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The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times

The Good Side of Frustration:

13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times

Steve Norman

 

 

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p. Copyright © 2016 Steve Norman

The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times

First Edition, October 2016

 

StrengthenMe Publishing

El Paso, Texas

 

Editing: Shayla Eaton, CuriouserEditing.com

Cover Design: Melinda Martin, MelindaMartin.me

Formatting: RMJ Manuscript Service LLC, RogenaMitchell.com

 

[_The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times _]is under copyright protection. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. All rights reserved. 

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Blog: strengthenme.org

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p={color:#1A1A1A;}. [* *]

Table of Contents

Introduction

Frustration Has Purpose

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Joseph’s Story

Confined and Frustrated

Benefit #1 – New Closeness to God

Benefit #2 – Start Expecting Giftedness

Benefit #3 – Success Is a Simple Design

Benefit #4 – Turn Self-Focus Outward

Benefit #5 – When Opportunity Knocks

Benefit #6 –Time Is on Your Side

Benefit #7 – Practice Poise

Benefit #8 – You Can’t Do It

Benefit #9 – Discover a Higher Plane

Benefit #10 – Knowing What to Do When Everything Goes Wrong

Benefit #11 – Fill Your Empty Tank

Benefit #12 — Get Control over What Controls You

Benefit #13 – Expand Your Sphere of Influence

Keeping the Benefits

So What’s Next?

About the Author

Connect with the Author

Resources

 

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p={color:#1A1A1A;}. To Tina, my wife,

my closest friend and partner

Introduction

I hate frustration. And you probably do too. We scratch and claw to resist, ignore, and avoid it. I remember being frustrated with a work situation a few years ago. As I drove back to work from lunch, I found myself yelling at the top of my lungs at a coworker. Fortunately, I was alone. Early in my marriage, I vividly recall sitting at my desk in our small mobile home paying bills. As I stared at the mounting credit card bills, all I could feel was guilt and frustration. I could go on with dark memories of my son who struggled mentally and emotionally for almost two years, or a time when my tween daughter battled the initial stages of an eating disorder.

There are endless sources of frustration any one of us might relate to: a family separated by military deployment, an ugly divorce, a stressful work situation, a terrifying phobia, dreary depression, helpless financial problems, the loss of a loved one, or fatiguing health issues. In fact, what compels me to write this book is a challenging time I am dealing with. The short version of the story is my work position was eliminated due to a corporate acquisition. Would it surprise you that I have been frustrated lately? I want to know what is going to happen to me. I have a wife and four children, a mortgage, and bills. I am tired of uncertainty and want to know my next career step. Where is my paycheck going to come from?  Can you feel my stress? Can you sense my frustration?

It is true that frustration can have a bad ending, but it doesn’t have to. There is a good side to frustration and when we realize this, we begin to enjoy its awesome benefits. Don’t waste your frustrating experience without taking advantage of all it has to offer. 

Together, we are going to uncover thirteen unexpected benefits of tough and frustrating circumstances.

Frustration Has Purpose

A good friend once told me, “Frustration has purpose.” Unfortunately, at times, we can only fully understand the purpose of difficulty after we have gone through it.

A couple of years ago, I attended a conference, and one of the conference speakers was Sarah Smiley, the spouse of a naval officer. The mother of three young boys, she described the raw reality of living through one of her husband’s lengthy deployments. I sat there spellbound by her story and vivid descriptions of her family’s daily struggles, the challenges of mothering children who deeply missed their father.

The time of deployment evolved into a fifty-two-week experiment where Sarah invited a different guest to a casual family dinner: a teacher, a senator, a cancer survivor, a hockey head coach, an elderly neighbor. The guests were invited to sit in the place of the deployed dad. Each visitor received an unfiltered view of a military family in the midst of deployment. The Smiley family, in turn, peered into the unique lives of fifty-two different individuals.

Sarah recounts the experience in her delightful book, Dinner with the Smileys. The separation of deployment enriched the Smiley family, producing greater closeness, maturity, and change. So often we want to change our unpleasant situation, when in reality, our frustration is intended to change us.

