Dealing with Daily Frustrations

Dealing with Daily Frustrations

my feelings

Don’t you love it when a post comes and smacks you right in the face? I read this post last week when Lysa first sent it to me, and then again yesterday as I set it up to post. Wouldn’t you know that just yesterday I was struggling with unglued emotions and my own raw reactions to someone who frustrated me? This post has humbled and convicted me, as has Lysa’s new book, Unglued, which I am currently reading (and loving, because it’s just the type of gut-honest, Biblically-based approach to dealing with raw emotions that I know I need).

Guest post by Lysa TerKeurst

I was talking with a customer service agent from an online company I have enjoyed doing business with for years. I called thinking she could help me with a return. But when I explained I needed to return this certain item, things started to head south with our conversation.

She informed me that my item wasn’t on the returnable list. It was on the final sale list. I had no clue there was a returnable list and a final sale list. It wasn’t posted online or stated in their catalog.

I logically stated my case and felt syre she would see things my way. But she didn’t. No matter what I said or explained, she wouldn’t budge.

I knew the lady on the other end of the phone was just following procedure, but it made no sense. It wasn’t right and I was frustrated!

And my tone of voice made it clear just how frustrated I was.

Later that same day, I was in line at the grocery store behind a man who wanted to use an expired coupon. The check out gal calmly stated she couldn’t honor his coupon. Well, he didn’t like that one bit. And he made sure everyone around them knew how much he didn’t like this situation.

I stood back appalled at his actions.

Until … I started thinking about the fact that I’d acted almost the same way with the customer service agent who refused what I wanted. The conviction wove its way through my heart and made me feel so badly for the way I’d reacted toward that woman.

After my call, she probably moved on to the next frustrated customer. And then the next. And then the next. Suddenly, I felt so sorry for her.

I decided it wasn’t her desire to not be able to help me. She was truly just following the orders of the higher-ups at her company. I imagined her packing up her things at the end of another long day and heading home. A home where she had to face her own daily aggravations and frustrations.

That’s when it hit me. While on the phone, I never pictured her as a person really. To me, she was just a voice on the other end of the phone that was causing me extreme frustration.

How might my reaction have been different if I’d stopped to think about her as a woman just like me? What might it be like to be her, to live her life, and to have to go to her job every day?

I decided God was trying to get my attention to be more aware of my reactions. More aware of handling daily frustrations in a way that reflects a heart that loves the Lord. In today’s key verse, Luke 8:15, Jesus reminds us, “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (NIV 1984)

I want Jesus’ message to fall on a heart that is humble and fertile enough to:

Receive God’s Word …

Retain God’s instruction, and …

Reflect God’s character in both my action and reactions.

When I stop to think about this I am challenged. Whether I am talking with a customer service representative I don’t know or interacting with those I do everyday life with, I want to work towards being a woman who displays godly character. Just like Luke 8:15 encourages, whether I’m having a frustrating conversation or a friendly one, may God’s messages of truth have such an impact on me that my heart and my mouth remain noble and good.

Sometimes it can be really hard to keep our emotions in control on a daily basis. In Lysa’s new book, Unglued, she shares personal experience and scriptural wisdom to help us make right, godly and healthy decisions with our reactions. Click here to get your copy of Unglued today.

How do you handle frustrations and raw emotions that threaten to make you come unglued?

Unglued Blog Tour

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  1. This is so good! During the day, I take a lot of calls from customers, some of which seem to think that my sole purpose in life is to work out the issue they’re having even when it may be something literally impossible for me to do. They think I’m this magical voice on the other line, not a real person with multiple responsibilities and pressures. When actually, I’m overwhelmed at work, longing to stay home with my child, and working hard at night too to try to establish a business to allow me to be home. On the other hand, I can be accused of treating my customers in the same way: simply an annoyance on the phone! It’s not right of me! Another time this comes into play is on the road. It seems that when people are behind the wheel they suddenly aren’t people anymore, just a car that dared to cross our path!

  2. I’m also in the customer service business and it’s long been my opinion that everyone should do a stint in retail over the Christmas holidays and see if they still have the desire to yell at the lowly peons who are doing exactly what they’ve been told to do by those in charge. I’m also guilty, though, even with my background. I almost yelled at a small business owner because I had messed up the shipping address and they had not taken adequate steps to help me correct it. Turns out they had already fixed the issue and I was left appalled by my almost-actions (which since I’m a perfectionist means it totally counts). And I saw the book “Unglued” in bookstores yesterday. How cool to read this article this morning.

