The Root of Frustration

Several lightning strikes in night sky

Have you had a moment (or two, or three) of frustration recently? Sure you have. So have I. We all do. I can recall being frustrated with things people have said, done, and not done. It’s something universal to the human experience. I’ve been trying to better understand this frustration. What’s the root motivation in those feelings? What’s really going on in my head and my heart? I want to better understand so that I can stop applying so much mental and emotional energy in the wrong way. I should be focused on listening, learning, and building, not spinning my wheels in frustration.

The first-century Christian leader, Paul, wrote to the church in Rome and said the following,

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly. (Romans 12:3-6, NASB)

When I read this passage recently, I suddenly realized that I get frustrated with others because I am making two mistakes:

  1. I am assuming others should be addressing challenges in the same way I would, using the same gifts and talents God has given me.
  2. I am not valuing how God designed others and encouraging them to apply their talents to problems as stewards of their gifts.

In short, I’m being arrogant and selfish.

Referring back to Paul’s instruction to the Roman church, a paraphrase of that passage for leaders might be:

Don’t be arrogant or prideful, but be wise and discerning because every leader plays a role in the work we do together. And each leader plays a different role in that work. God has gifted each leader to contribute in unique ways and they should be empowered to use those gifts.

This isn’t to say that people do not sometimes go about things the wrong way. Poor choices, lack of experience, and just plain “boneheaded” moves certainly happen. Me, you, and everyone else is guilty of that.

However, the next time you feel your “temperature” rising stop and ask yourself, “Was that a bad choice or am I feeling this way because it wasn’t my choice?

Also, “Does what happened reflect that person’s gifting and talents? How can we leverage this for developing their proficiency and skills?

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at] with your questions.

Photo by Clinton Naik. Photo available at Unsplash under CC0 license. Image modified for size and space.

2 thoughts on “The Root of Frustration

  1. Great article, Scott. I think not understading what people value, which influences how people respond to a situation can also be frustrating. We often assume people place the same degree of value/importance on things as we do ourselves, and that is simply not the case. The challenge then becomes how do I motivate/inspire people to care about what I care about? That’s where tapping into a person’s giftings comes into play.

    • Josiah,
      You’re pulling in the area of values, which is quite important to this topic. There is actually a complex intersection of values, beliefs, gifting/wiring, experiences, and skills that all drive these situations. The more we understand these things about ourselves and others the better we are able to work with one another. But it’s difficult to keep all these factors in mind on a consistent basis. So instead we tend to revert to defaults, i.e. our own perspective and framing. Beling flexible, intentional, and giving others grace are tremendous ways to deal with this difficulty.

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