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Frustrated? Get a Checkup from the Neck-Up

May 25, 2020

In Tim Hansel's book, You Gotta’ Keep Dancing, there is a life-lifting poem that has transformed my life when my life becomes frustrating and intense. It's called Did You Ever Doodle, Lord?

"Lord, did You ever to something silly just for the fun of it? For example, did You ever sit and doodle in the air floating somewhere before You had this heavy world upon Your hands? Did you ever let Yourself go and take a wild ride across the galaxies or tie up a rainbow in knots without a thought of what someone else might think? Are the platypus and kangaroo a couple of Your favorite jokes that You keep around for laughs?

Come on, God, let's loosen up the world a bit. Let's use the fireman's hose to knock off the hats of all those cats who stiffen up their backs. They think they own this town! Let's stop traffic for a day. Let's have a ticker-tape parade for all the orphans we have made. Let's turn the land into a fair and throw confetti in the air and celebrate that You have come to join us here. Come on, God, let's go...!

If Jesus Christ means anything, it means He's one of us, and if His resurrection isn't just a dream for dying men, then He's the One who's come to bring this globe to life again!"

In other words, relax, cool your jets, get a checkup from the neck-up, take a deep breath. Get out of the driver’s side of the car and let God drive for a while. If you’re getting too intense, you need to back up and find out where you left Jesus.

Like most people, when things get intense, I get emotional. Then I get frustrated, angry, or fearful, lose perspective, and get darn right obnoxious! Sometimes, little things that I want, become big things I can't get to when I want them. As my intensity increases, my patience decreases. Then the big things I can't seem to get to turn into huge things that rob me of strength and joy. I become entangled, like Brer Rabbit, in tar babies of my own making. 

Does that happen to you too? Do you get intense? I'm like, "I want this fixed, and I want this fixed now!" Some people would call me weird for that. Do you know what I say about that? "I'm not weird, I'm just exotic!"

Learning patience takes a lot of patience! We can't avoid pain or frustration, but we can avoid joy. Charles Swindoll says that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. We might know this truth, but knowing this truth and applying this truth are two different things.

Here’s a story called Two Wolves illuminating times of frustration.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, “My son, the battle is between two wolves inside of us all. One wolf is evil. It is anger, envy, frustration, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied, “The one you feed.”

When I get irritable and frustrated, and I do, I have invented what I call the S.T.P.S. Strategy. S.T.P.S. means Stop, Think, Pray, and Say.

So, I STOP letting my soul and emotions rule. I STOP fighting, STOP fretting, and STOP acting out. Now, this takes my cooperation and choosing correctly, along with God's power. My cooperation with God's operation takes me beyond the limitations of human strength. It’s my choice, but God's power. When I STOP, it gets me to the calm waters of a clear mind. God's doodling again!

Then, I THINK. I put things in perspective. I get back to where I once belonged. After I have exhausted all my best efforts to work things out, I allow God to work it out. Tim Hansel says that life becomes precious and more special to us when we look for the little everyday miracles and get excited about our privileges of simply being human. Emotions are wonderful servants but terrible masters. In challenging times, thinking must lead, then emotions follow.

Then, I PRAY. One kind of prayer is petitioning. I allow God to work out my current situation as well as work in me. PRAYER is mining the resources of God to enable all things to work together for everyone's benefit. PRAYER gets me out of the way so God can make a way. Most times, the answer to my prayer is me.

Finally, I SAY! I confess that God is in control.  I SAY that God will meet all my needs, not my greed, according to His riches and glory. I SAY what God says in the Scriptures. I SAY God will make a way, where there seems no way. I SAY to myself, "Ed, you have quit dancing. You gotta’ keep dancing!"

So, just like you would add S.T.P. to your car's oil, add S.T.P.S. to your life. After all, necessity is the author of change.

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com