 

 

The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

Several years ago, I learned a life-altering lesson. I volunteered to create an inter-departmental customer service training program for the company I work for. After investing quite a bit of time developing the curriculum, it was time to pilot the training for an audience of key administrative leaders. Immediately after presenting the training, I invited the participants to evaluate my work. I will never forget the frank reaction of the Chief Accounting Officer: “There is nothing memorable about your training.”

I went home and promptly told my wife I was giving up on the training project. However, after a long sleepless night, I decided to pour all my efforts into developing a training nobody would ever forget. I studied other creative training programs, and brainstormed how I could involve as many of the senses to reinforce the training concepts. No idea or concept was too farfetched as I redesigned the training. The criticism that cut me to the heart was in fact the best thing that ever happened to me!

The revised training caught fire, and department after department requested me to train them. Eventually, the Human Resource department mandated the training for the entire corporate office. After I finished training all the corporate departments, one of the company’s operating divisions requested the training. Amazingly, that training session ultimately opened a door of opportunity for me to head up the entire operations of the $2 billion real estate division!

I have learned to carefully evaluate bad or painful situations. This challenging time I face now is yet another example of the best thing that ever happened to me, because it has taught me that frustration has benefits.

 

 

Joseph’s Story

I love to read accounts of people’s lives, learning from their flaws and strengths, highs and lows, wins and losses. During recent months, I read about a guy named Joseph whose story opened my eyes to the amazing benefits of frustration. As you will see, his crazy and impossible situation actually benefited him in remarkable ways. Although his story is ancient, it’s an interesting one. And every benefit he enjoyed can be yours or mine or anyone’s. The only prerequisite is frustration.

Joseph grew up in a large, dysfunctional family. His dad had been involved with several women, and Joseph’s brothers were the product of those relationships. There were constant family turf wars where mothers and children vied for his dad’s attention. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Joseph and his mother enjoyed his dad’s favor, resulting in a spoiled Joseph. Tension and hatred toward Joseph from his brothers and their mothers escalated to an all-time high when he reached his teenage years. Some of his brothers had a history of rage and violence, and there was even treacherous talk of murdering Joseph. It wouldn’t be the first time one of the brothers had vengefully ended someone else’s life. But Joseph was oblivious to his brothers’ intentions, even at the age of seventeen.

A few of his brothers schemed to sell Joseph through a human-trafficking system. The plan was executed, and Joseph’s life was tragically turned upside down. The traffickers unloaded Joseph in Egypt, where he was made the slave of a high-ranking government officer. There he found himself stripped of all personal rights in a country whose culture and language he didn’t know. But it is interesting how certain people seem to survive and even thrive in the toughest situations.

Joseph became a personal attendant to the wealthy government official. As time passed, the official observed a confidence and an administrative skill set in Joseph that greatly impressed him. At first, Joseph was given oversight of the official’s household. But Joseph performed so well, soon he oversaw everything the official owned. Joseph, a foreign slave, was so effective and responsible that the official didn’t concern himself with anything except for the food he ate! 

Then the plot thickens. Joseph was a good-looking, well-built young adult, and the official’s wife began to notice him. Every day, her interest and curiosity in him grew until she started making direct passes at him, attempting to seduce him. Joseph tried to avoid her, but finally, the inevitable happened. One day when no one was in the house, the official’s wife grabbed Joseph by his cloak and demanded intimacy. Joseph, who had an incredible faith in God, fled the house, leaving his cloak in her hand.

When the official returned home that evening, his wife vehemently accused Joseph of the very thing she herself had proposed. She proved her accusation by presenting his cloak, claiming when she screamed, he ran from the house.

In fury, and without listening to Joseph, the official had him thrown into prison, and there he remained, confined.

 

 

Confined and Frustrated

Some people seem to have all the bad luck. A friend of mine suffered unimaginably for most of his adult life. He brought his wife and family to the United States from Nigeria. As a child, a parasite damaged his kidneys, causing progressive renal deterioration. When I first met him, he was just starting dialysis. His treatments increased in frequency from semi-weekly to three times a day. His kidney disease and dialysis eventually caused a paralyzing stroke. I’ll never forget his teenage son lying on the hospital bed, crying beside his handicapped father. The family’s financial situation wasn’t good, either. His wife worked two jobs, one during the day and one at night. This left the kids alone to fend for themselves.