  3. Thank you for this!!! It is this “seeing the person serving you as. a. person.” that I have long thought everyone should work at least one retail job in their lives. Once you’ve walked a mile in those shoes, it’s really hard to ever look at the person in the drive thru window or the person waiting your table as anything less than a person also in need of God’s goodness and grace. While they are serving you as a part of their job, you can also serve them by letting the light of Christ shine in such a way as to make Him attractive.
    I have by no means perfected this – especially with phone calls. I have been trying to remember to tell the person on the other end that my frustration is not directed at them. Usually, that simple statement helps set a much more pleasant tone for the conversation.

  4. This was such an encouragement for me to hear, although perhaps I’m seeing it from a different perspective. You see, I’m an insurance agent. One thing I’ve found in the last couple years is that people truly do not see insurance agents as human beings. The things people have said to me on the phone have made me cry, pray for them, blush to think of repeating, and also, get very angry. It gets even worse when I realize that here in Bible belt, most of the people that verbally abuse me are probably very polite churchgoers that I would be friends with if I met them in a different setting. It definitely makes me act very differently when I deal with customer service reps on the phone in my personal life.

    My husband is in his last year of school, and we are currently expecting our first child. So there is a light at the end of this tunnel in that I’ll be quitting my job when I get closer to my due date and his graduation. However, in the meantime, I am sick and exhausted and emotional 24 hours a day, but still working full time; and I can’t help but wonder if people on the other end of the phone would treat me differently if they knew that I was a woman just like them, in a particularly difficult season of her life? Just a thought to keep in mind next time you’re dealing with an aggravating phone call 🙂

  5. I have done that very thing — but have realized it in the middle of the call. I apologize profusely and tell them I’m not frustrated with them, just the situation. Most of the time I notice a dramatic change in their tone as they talk with me, and, even though I still don’t get my way, at least I know I haven’t made their day worse — they know I care for them.

  6. Thank you for sharing where God lead you. I work on showing gratitude to the clerks, the garbagemen, postmen ect. On the other side as a customer service provider when faced with the unhappy client, and for that matter away from work.. the angry driver and also the depressed, sick, or any sort of hurt… I try internally to see them not as their projections but as a Holy Son of God and to see them safe happy, healed and whole. It has been wonderful when I remember to do this.

  7. This post was an answer from God to a question that has been bothering me lately. Since my 5-yr-old started kindergarten I have been very disappointed by the lack of teaching and the waste of precious school time on just play and “educational” TV shows. With all this going on, I could feel in my spirit that something was off. Just a half an hour ago I was praying about this on my quiet time and here it is! I’ve been judging my boy’s teacher, not thinking that there are so many factors to this situation (her personal issues, the amount of students and their differing levels, no helpers, etc.). The school curriculum and management of time is a whole different story that still has to be considered, but I’ve been forgetting that she is an actual person, who needs the Lord’s grace as much as I do, and to whom I should be extending it. I will continue to pray for her (in a more gracious way), and will just have to be wiser and more surrendered to the Lord in the way I handle this situation.
    Thank you so much! And thank you Lord!

  8. This post is very inspiring,…. I am really like you…. and sometime not only I do not why I have such reactions but also I do not know how to controll them…

    But I know that I amy improve with the help of God and learn how to avoid them…

    Moreover I will read your book… I think I may ba a beginning..



  9. I’ve been the “College Alumni Fundraiser” call person. I’ve also been the radio advertising or Pitney Bowes salesman. Now I deal with those people quite a bit differently than at my previous job. It’s definitely possible to convey a bit of love and grace, simply by realizing this person is doing their job. (provided they’re doing it with integrity…I’ve also experienced just plain bad service…which God uses to teach me about forgiveness…hehe)

  10. Wow, how timely. I am sitting here at 10 o’clock at night waiting for my husband to get home from a “quick” after-work drink with his co-workers. I was growing increasingly frustrated that he wasn’t home to spend time with ME, to help ME feed the kids dinner, to help ME put the kids to bed, to feel sorry for ME because I have a headache… Then I read this. And I stop to think about how hard he has been working, about how he stayed up until 2:30 am last night working on a project, about how he has been so busy lately, providing for our family. Thank you for some much needed perspective.

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