Recently I found myself saying often, "Ugh, this irritates me!", or "She/he is SO annoying!". I realized that I was irritated about someone or something way too often! Irritations are something we all face daily, and are an important part of our lives. I have found that most of my irritations come from one of three sources:
1. Circumstances - a small house, the car broke down, only one bathroom in the house, etc.
2. Self - my weaknesses, my hair, my physical problems/limitations, etc.
3. People - Many times I don't see God's hand in the people He brings into my lives, but really it is very significant who I cross paths with.
Some irritations can be removed, or fixed. It's the ones that aren't in our power to remove – that person or thing – that are hard.
In thinking about those irritations in my life, God spoke to me, and reminded me that the situations I can't change are FULL of potential – depending on my response. (and THAT'S the difficult part!)
Unfortunately,my normal responses for those people, things, or situations that annoy me are often:
1. Blame the other person.
2. Get angry, upset, and frustrated. (Then I'm really not very pleasant to be around!)
3. Complain. (Again, this makes me come across as unpleasant to those around me.)
I realized that those responses, if continued on a regular basis for very long could result in some undesired things. My wrong responses over time can:
A better option, and the one I'm working on, is choosing to let them be the basis for God working in my life to help me grow, make me aware of others' needs, and develop some inward qualities that I am lacking. In other words, I'm choosing to profit from them. I have found that when I deal with irritations the right way they can be greatly used to teach me, and draw me closer to God.
Maybe you're thinking right now about that person or situation that irritates you to death, and wondering how in the world you can choose to respond right. The first thing I try to do is thank God for the irritation. Then I remind myself that God brings people into my life for a purpose, and wants me to be able to get along with those people. As Christians, we should be known for our love. Also, I realized that I can learn from those people He brings into my life, and they can learn from me by my reaction. I have the opportunity to be an encouragement and example to them, and to love them.
When an irritation comes into my life, and I am tempted to respond wrong, I try to remember to ask myself:
1. Did I cause this irritation? Is it due to some fault of mine?
2. What negative traits does this reveal in my life? (Homeschooling moms, haven't you found that when you started teaching your children, it brought out some negative character traits?)
3. What qualities does God want to develop in me? God brings testing to shape and mold us. Perhaps that difficult child you have will help you develop patience, and self-control.
In my life, I would say that at least 95% of the irritating things that I face daily, take place right in my home. I have to constantly think about the fact that I have children watching my responses, and ask God to help me respond in the way that He would want me to. I can allow myself to get upset and complain about the situation, or I can CHOOSE to respond the right way, and let God work in my life!