My friend’s health worsened, causing circulatory problems in one of his legs, which finally had to be amputated. As if all of this wasn’t enough, the stress of his situation finally drove his wife to divorce him, leaving him completely alone.

We have to identify with Joseph in order to understand his misery. When luck turned against Joseph as it did my friend, frustration is an understatement. Joseph was hopeless, helpless, and possibly suicidal. But thankfully, his unusual story doesn’t end here.

 

 

Benefit #1 – New Closeness to God

Joseph made an astonishing claim at this low point in his life: “God was with me.” In fact, God was the first thing Joseph was aware of in his confinement. Frustration persuaded Joseph of God’s nearness.

A while back, I was traveling on business to address an unpleasant situation at an offsite location. As I moved slowly through the airport security line and made my way to the gate, I dreaded the meetings I would participate in (I’ll spare you the gory details). I bought a snack for the flight and as I approached the gate, I experienced something I’ll never forget: a sense of peace and power and confidence and safety all wrapped up together! I was aware that God was with me, surrounding me and protecting me. This wonderful consciousness continued throughout the whole trip, in meetings, at dinner, on calls, in the hotel room, and all the way back home. Without this challenging situation, I would never have had this unforgettable experience.

The absence of seeing or sensing God drives a lot of people to atheism or to become an agnostic, but can you imagine being absolutely, positively convinced God exists? In your trouble, God heightens your senses so that you can feel His closeness. Your awareness of God gives you an unfair advantage over others. You know something they don’t. You have a source of insight, power, divine favor, authority, confidence, and peace—a source others neglect.

 

Benefit #2 – Start Expecting Giftedness

While in prison, Joseph had something unusual happen to him. The prison warden placed Joseph in charge of all the prisoners, making him responsible for everything that was done in the prison. This puzzled Joseph. He remembered how the government official had entrusted all he owned to his care. In his confinement, Joseph began to realize he had a gift for winning people’s trust as a leader and administrator. Could this mean he would gain this trust and respect no matter where he went?

It’s great when something good happens once. It’s even better when it happens twice. Richard Branson knows how to build billion-dollar companies. He has done it eight times.^^[i]^^ Steve Jobs knew how to market and launch innovative products. He and his team developed what is now commonplace: iTunes, iPods, iPhones, and Apple Watches. Disney knows how to produce major motion pictures about princesses. By my count, they have produced nineteen princess films. After succeeding at something more than two times, you know you have a trend.

Through difficult situations, you can begin to form expectations that materialize like clockwork. Why is frustration important to this process? It pushes you to step out, to do something you might never do. As you demonstrate courage, your experience teaches you the amazing things you can consistently expect.

What does this look like? You have entrepreneurial strengths and take calculated risks: a viable business is created. It’s just what happens. You like to counsel people who have problems: they are helped. It’s just what happens. You are artistic: beautiful works of art are created. It’s just what happens. You love to teach: people learn and are inspired. It’s just what happens. You pray: good things take place. It’s just what happens.

 

Benefit #3 – Success Is a Simple Design

Success was not haphazard for Joseph. The law of cause and effect reinforced both spiritual and practical principles of success. What had worked for him as a household manager would work for him as an assistant to the prison warden.

We should analyze the outcomes of our life. Multiple divorces, consistent shortage of resources, out-of-control children, or frequent job changes might indicate a problem. If our approach isn’t producing a desired outcome, we need to try something different. Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are our attitudes tripping us up? What about our habits or behaviors?

There is a definite reproducible pattern to success. First of all, there is a spiritual formula. Put God first in your life and earnestly look for Him. You must commit yourself to an unbiased spiritual search; this is not a religious exercise. The disciplines of religion and searching for God have absolutely nothing in common with one another. Religion seeks to promote only external appearance, while a genuine spiritual search for the one, true God happens within you, and greatly affects who you are. Your personal discovery of God also happens to be a key to your success. Make it your top priority to know and please God. If God exists, shouldn’t you do everything in your power to know who He is?

Second, there are practical ingredients to success. In fact, there are three simple yet challenging principles, all of which require intentional development:

 

1.      [*Master the technical aspects of your craft. *]Be the best at what you do and never stop learning. If you are an accountant, learn everything there is to know about accounting within your industry. If you are a nurse, learn everything there is to know about nursing within your field. If you are an artist, learn and perfect the techniques of your art form.

