Frustration Knocks: Hope for Creative People

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I walk into a room filled with people and I see many possibilities. I go on to explain my vision. “Maybe we could add a couple of things to the morning program in order to enhance the experience for the kids.” The person who’s over the program fiercely tells me “this is not why I asked you to volunteer in your position. What we are doing is working for us, we need you to do what you were asked to do.” I’m a young adult who just wanted to help more. I have no one to help me process these feelings so I pack my guitar and go home. I come back to the event, day after day and I do what I was asked. At the end of the week the kids do a phenomenal final musical presentation and I close my eyes as they perform, thinking about the God I serve. I pack my guitar and quickly leave before the final thank yous are handed out. I’ve had it and I am hurt. Frustration knocks at my door for the first of many times. 

14 years later I walk into an empty room and I explain my vision. “This is what the walls would look like. I would love to move the center of the room here. I’d love to bring a piece of furniture to this part of the room and change the focal point a bit.” The more I go on, the more blank stares I get. I’ve gotten these reactions before and I can guess what type of answer I will get which is often “no thank you, it has never been done before.” There it is, frustration knocks once more. 

I feel the pain of rejection, I have never been immune to it. The difference is that I now share all the raw details with my husband and best friend who is able to listen and care as well as encourage me to channel my creativity a different way. 

When frustration knocks on my door I can answer in many different ways. I can answer with pride and a boastful attitude. Here’s the problem: I keep my nose in the Bible and I know that God hates Pride and a Haughty spirit. I can answer with Anger. I am entitled to my feelings but as long as I do not let the sun go down on my anger I should be okay. I can also answer the door with a Foolish Attitude. In the first example I gave you I could have grabbed my guitar and hit someone with it. Not a good result, more like jail time - ain’t nobody got time for that. 

The last time frustration knocked at my door, my husband asked me “what do you think is more important: people accepting all your ideas or the fact that God wants you to learn how to work with different people?” All of a sudden, frustration had a purpose in my life. To be honest with you, the pain of rejection felt less like a gunshot wound kind of pain (something that needs to be fixed immediately) but more like a nagging paper cut. I kept feeling it because there was a lesson to be learned. What is the use of being so creative while carrying a haughty spirit? Sometimes ideas are not for ideas’ sake. Sometimes God places us creative people in the middle of reality so that we can touch, smell and feel what reality looks like and so that we can learn to love and work with His precious people. 

So what if my ideas are not accepted? My assignment was not to change that group’s whole world but to add a little of the a lot God has given me. I was to serve them with a humble heart. My dear husband often reminds me that God has given me multiple streams of creativity for this very purpose. If I can’t use it in one place, there’s certainly another way to use it. I don’t lack for ways of using my creativity and for that, I am thankful to God. 

The goal of this post is not to bash the sweet people who couldn’t grasp my vision. I’m actually thankful that they helped me learn a big God lesson. The goal is to maybe give some hope to people who like me, have all these big ideas exploding inside of them and a lot of what they get is frustration knocking on their door. Remember my friend, you can answer with pride, anger, foolishness or as a God given promotion. That’s what lessons learned are, character promotions from our infinitely, creative Creator.