cook the sixth one. I don’t eat pizza very often so when I do I make sure to get at least one that I especially enjoy. Guess which one they forgot to make? Yep! My favorite.

We substituted a couple orders of bread sticks but I was ticked. When we got back in the car to leave I growled and yelled “Dang it! That makes me mad!”

That’s when Brynden, in a matter-of-fact sort of way, asked:

“Would this be a good time for deep breathing Dad?”

“Yes! Yes it would! Thanks!”

[In… out… in… out… slow it down…]

When I talked with Brynden about learning to relax I hadn’t planned on having to practice it so soon, but it was good to know he had been listening.

I know… it was only pizza. But the point is that we all need to learn to be more intentional about relaxing. Perhaps that is a part of why David wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Some of us wear hurry and stress like a badge of honor even though it tends to destroy our health and attitude.

May our breathing today be slow and deep no matter what we are facing. And remember, nothing we come up against is a surprise to God; and He is still on His throne!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2013. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under Adversity, Anger, Frustration, God, Health & Wellness, intimacy with the Lord, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Rest, Trusting God

May God wreck our plans!

We were getting away for a few days to relax and regain some sense of rhythm. But God had other plans!

Susan and I loaded our bikes into the old blue bus (our 20-year-old van) and pulled out late Sunday afternoon headed for a hotel room in Indy. The trip was uneventful, the room was great and the continental breakfast was amazing. But then…

We shopped at a few nearby stores before heading downtown to visit a friend who had just given birth to her third baby. We got within a couple of miles of the hospital when the van started sputtering.

Long story short, we spent another night in Indy and about $500 for a new fuel pump!

The really ironic part is that I’m reading a book about what God may be up to when our dreams get shattered or our plans go up in smoke. And just for the record, I prefer reading about it over actually living it. Just sayin’…

There are certainly bigger dreams out there than just getting away for a few days but it stretched our patience to the breaking point!

In his book, Shattered Dreams, Larry Crabb suggests that God uses the big and little obstacles of life to help us come to grips with what matters most to us. Are we pursuing God in order to secure His blessings of a good life or are we desiring a relationship with God above all else?

The deepest longings of our heart cry out for an experience of God’s presence; and yet we so often settle for lesser passions. Only when those lesser passions get thwarted or crushed will we delve deeper into our soul and come to discover our greater passion for God.

An encounter with God is what we were created for and satisfies our soul like nothing or no one else can. But when the lesser passions of life satisfy us, even if they are only temporary, we forget the bigger passion.

It’s sort of like nibbling on junk food too close to the big meal and losing our appetite for real food.

I’ll be honest. I was very angry and frustrated as we sat there in the hot sun waiting for the tow truck to show up. Was a few days away to relax really too much to ask?

But eventually, a different question made its way to the forefront of my mind.

Are these few days away more important to you than God?

God could have kept our van running but didn’t. God could have prompted me to take a different vehicle but He didn’t. (At least, I don’t think He did. Sometimes I don’t listen so well)

If I want God more than I want a few days away and if I choose to trust God as sovereign, then can I trust Him to be working behind the scenes to accomplish something I know nothing about? In essence…

Would I trust God’s character and intentions to be good even if I didn’t know the “why”?

I have no great “TaDa” moment that resulted from our interrupted plans. I’ve gained no great revelation or insight from what took place. And I still don’t know how we’ll pay for the van or extra night in a hotel.

But I can trust the Author of the story to be good and I can once again sift through my passions to see which ones are most important.

May God wreck our plans, no matter how good they are, to help us discover our greater passion for Him!

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

6 Comments

Filed under Adversity, Contentment, Desire, Discipleship, Divine presence, Frustration, God, intimacy with the Lord, Patience, Priorities, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality, Spiritual formation, Spiritual growth, Suffering, Trusting God

One way to deal with frustration

Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go right. Strike that! When was the last time you had a day when nothing seemed to go right?

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I actually woke up early and was excited to get the day underway. But it went downhill as soon as my feet hit the floor. I’ll spare you the details but it was definitely a “two steps forward, three steps back” kind of day.

I tried taking space. I tried talking with God. (more like grumbling at God) I even downed about 8 oatmeal/butterscotch cookies. Didn’t work, but they were good. And oatmeal is healthy right?!

If I still had hair I would have pulled it out!

So when I got home that evening, Susan and I took a bike ride. That was a big help.

Fresh (though humid) air, the chance to chat with Susan and a beautiful sky as the sun disappeared into the horizon.

No big spiritual insight here, just the observation that sometimes a good physical workout does more to put things in perspective than anything else.

Go ahead. Get active.

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© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under Anger, Frustration, Health & Wellness, Life in General, Recreation