2.      Practice strong self-management. Learn time management. Be well organized and disciplined. Be proactive, not reactive. Manage your emotions and reactions. Know yourself through and through, being aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

3.      Develop healthy interpersonal skills. Never decide there is a person you can’t like. Find connection with everyone. Shyness and insecurity must never be an excuse to avoid building relationships. Appropriate frankness and self-expression are a must in order to deal with necessary confrontation and conflict resolution.

 

Success might be simple, but it isn’t easy. It requires constant self-assessment and intense effort to shore up deficient spiritual and practical disciplines. Frustration will show you unexplored opportunities for success and even redefine how you view success. 

 

Benefit #4 – Turn Self-Focus Outward

During Joseph’s monotonouS existence as a prisoner, something interesting happened. The king of Egypt became very displeased with his palace attendant and chef. The King’s displeasure was evidenced by throwing both men into prison, under Joseph’s supervision. The palace attendant and the chef went from the high life to the low life. Joseph could relate.

After these men had been in jail for some time, they each had a dream on the same night, causing each man considerable anxiety. The next morning, Joseph noticed they were dejected and asked them why they looked so sad. Joseph, spoiled as a child, betrayed by his brothers, falsely accused and imprisoned, noticed someone else’s misery?

All successful businesses start by identifying a need and then meeting it. In his book Customers for Life, Carl Sewell tells of his journey to build one of the most successful car dealerships in the United States. He started with a simple goal: he wanted to own the best car dealership. This lofty objective would require sincere attentiveness to customers and their needs, an outward focus. With this objective clearly communicated to the sales team, the individual salesmen got creative. They would drive several cars to the customer’s home or place of business, conveniently allowing the customer to select their new automobile. The sales and maintenance teams made themselves available any hour of the day or night, providing extensive service to their customers free of charge.^^[ii]^^ Sewell’s outward focus distinguished its service so much that today, there are over fifteen Sewell dealerships in several Texas cities.^^[iii]^^

As a young adult, I remember befriending a guy who was in his late teens. He had been sent off by his parents to live with his grandmother. His parents were wealthy, and their son had been nothing but trouble for them. He abused drugs, partied a lot, and he was also a thief, which got him into legal trouble. When I first met him, he was conceited and obnoxious. As the weeks passed, he could see he wasn’t going anywhere, and slowly but surely, he softened, becoming more personable. After a while, he actually became interested in friendship. His sense of isolation slowly broke his self-focus.

I have noticed that outwardly focused people are happier than those who are self-centered. God understands this too. He patiently works with us for a lifetime, gradually shifting our attention toward others.

Let your frustrating circumstance open your eyes to others’ needs.

 

Benefit #5 – When Opportunity Knocks

The palace attendant and chef expressed to Joseph that they had disturbing dreams, and upon prompting, they described their dreams to him. Now most dreams are random and few have significance, but the dreams of these two men had definite meanings. After listening to the dreams, Joseph proceeded to interpret them for the two new prisoners.

Joseph had a gift for interpreting dreams. You have gifts too. You might have a knack for public speaking, writing, management, coaching, or music. You might have spiritual inclinations for faith, healing, or delivering a God-given message. Guess what? That is your gift and your opportunity. Joseph, as frustrated as he was, didn’t overlook his opportunity, nor did he think his imprisonment nullified his gifting. He seized his opportunity and delivered what he had to offer. Why don’t you?

Nothing illustrates this better than Pixar’s movie Up. Carl Fredricksen is a shy boy who meets his soulmate, Ellie, a vibrant and outgoing little girl. From a young age, Carl and Ellie both dream of travel and adventure. The movie fast-forwards through their lives together, showing all the reasons why they never were able to pursue their dreams of adventure, and Ellie dies in her older years.

Carl’s shyness quickly turns into elderly cynicism and grouchiness. One day, a young Boy Scout named Russell shows up on his doorstep asking if he can help Carl in any way so he can earn a badge. From there, the adventure begins (I won’t spoil it for you). As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Russell doesn’t have a father figure or a hero to cheer him on. Finally, Carl realizes despite the loss of his loving Ellie, he still has a very important purpose to fulfill and much to offer by meeting the deep needs of lonely little Russell.

