Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Are Irritation, Frustration & Stress Eating Up Your Writing Time? by Zoe M. McCarthy

Zoe M. McCarthy
Recently, I had a relapse. When I was ready to accomplish a task on my tablet, a message popped up prompting me to update my operating system to a new version. Then that same day, when eager to write on my manuscript, another message interrupted me on my computer, telling me I needed to update software. Minutes later, a third device also sent a message wanting me to take action on something. Three in one day!

I felt good about performing a major update. But the update caused my writing software to fail to open. I had to research my problem online, delete the software, and reinstall it. Twice. Because I’d missed a step.
Frustrated? Who me?
image by chezbeate


Then, I needed to print one 8 x 10 photo for a promotion. After it printed, the bottom was marred. I had to replace the ink cartridge and perform the alignment, then print the large photo again.

Too often, I was ready to dive in and accomplish a 5-minute task, and it turned into a half-hour job.

My machines seemed like they were out to get me. They’re supposed to be helpful tools, right? Not time gobblers. Boy, did my accountability partners get an eyeful when I reported.

STOP! — CUT! — TIME OUT!

I know better than to allow a frustrated state to control me. I’d ignored three things I’ve been studying and working on in my life.

1.      I seek God and pray every morning and throughout the day that He will guide me.

God knows all these technical interruptions. And when I need a solution, as in the case of the software failing to open, He guides me in my research to a remedy.

The worst time waster is getting upset and taking fifteen minutes to complain about it to my dear accountability partners. (Eating up their time to read it.)

When I’m rattled, I don’t think clearly. That state slows down hearing God’s solutions.

2.       I lead a Bible study on standing firm in our faith no matter what happens.

I use Daniel for a role model. He stuck by his convictions, trusted God to show him favor, and never became reactive in his circumstances.

As a captive in Babylon, Daniel had determined before he entered into the king’s dining hall that he would not eat the king’s food and compromise God’s laws. He used the wisdom God gave him to consume only vegetables and water.

The enemy wants me upset and to waste my time. I know up front that technical interruptions push my irritation button. I can choose ahead of time, that I will not give in to annoyance when they occur.

If I commit to follow Daniel’s example in every situation, the enemy would probably give up. And, I might experience less technical interruptions.

3.       For about the last 10 years, I’ve been learning how to abide in Jesus.

I know the right thing to do is to stop my me-focused frustration, and seek Jesus. He’s present and available.

I have the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19) and the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). But I have to connect with the Spirit and Christ’s mind in order to operate like Christ.

An upset and vexed state takes down my connection.

I’m glad I stumbled for a time. It helped me see the next growth step in each area I’m working on above. Like Daniel, I’m determined to commit now, before these interruptions occur, to choose Christ instead of exasperation.

When have you turned your back on frustration in irritating situations?


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How to overcome frustration before it occurs. Click to tweet.

About the Author

Zoe M. McCarthy believes the little known fact that opposites distract. Thus, she spins Christian contemporary romances entangling extreme opposites. Her tagline is: Distraction to Attraction, Magnetic Romances Between Opposites. Now retired actuaries, Zoe and her husband evaluated the financial risks for insurance companies. Nick, in Zoe’s debut novel, Calculated Risk, is an actuary. Christian Fiction Online Magazine published two of her short stories. Zoe self-published two books of contemporary Christian short stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She enjoys leading workshops on the craft of writing; speaking about her faith; planning fun events for her 5 grandchildren; and exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she lives with her husband, John. 

Learn more about Zoe M. McCarthy at her website: http://zoemmccarthy.com

Calculated Risk
by Zoe M. McCarthy
Calculated Risk

What happens when an analytical numbers man meets a mercurial marketing Rep? Romance is a calculated risk…

Jilted by the latest of her father’s choices of “real men,” Cisney Baldwin rashly accepts an invitation to spend Thanksgiving weekend with a sympathetic colleague and his family. Nick LeCrone is a man too much her opposite to interest her and too mild-mannered to make her overbearing father’s “list.” Now, Cisney fears Nick wants to take advantage of her vulnerable state over the holiday. Boy, is she wrong.

Nick wants little to do with Cisney. She drives him crazy with all her sticky notes and quirks. He extended an invitation because he felt sorry for her. Now he’s stuck, and to make matters worse, his family thinks she’s his perfect match. He’ll do what he can to keep his distance, but there’s just one problem—he’s starting to believe Cisney’s magnetism is stronger than he can resist.

Purchase links for Calculated Risk: http://zoemmccarthy.com/books

1. Daniel:

a. Was not demanding, rude, or hurtful to others.
b. Did not panic, lash out, or beg.
c. Thought through his convictions well before temptations arose.
d. Used his God-given gifts to survive faithfully.
e. Trusted God would honor his obedience to God.
f. Trusted God completely for the words to say, for guidance in his actions, and for the strength to bear whatever happened.
g. Believed seeking and praying to God were the most powerful thing he could do.
h. Believed that his circumstances might change, but God did not.
i. Had a firm foundation of understanding who God is and what He can do.
j. Recalled God’s attributes and trusted that God never changes from His attributes.
k. Recognized what God did for him, and praised and thanked Him.
l. Sought other Christians to encourage, help, and pray for him in times of need.
m. Gave credit to God for what God did for him and others.




11 comments:

  1. Zoe, I fear I stumble often in these times of difficulty. I just keep trying to do better and pray for God's guidance.

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    1. Praying for God's guidance is key, Terri. I love this verse: The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

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  2. I've altered my behavior due to this post by laying all aspects of my current frustration before God. Enjoyed the Daniel list too.

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    1. I pray the frustration causer is solved, Marcia. I must confess I hadn't meant to put the Daniel list in the post. I must have stuck it there as a help to my second point. I developed the list for a Bible Study I lead. I could chalk it up to another technical error, but I think God must have wanted it there!

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  3. Zoey, this is such a good reminder. I misplaced my cell phone and spent at least one anxious hour, praying that I could find it, looking for it. "Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee." came to mind. When I calmed down, I sighed, and just happened to notice the coat I had been wearing the day before. I checked the pocket and bingo. You're right about frustration. It's a time waster.

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  4. Oh, my!!! I can certainly relate to all of those frustrations - and more! Thanks for this post, Zoe.

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    1. You're welcome, Dawn. I'm finding I'm in good company with the tech problems.

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  5. I am in a constant state of interruption, so know frustration way too well. As a pastor's wife, and caregiver to twin adult sons with autism and mother-in-law with Alzheimer's, I've had to learn to pick my battles and just go with the flow. Not. Easy. And I too often find myself kicking at life when I should simply rest and let God carry me.

    My husband and I talk about these things as "chasing donkeys." When Saul was out chasing his father's donkeys, he met up with the prophet Samuel and was anointed king.

    We never know when we're out chasing donkeys what God will bring us to. He has a plan. Why is it so hard for me to rest in that!??!

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    1. Karla, I love the "chasing donkeys," especially when God meets us there. You certainly have a field for frustrations. I hope you and God have gotten to know each other very well through the chasing donkey opportunities.

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  6. That sounded like my daily experience, with different details! Everything I start needs an adjustment, repair, or takes longer than I expected. Frustration is always threatening to take my peace and delete my energy. Trusting, Like Daniel, that God is still in charge makes it a whole lot easier to take a deep breath and roll with it. This week has been chocked full of gremlins, large and small. Thanks for the reminder!

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