I've been learning a lot lately through the studies I'm doing. And because I seem to retain concepts longer if I write about them, occasionally I'll try to summarize some of them here.
Currently, I am working through Beth Moore's new study on Esther. This past week's session focused on "meanness." One of the points that Beth Moore made was that "meanness perceives a threat." In other words, when we feel anger rising up in us for no apparent reason, it's a good time to ask, "Why do I feel threatened in this situation?"
I wish I'd had that litmus test at my fingertips when I dealt with my computer issues a few months ago. I alluded in a prior blog to the fact that my dealings with the service people were not very glorifying to God. In hindsight, I think the threat I perceived was that I was being taken advantage of--that they had taken my money to provide a service (i.e., to fix my computer) and that they weren't delivering their end of the bargain (i.e., I picked up a broken computer after a two-week wait). I also felt like I had been led astray when they sent off my computer to Tennessee twice in the span of four weeks because their advertisements make it look like they would come to my house in their little cars and fix my computer if they couldn't fix it on site.
Along the same lines, our pastor preached a few weeks ago on community and the difficulties of living in community. One of the questions he challenged us to think about when we get frustrated with others is to ask, "What am I demanding of this person? To be like me? To think like me? To act like me?" In my computer situation, I wanted them to fix my computer quickly because I needed it for work. Instead, they had their corporate procedures to follow that left me feeling like a number. I couldn't get even one of their employees to apologize for the four-week delay, for their failure to communicate with me, or for the mistakes that they made. In other words, they didn't act the way that I thought they should have, and frustration abounded.
I don't expect knowing which questions to ask myself to shield me from frustration. But I hope that they will help me get to the root of my frustration and to recognize what's really going on in my heart during those times.