Don’t let setbacks victimize you; don’t sit paralyzed on the sidelines. You cannot allow your dire circumstances to blind you to opportunity or your giftedness. Often, opportunity will only be uncovered by unfortunate situations! Never forget that your gifts and talents operate whether your circumstances are good or bad.

 

Benefit #6 –Time Is on Your Side

Joseph stunned the two men with his interpretations. To the palace attendant, Joseph predicted his release from prison within three days. To the chef, he predicted death by capital punishment. Joseph pleaded with the palace attendant to remember him once he was released, explaining how he had been unjustly imprisoned. Three days passed, and both the chef and the palace attendant were called back into the presence of the king. The palace attendant was reinstated, and the chef was impaled. But the palace attendant forgot about Joseph.

Joseph remained in jail for another two whole years. Day after day, night after night, nothing changed. Two years may as well have been two hundred years. During this time, he had no assurance things would ever change. Did he realize that time was teaching him and preparing him for greatness?

Waiting for the end to a stressful situation is almost intolerable. There is no end in sight and no promise of better days. Why do we have to be trapped by our situation and reminded of our aggravating limitations? Why does it have to take so long? The answer becomes clear through Joseph’s story.

If we knew the date and time relief would appear, we would not live in the here and now. We would count down the days to freedom, and any lessons we were to learn would be completely ignored. Then we would be ill-equipped to step into our destiny. The date of our escape is kept a mystery so we will focus on our current learning process. The quicker we learn the lesson, the sooner our situation will be resolved.

Winston Churchill was only twenty-five years old when he was elected to Parliament in 1900. He held successive government positions during the years that followed, enjoying public visibility. However, all of this came to an abrupt end in 1929 when he resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer. No longer sought after, his chances of public service were nonexistent, and he began a decade referred to as his “wilderness years.” Although he wrote, traveled, and spoke, he was largely ignored.^^[iv]^^

Those years, endless as they seemed, molded and prepared Churchill to lead Great Britain to victory during World War II. He is thought by many to be one of history’s most effective English prime ministers.

You are no different. The extended challenges you face are teaching you lessons you must learn so that you can offer your greatest contribution. Time is in your favor. It will stretch and test your patience until providence introduces you to your calling. It is not God’s intention to make you hopeless or cause you grief while you wait for your breakthrough. You must prepare yourself as you wait so that when the door of opportunity flies open, you are ready to enter in.

 

Benefit #7 – Practice Poise

After two years had passed, the king of Egypt had a dream that greatly disturbed him. The next morning, the troubled King confided in several of his advisors, but no one could help him understand the dream’s meaning. The palace attendant, however, finally remembered Joseph who had accurately interpreted his dream two years earlier. He quickly informed the King of Joseph’s abilities, and Joseph was immediately summoned. After he shaved and changed his clothes, Joseph was rushed to the palace. There he stood before one of the world’s most powerful kings of that time.

How could Joseph go one minute from serving an indefinite prison sentence to confidently standing before the leader of a nation? He practiced poise, because he placed his confidence in God. He might have looked like an imprisoned slave, but he didn’t act like one, nor did he talk like one. And he didn’t think like one, either. He was living like the person he was to become.

A close friend of mine always used to look for people he could admire and emulate. One day I told him, “Stop looking for heroes and start being the person you want to become.” Similarly, Jeff Goins encourages his readers, “Start in spite of the fact that no one’s given you permission.”^^[v]^^ This is pretty empowering stuff!

You can cower to your circumstances if you like. The archenemy of your confidence and advancement is fear, and it will suffocate you. Fear takes on many forms—worry, phobias, and insecurity—but fear is nothing more than a choice. Fear is not tangible and is often illogical, so you can decide to kick fear out of your mind right now! Can you imagine what it would be like to live fearless?

Place your confidence in God, and you will have poise. If you are facing divorce, walk into the courtroom with dignity. If you have received disturbing news from the doctor about your health, proceed assuredly with your life. Don’t let a plateau in your career shake you up! Lead knowing your future is secure. Let your frustration teach you poise.

