Yesterday , I posted a blog, What to Do About Annoying People. I ended the blog stating that most of the time, I discover, that when someone is annoying me it is because I have an agenda which I have determined cannot be changed. When I need to spend time writing because I have deadlines on books, I will find myself getting snippy with my boys and wondering why they cannot understand the importance of my work. On the opposite side of the fence, they get whiney or upset with me because they do not understand what could be more important than playing the really fun video game which they'd like me to join them on.
I've been doing a lot of unintentional pondering the last few weeks on what really matters to God. When I say 'unintentional' this is what I mean. In the past, I have allowed myself to get absolutely bent out of shape and worked up over silly deadlines or events. I was just speaking to my husband the other day about a shift that I've noticed. Lately, I've had moments where I find myself a lot calmer than I'd usually be. It doesn't make much sense because I'm still working with a lot of authors, raising a family, and keeping a home in order. Nothing has changed on my schedule. What has changed is my perspective. I've begun stepping back, taking a breath, talking to God about the situations, and turning those worries or fears over to him instead of hanging on to them.
This is not a revolutionary concept. It is something I have heard to do my entire life because I grew up in churches who taught the Word of God. Why then is it that all of the sudden I can see a difference in my life? Because...brace yourself...I'm actually living out what God's word says.
"Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!" James 1:22 MSG
I am not saying this to get a pat on the back or a high five. I'm saying this to help shake your spirit. Over and over again, I heard people tell me various testimonies of how God showed His Word to be true in the lives of those who lived it out instead of just quoting it. We can memorize all the scriptures in the world but it will be no different than memorizing any other book if we do not apply them within our lives.
How about the scripture which encourages us to be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10), have you ever heard that one? How often do you find yourself implementing it in your own life? I remember a time when I was searching for a job, I felt very desperate. We had very little income and the small income we had would soon be disappearing when my husband started tech school. I had applied many places but things were not happening the way that I wanted them to happen. When I finally broke down and said, "God, really, what is it you want me to do?" I heard him tell me, "Go to the park." It was the kind of response that I wanted to dismiss as the devil trying to distract me only I couldn't because I knew in my heart this is what God was instructing me to do.
Now, from an outside perspective this might seem like a very lazy thing to do. Why take my sons to the park when I should be apply for jobs and trying to find an income? Because God's ways are not our ways. His kingdom is not built with the same mindset we use to build things here on earth. God was trying to teach me, in that moment to be still and know that He was God. He was in control and He was taking care of my family.
I've probably told this story enough times that those closest to me have gotten sick of hearing it but that will not stop me from continuing to tell it because others need to know what it looks like to live kingdom minded. They need to be encouraged to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Why? Because I also need to be encouraged in these things.
Today, I want to encourage you, give God a chance to steal your show, allow Him the opportunity to rewrite you're schedule. But don't do this unless you're serious about it. Because once you say, "God, what do you want me to do?" He may respond with something that is really difficult to fulfill. Something like, "Take the kids to the park. Go for a walk. Watch that rabbit nibble on your grass."
All too often, I was afraid to ask because I thought God was going to tell me something way too difficult like, "Move your family overseas." Why on earth would He ever entrust me with such a task like moving overseas if he knew I wouldn't even be obedient with something as simple as, "Go to the park"?
As much as we might love living out this life here on earth, as Christian, we must shift our mindset to kingdom living. This is not our home. This should not plague us with fear but instead encourage us to live our lives as little children, taking pleasure in all the little things our busy schedules often leave us taking for granted.
God wants to use us to accomplish great things but first he must see that we are capable of completing the small ones.
I've been crazy busy. So busy that I have forgotten to stop and do some of my own writing. But today I was taking a moment to stop and ponder, which led me to wonder if someone else could also benefit from my pondering.
Today I was thinking about the person who gets under my skin. It's not one specific person, it has been numerous people in my lifetime. Some close relatives, some friends, some people whom I didn't even know their name. How does this happen? Why does this happen?
Let me provide a scenario of what I mean.
When I was working in retail, it didn't matter if it was at the corporate level or store level, there were annoying customers. Maybe it was the person who walked in with an attitude and said, "Hey! Can I get some help over here?" It would have been fine if they hadn't asked in a snotty tone which came across as if they were annoyed with the worker specifically. Or, in the corporate world, the customer who said, "Well, I understand we have these processes in place but you need to figure out how to make this an exception because this person way up the chain wants this to be a priority." Again, it would probably be no big deal if the same excuse wasn't used for almost every project. (Just for the record, if everything is to be considered "an exception" you should probably reconsider the process as a whole, there's something broken.)
Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because I am pondering, as a Christian, how does God want us to deal with these kinds of situations? If that doesn't feel like an arrow to the heart you might be a little better at handling these than me. Kudos!
Let's look at a few scriptures that might help us determine how God wants His children to deal with these kinds of people. People that tend to get under our skin.
"If someone wants to sue you in court and take your shirt, let him have your coat also." Matthew 5:40 NCV
"It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud. Don’t become angry quickly, because getting angry is foolish." Ecclesiastes 7:8&9 NCV
"With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered." Proverbs 11:9 ESV
“But I say to you who are listening, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who are cruel to you. If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek, too. If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and when someone takes something that is yours, don’t ask for it back. Do to others what you would want them to do to you. If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners love the people who love them. If you do good only to those who do good to you, what praise should you get? Even sinners do that! If you lend things to people, always hoping to get something back, what praise should you get? Even sinners lend to other sinners so that they can get back the same amount! But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because he is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy." Luke 6: 27-36 NCV
There are many, many other scriptures where God provides direction on how to deal with people that have a tendency to get under our skin. But pretty much all of them can be summed up in this instruction: love them.
Is it really that easy? Yes, it really truly is that easy. To deal with these people we must:
1. Relinquish Our Pride
Our pride has a way of making us see ourselves as more important than we are in the grand scheme of things. When we allow our pride to a voice it will say, "How dare that person speak to you in such a way!" This is not to say we should roll over and take a beating of verbal abuse. However, pride often has a throw a punch back rather than respond in gentleness. For the record, fire always starts fire, it never puts it !
2. Exercise Compassion
I get it exercise takes work, all that cardio and weight training. It is the same on a spiritual level. It can be exhausting. Thankfully, we don't have to exercise things like compassion, love, and kindness by our own strength.
"I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 NCV
God wants us to rely on Him to deal with annoying people. He wants us to ask him and allow ourselves to be open vessels for Him to flow through.
Accept that you too have been or will be an annoying person to someone. Yes, it is true and you know it. There will be a day when you are in a hurry and get snippy with someone, or when you're unsure and feel as if you need someone else's reassurance so you ask the same question for the 10th time. I know this to be true because I have been that annoying person.
The best way for us to stop allowing others to get under our skin or stop allowing ourselves to get under the skin of others is to "Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well." Matthew 6:33 NCV
When I busy planning out my day and trying to get the things I have determined to be important done, people annoy me. And I know, for a fact, I annoy those closest to me such as my husband and children. But when I stop and say, "Is this really this important?" it helped to put this into a better perspective.
The moral of the story, most people don't realize they are being annoying, exercise patience and compassion when coming across them. It may not change the situation or make them less annoying but it will sure change your perspective which will in turn change your heart towards them.
A New Identity
What is this blog about? You mean, I'm supposed to have a purpose? Ok, if that's required then my purpose is life.
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