Frustration is something I’ve been pondering in a season where exposure to frustration has been a cherished opportunity, yet only cherished as a product of later reflection. Gradually God has been teaching me something about frustration through my immersion in it. Not that I haven’t had significant immersion in frustration beforehand; just that this season has sprinkled frustration throughout my experience effervescently.
This is what God has shown me: frustration is alleviated when identity is addressed in: 1) knowing our purpose; 2) accepting it; and, 3) embracing it.
Knowing our purpose in life is crucial. Knowing and accepting are linked, but until we know our purpose we cannot accept it. Our purpose is more fundamental than we think: it’s being a citizen (of heaven and earth), a son or a daughter, a spouse (if blessed with a partner), a father or mother (if blessed with children), a worker contributing into the world of God’s Kingdom. Knowing is basic, yet so many never take the time to reflect on what’s right in front of them. Knowing ourselves is central to knowing who we are in Christ. Knowing ourselves brings us into confrontation with our purpose.
Yet, knowing our purpose brings us to a problem: our purpose may be something with which we’re not entirely comfortable. We may not like our lives. We may resent our pasts. We may not like what’s coming in our futures. Our present moments might rekindle torment, and often. But until we wrestle with these concepts of state, we cannot accept that which otherwise proves futile. Accepting what we cannot change is the only platform to growth through undesirable states into something abundantly better.
Embracing what we now accept is quite a simple and joyous step. In this space, we find it an honour to live our ordinary lives to the extraordinary glory of God. Resilient against the wiles of thuggery that this life casts our way, our joy is able to transcend the ugly bits of our identity in joining faithfully with God’s.
What a blessing it is to get beyond the desire to escape our lives, to know, to accept, and to embrace what God’s given us freely in His grace.
Identity is a cord with three ropes: knowing who God made us to be, accepting, then embracing it for His glory. Such a cord is strong in the identification of our bearing His image for His purpose.
Purpose and identity are entwined. Purpose gives meaning to identity and identity propels us purposefully.
Steve Wickham is a pastor who holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling.
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