 

Benefit #8 – You Can’t Do It

The king described the dreams to Joseph, giving him all the details. “In my first dream, I was standing beside the Nile River. Seven fat cows came out of the river and began to graze close by. However, as they grazed, seven skinny, ugly cows came out of the river and stood beside the healthy cows. They ate up the seven fat cows. Then I immediately awoke.”

The king continued, “After falling asleep again, I had a second dream. There were seven heads of healthy grain growing on a single stalk. However, another seven heads of grain grew, thin and scorched. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy heads of grain. I had these dreams, but no one can interpret them. But I have been told that when you hear dreams, you are able to interpret their meaning.”

After pausing, Joseph replied, “I can’t do it, but God will give the king the true interpretation.”

Joseph proved by his response that throughout his misery, another benefit of his frustration was developing within him. He recognized there were certain things he simply could not do. Conversely, there were things that only God could do. This important attitude produced in him a healthy dependence on God.

Have you ever been told to dig deeper? There are times you do have to pick yourself up by your bootstraps, but other times, you have dug as deep as you can and find nothing to steady yourself. You scrape the bottom of the barrel. But it shouldn’t take years to get to the end of your rope before you reach out for help. Instead of exploding with frustration, you can freely admit, “I can’t do it.” You then turn to God, who is your greatest advocate and ally. The reality is the person who rises to victory the quickest is the one who reaches the end of themselves the fastest. And finds God is there to catch them.

 

Benefit #9 – Discover a Higher Plane

Joseph went on to interpret the dream for the king. Joseph explained, “Through your dream, God is showing you a future event that will impact your country. For seven years, there will be great abundance in the nation of Egypt, followed by seven years of severe famine. In fact, the famine will be so harsh that the years of prosperity will be completely forgotten. And if you are wondering why you had two similar dreams, it is because this outcome has been firmly decided by God.”

Through his tough experiences as a slave and a prisoner, Joseph learned to seek the often unrecognized ways of God. As he discovered new spiritual perspectives, he found himself living on an elevated plane with a higher understanding. He learned that dreams dreamt twice represented absolute certainty of outcome.

You were not created to be overwhelmed and ignorant. The nobility of your original nature should empower you to easily manhandle your frustration. Furthermore, God wants you to understand the purpose of your difficulty, even if it is loss and tragedy. The enlightenment of your situation will help and strengthen you, empowering you to successfully pass through your difficulty.

How can you ever discover a higher plane if you don’t search for it? You get answers because you ask God questions. Your questions are answered because you expect responses from Him. Your difficulty should drive you to seek a more excellent, well-informed way of living. Earnestly ask God for a higher perspective, and He will most certainly reveal it to you.

 

Benefit #10 – Knowing What to Do When Everything Goes Wrong

Without taking a breath or even letting the king acknowledge the resonance of the interpretation, Joseph went on to detail a strategic plan for national security. Joseph charged the king, saying, “The king must immediately identify a wise and discerning individual and appoint them over the country as governor. Commissioners are to be selected to report to the governor, whose responsibility will be to collect and store a fifth of all the grain harvested in Egypt over the next seven years. The food will be stored under the authority of the king and held in reserve to be used during the seven years of famine.”

Joseph finished by telling the king, “If you take this approach, the country will avert disaster.” Joseph understood exactly what had to be done at this complicated point in Egyptian history.

A soldier without combat experience will not know what to do in conflict. An athlete who hasn’t competed will not appropriately pace herself during the actual race. A marriage that hasn’t been stress-tested might not survive adversity. For Joseph, years of rejection, social discrimination, and unfair imprisonment taught him what to do. When sold by his brothers as a slave, he refused bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. Negativity produces bad results, but Joseph’s positive outlook allowed him to make good daily decisions as a household manager. When made a prisoner, Joseph sustained an unwavering certainty in God’s plan for his future, so that he made wise decisions as a prison supervisor. When he stood before the king, he knew what to do.

Even now, your adversity is giving you clarity of mind so that you can make appropriate decisions. Oftentimes, the answer is to simply keep doing what you are doing right now. Don’t be impetuous. Wait and be attentively silent until your direction comes from God. Offer yourself to be trained by frustration so that you understand what to do.

