But…this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 1 Samuel 8:6, NKJV
When Samuel, the last of Israel’s judges, was near the end of his life, the people of Israel were worried about who would lead them next. They rejected Samuel’s sons as their next judges and demanded to have a king like all the other nations. Samuel took it personally, but when he prayed about it, God comforted him.
Have you ever been displeased? I know sometimes things happen, or someone says something that displeases me. It might be the quality of a student’s work, a comment from a colleague, a policy from the administration, or even the wilted lettuce on my sandwich. But the question is, what do I do in those situations? All too often, in my frustration, I have “vented” to a friend. But that is probably not the best response. Depending on how I vent, it could violate professional standards. Or worse, it could violate God’s standards. Multiple scriptures warn us to be careful with our speech, not to slander or gossip. I also know it is unhealthy to ignore my emotions and pretend everything is fine. So, what can I do?
A few years ago, I struggled with the disruptive practices of another person on our staff. This teacher was young, inexperienced, and unconventional. Potentially dangerous behaviors were often tolerated in that classroom. Comments or suggestions from me were met with derision. Attempts to mollify or reconcile were met with hostility. And although the administration was monitoring the situation, I still had to persevere and not constantly tattle.
Then one day, I had an inspiration. I realized that I could go to God with all the things that displeased me. I started a special journal where I could vent all my frustrations to the One who already knew exactly what had occurred. It’s not gossip if I tell it to God! As I began to tattle to God, rather than friends, I began to see areas where I was overzealous or imperfect, and I began to pray for this teacher. I discovered that by doing this, I was able to move on rather than stew over whatever had happened. I had processed my emotions and honored God.
When we are displeased, we don’t have to pretend we are not upset or sin by gossiping about it. Instead, we can take our frustrations to the One who is able to comfort us and provide solutions.
Lord, thank you for always patiently listening to us. Help us remember to bring our frustrations and concerns to You instead of ignoring them or gossiping about them. Surround us with Your peace. We know You are faithful and will show us the right way to respond. Amen.
Copyright Diana Anderson.
Diana Anderson is a member who teaches history and art to secondary students at a Christian school in Kennewick, WA.