Background: As I’m on my knees cleaning juice off the floor, I recall the conversation I had with my oldest son not more than 30 minutes ago. He was asking for a dog. The kid that runs and hides if one is even in sight, is asking me for dog. You must have left your brain on your pillow little boy to think I’m going to care for and clean up after another living being in this house.
On top of the dog foolishness, spilt juice, and being late because I had to clean up the juice, I’ve broken 7 out of 10 of my nails and it just dawned on me that I forgot to brush my teeth. I feel like the Incredible Hulk. I’m trying my best to contain my rage, but some clothes are about to rip off up in here. I just wanna get away so no one will get hurt.
Unfortunately the author of the P31 portion of Proverbs did not include the frustrations, failures or concerns of the P31 woman. But rest assured, she was a woman, so she experienced these things. But what the passage does give us in verse 26 is how we should always react.
Proverbs 31:26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
Typically when one is frustrated, not-so-nice things happen or are said to both innocent and guilty bystanders. But in order to practice the ways of the P31, it is very clear that only wise words and kind words of instruction should come from our mouths. So even in our frustration, we must teach those who frustrate us, and do it with kindness. What a big task! Somewhere in the book of Proverbs it talks about how a silly woman tears down her house with her words. So here in Proverbs 31 we are given the antidote for that silliness. Rather than tearing people down (and sometimes things) when we have had it up to the follicles on our scalp, we must educate and empower those who spark our frustration.
The big questions are: how do we not become frustrated in the first place and how do we back ourselves down off that frustration cliff? I have no answer for how to avoid frustration but there are ways to back yourself away from the edge. My most frequently used technique is “walk away”. I literally tell my kids to “walk away” if they are the straw that brings about mounting frustration. Or I may walk away. Walking away isn’t always an option, sometimes you have to talk through your frustrations. In this situation, you would immediately use verse 26. This next one is to be done when you are finally alone, you’ve escaped tearing someone or something down, but still need to get off the cliff. Crying. Yes crying. You release so much tension when you do it. Exercise will be my last suggestion, I’m sure you could think of others.
Just recall that the P31 offers wisdom when she opens her mouth and she teaches with kindness. Let’s build, even in our weak, unstable moments of frustration.
References: Proverbs 31:26