 

Benefit #11 – Fill Your Empty Tank

The king and his officials were taken with Joseph, his interpretation, and his wisdom. Without recessing, the king asked his court, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

We mistakenly think the loss of misfortune is intended to leave us empty, but this doesn’t have to. Joseph’s emptiness was progressively filled with what the king perceived to be the spirit of God. This didn’t just happen when Joseph walked into the palace. It happened each and every day of Joseph’s frustrated existence.

The filling of emptiness is experienced by countless people, many of whom live in obscurity. A mourning widow once recounted how, after the passing of her husband, she lay one night alone in bed. Unexpectedly, she was blanketed by an overwhelming sense of comfort. Her emptiness was filled.

A Vietnam veteran described how his mind and emotions were mended after enduring disturbing scenes and the extended stress of battle. His emptiness was filled. 

In the uncertainty of my job situation, I have experienced time and again a pervasive infilling of peace and strength. I have rejected empty worries, and calmness prevails even without a visible way forward. Search for God, and your emptiness will be filled.

 

Benefit #12 — Get Control over What Controls You

The king proceeded to appoint Joseph over the entire nation of Egypt. The king declared, “I hereby place you in charge over the entire nation of Egypt. Without your word, no one will lift a hand or a foot.” The king gave him his signet ring so that he could execute the plans for collecting and storing food.

Egypt had not been kind to Joseph. It had swallowed him as a slave and loathed him as a prisoner. He had no apparent control over his existence or future. But one day, his day came, and the tables were turned. What controlled him, he now controlled. What ruthlessly ruled him, he now had total authority over.

You were never designed to be subservient, yet your reality often tells you otherwise. Addictions, obsessions, vices, parasitic relationships, negative attitudes, depression, or other weak personality traits compete to govern your life. However, with God, your day is coming! Every frustration you have is building a massive win for you, so that your very weakness will become your strength; your inability to effect change will morph you into an agent of change.

 

Benefit #13 – Expand Your Sphere of Influence

Joseph immediately went to work establishing laws, policies, processes, and infrastructure to collect and store the grain. Even though Joseph was a stickler for record keeping and administration, so much grain was gathered and stored that his commissioners quit tracking collections. But once the initial seven years ended, a horrible draught hit the country just as Joseph had predicted. As it progressed, the land quit being fruitful. There were no longer harvests, and more and more citizens requested food. The famine spread, so that surrounding nations were thrust into the same situation. These countries sent envoys requesting food from Egypt. Joseph ordered that the cities storing the grain be opened. Grain was sold first to the Egyptians and then to foreigners. And so, the country of Egypt survived the seven years of harsh famine.

Joseph’s sphere of influence grew from overseeing the household of a government official to that of operating a prison. His influence continued to expand to an entire nation, and even further to helping much of the known world.

Frustrating circumstances are opportunities in disguise. The full benefit of your uncomfortable situation will never become a reality until you start viewing the world differently. If the glass is half empty, that is the most you will ever get. But if it is half full, you will inevitably advance beyond where you are today. Challenges and impossible situations simply prepare you to receive more: more responsibility, more understanding, more from your family, more from your marriage, more fulfillment, more influence, more blessing from God.

While in Guatemala, a friend of mine tragically lost her twelve-year-old son, Charlie. She and her husband, who were missionaries in Latin America, had always dedicated themselves to helping people in need. However, after the loss of her son, she found it difficult to assimilate her calling to missions.

One day, while still grieving, she heard a knock at the door. A seven-year-old boy stood there, asking her for some bread to eat. While he waited, she prepared him a lunch fit for her son Charlie. She told herself, “Charlie is in heaven and doesn’t need my lunch anymore, but this little boy needs his lunch.” She called it Charlie’s Lunch. Each day, the little boy returned and soon, brought ten other siblings and friends to take home Charlie’s lunch. This sparked something in her and her husband. Their unfortunate loss launched a worldwide ministry that now serves over 6.2 million lunches at forty feeding centers in eight countries. Now, 2,800 children are fed each month in the poorest communities and slums around the world (www.charlieslunch.com).^^[vi]^^^ ^

This mother’s loss and frustration ignited a passion, boosting her and her husband’s influence to help thousands of families worldwide.

