From Frustration to Empathy

Thank you God for the gentle breeze just when I’m starting to sweat.

Thank you God for the rhythmic loom above where I’m working. Though it is loud, it gives me a rhythm to work to and it tells me that the women upstairs have the work they so desperately need.

Thank you God for the crowded coffee shop, even if I have to sit outside and not in the coolness of the air conditioner inside. It means that they have customers and my friends who work here are happy to have them.

Thank you God for the sun that wakes me in the morning, even if it annoys me on the weekend.

Thank you God for the students who ask me a million questions, that text me at 1 am to tell me they liked the video I posted, or that they finished their homework, or that they have an urgent question that isn’t quite so urgent as they made it out to be.

Thank you God for when I am trying to work and am distracted by the happy squeals of the neighbor kids playing.

Thank you God for allowing me to have the luxury of getting annoyed when someone cleans up after me at home and puts things in the “wrong” place.

Thank you God for all the blessings you give me that I forget are blessings. For all the little things I get annoyed by but then a few hours later realize are so beautiful and wonderful to you and are the things you are using for your will.

I feel like so often we forget that God is working things out for our good, always. I know I’m personally guilty of getting really upset about things I shouldn’t even be bothered by. I’ve found myself frustrated to the point of tears or shouting more than once this past month. I’m learning though that God is using those things to teach me. He doesn’t want me to be annoyed; He doesn’t allow these things to happen purely to test my patience. He wants to see if I will use them as a chance to grow and to make myself a better person each and every day. I used to
think that God let frustrating things happen to teach us to be patient and how to wait.

Now however I’m starting to see that God wants to make us more empathetic towards each other. He wants me to be working with my students and realize that they’re having problems for specific reasons and for me to be able to identify their individual problems and be able to help them. He allows me to have days where I have no internet and I get nothing done and I’m so frustrated and tired and upset so that when one of my students sends me a message that says “Hi miss! I’m so so sorry that I no do my homework of last week! Our internet was not functional
and so I have to do it this week! I am so sorry!” I would be able to say that it is okay because I totally understand her problem. He allows me to have frustration, confusion and headache so I will be more sympathetic to others. When a coworker tells me about something breaking or not
working, I will be ready to offer help. When someone is sick, I’ll be happy to jump in to cover for them because they would and have done it for me.

I believe that God allows things to happen and allows us to experience things to teach us something important that He wants us to learn. God wants my heart to break for other people and for me to be able to know how I wish people had responded for me when something happens so that I will be a better friend and a better person to them. God allows my heart to be broken so that I will be quick to try and mend the hearts of others. So that I will be empathetic to the struggles of those around me and so that I will realize my own mistakes and struggles to help me help others.

Ephesians 5 tells us: “Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children. And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us, a sacrificial and fragrant offering to God.” Lately I’ve been asking myself if I’m imitating God or if I’m acting in my own selfish nature, I’m ashamed to say most of the time it is my own nature that is winning out. But in recognizing it I’m able to know how to better imitate Christ and to walk with Him better. So I encourage all of us to take a moment to stop and ask ourselves, who are we imitating?

-Heather Wrench, GEM Missionary