Exasperate – irritate and frustrate (someone) intensely.
I have the ability to exasperate others, not intentionally (okay, most of the time not intentionally), but just by way of my matter-of-fact thinking. I can be very black and white in my thinking about certain things, and yet out of the box thinking about other things. I can come off as a know-it-all as I love research and can quickly find answers to things. I have strong opinions, and my personality in general is very assertive, so at times people won’t disagree even if I am dead wrong (which really exasperates me). I have some level of self awareness about myself, so I have empathy for those I frustrate unintentionally.
Here is a little truth though, I frequent exasperated myself. I can definitely relate to Paul when he writes:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Romans 7:18-20 ESV
My best laid plans often fail as I let my flesh have its way. There are things that I know I need to do, that I even want to do, that I can’t make myself do consistently. There are things that I don’t feel like I should do that I do anyway, and then feel exasperated because I did it. There are things that I know God has laid on my heart to do, but I find myself hesitating to step out.
I know I also exasperate God with my “Here I am use me, God. I will do anything You ask of me.” Shortly after I am questioning, “What do You mean You want me to say that or do that?” Followed by “God how about you give me this sign, so I know that it is really You?” Usually resulting in a “You mean like, right now?” So often I will spend so much time questioning, that the opportunity passes.
When I am obedient to what God asks of me, even after all the anxious questions, there is a peace that surpasses understanding. His peace comes almost immediately, even when those questions of if I did it right try to flood my mind. My heart may be racing when I step out, but that calm that comes after makes it all worth the risk.
On the flip side, I find myself exasperated with myself when I tell God “no,” with my actions. Or when I spend so much time questioning that eventually I end up quenching the move of the Spirit. I know that is a dangerous place to find myself. I know that God’s grace meets me there, but I do not want to get to a place where I exasperate Him so much that His Spirit stops speaking.
My prayer lately has been for the Lord to help me get past me. I recognize that I am my biggest barrier in stepping out for Him. It is not the enemy that trips me up, I can usually see him coming. It is not others that get in my way, I recognize that if God has called me to something it may not be what others want of me. I can give them back to God. It is my own actions and inactions that exasperate me when I need to be stepping out for Him.
This post is part of a 28 days series on Stepping Out inspired by the #Write28Days Blogging Challenge by Anita Ojeda.