 

Keeping the Benefits

Now the question remains: how can you and I benefit from our frustration? Our attitude is the key. While frustration is a prerequisite, the following attitudes sprinkled throughout Joseph’s story are as essential to us as they were to Joseph.

Notice I describe each attitude in first person. I encourage you to read them out loud about yourself.

 

·         I WILL BE BRAVE. I am finished with fear, worry, and doubt. I will be courageous and confident in God. Joshua 1:9: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

·         [*I WILL WALK THROUGH MY FRUSTRATION. *]I won’t avoid it, reject it, or ignore it. I acknowledge my situation, confront it, and embrace it. Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for God is with me.”

·         I WILL LEARN WHAT I AM SUPPOSED TO LEARN. My frustrating situation is tailor-made for me so that I will learn vital lessons. The quicker I learn them, the quicker I will get through my difficulty. Romans 5:3: “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

·         I WILL NOT FALL VICTIM TO MY SITUATION. I am not a victim. I am a victor through Jesus, the Son of God. Either I will win, or my frustration will win. I declare my victory today over my frustration! Deuteronomy 28:13: “If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God, the Lord will make you the head, not the tail.”

·         I WON’T COMPLAIN. I am filing divorce with my pessimism and impotence. My new partner is optimism. Today, I kick negativity out of my thoughts and vocabulary. Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

·         I WILL NEVER SAY DIE. I won’t ever, ever, ever give up! I am in a marathon, not a hundred-yard dash. I Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

 

So What’s Next?

Before I finish, I want to clarify something. The story of Joseph comes from the ancient text of the Bible (Genesis 37 and 39–41). Overlooked, misunderstood, and discounted, the Bible is a never-ending source of inspiration and strength for all who read and practice it. There is a power and authority that emanates from its pages that is nothing short of life-altering. Beyond relaying useful lessons, the Bible points us to the one and only true God, the Creator and Savior of all things.

So, this is not the end. I know that my adventure isn’t over yet and yours probably isn’t, either. Why don’t you let me know what you are going through? Send me an email and tell me about your frustrating circumstance (click here). What life lessons do you think you are supposed to learn? How could your situation possibly turn around to become “the best thing that ever happened to you”? What benefits of frustration most appeal to you? Have you made the decision to push through your challenge? Most importantly, where does God fall into the mix for you?

I really hope this book helps you as much as it is helping me. Be sure to sign up for my weekly strengthening thought (click here) and read my blog at http://www.strengthenme.org/blog.

With God’s help, you will make it through!

 

 

About the Author

Steve Norman is happily married and lives with his family in El Paso, Texas. His passion is helping people grow stronger personally, professionally, and spiritually. Steve has over twenty years of leadership experience in business, consulting, and ministry. Most recently, he served as senior vice president, managing the operations of a $2 billion real estate portfolio. He is a student of the Bible, people, and leadership, which has gained him great insight into what strengthens individuals and teams. He believes there are no accidents in life and all events whether good or bad serve to strengthen the inner person. Steve enjoys writing and speaking, and his blog at strengthenme.org will help you identify how you or any group you are a part of can grow strong.

 

Connect with the Author

Email:  [email protected]

Blog: strengthenme.org

Facebook.com/SteveStrengthenMe

Instagram.com/stevenorman100

Email Signup: https://forms.aweber.com/form/80/1620129780.htm

 

 

Resources

 

***

[i] Rampton, J., “8 Team-Building Mistakes Richard Branson Would Never Make.” Accessed September 10, 2016. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249616.

[ii] Sewell, Carl, [_Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer into a Lifetime Customer _](New York: Pocket Books, 1998).

[iii] Accessed September 10, 2016. www.sewell.com.

[iv] Accessed September 10, 2016. www.churchillcentral.com.

[v] Goins, Jeff, ”Stop Waiting to Be Picked.” Accessed September 10, 2016. http://goinswriter.com/waiting-to-be-picked/.

[vi] Accessed September 10, 2016. http://www.charlieslunch.com/charliesstory.


The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times

  • Author: stevenorman100
  • Published: 2016-11-26 17:35:17
  • Words: 7060
The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times The Good Side of Frustration: 13 Unexpected Benefits of Tough Times