Are Annoyances Ruling Your Life?

Pets are supposed to be good for us, but I’m convinced there’s at least one pet we should never adopt. In fact, we should get rid of the ones we own: The pet peeve.

We all have them, right? Those things that get under our skin and irritate the dickens out of us. Sometimes I think I have enough peeves to open a pet store.

I’ve learned, however, that these pets cause me nothing but misery. They seem harmless at first, but eventually they affect my attitude and my attitude affects my actions. So I go from mildly annoyed by something to increasingly frustrated to that guy who over-reacts, usually by saying or doing something I regret.

Ever wonder if Jesus had pet peeves? We know He got angry, like when the priests allowed the temple to become a “den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13). And we know He spoke plainly about sin and righteousness, never backing away from God’s truth. But we also know that Jesus grew in “favor” with man (Luke 2:52), which, in part, indicates that He didn’t have unnecessary annoyances with the people around Him.

He was critical of the self-righteous, religious hypocrites. But maybe He was even more annoyed by His disciples when they showed a lack of faith or when they fell asleep when they should have been praying. And I can only imagine how frustrating it is for Him to watch over my life. Yet, I don’t get the sense that the religious hypocrites or His disciples got under His skin, and I’m confident in the grace he continues to shower on me.

It’s the word “unnecessary,” I think, that sets Jesus apart from the rest of this on this matter. Where most of us allow people and circumstances to unnecessarily push our proverbial buttons, Jesus was and is calm, patient and kind, filled with compassion and grace. When Jesus was upset, it was always with good reason. Me? Not so much. How about you?

Right now, my two prevailing pet peeves are bad drivers and poor customer service. In fact, I told a friend the other day that I believe until I learned to be more Christ-like when dealing with unhelpful customer service calls, God will continue to allow me to have more customer service issues.

Not surprisingly, when I began to focus on being a nicer customer, two things happened. One, I didn’t get as frustrated with the inept customer service reps. And, two, I found myself dealing more often with friendly and helpful customer service reps. Strange how my attitude toward others impacted their attitude toward me.

I’ve been praying lately about dealing with my pet peeves – about getting rid of the ones I own and not adopting new ones. And I’ve found two questions help me adjust my attitude when I find myself unnecessarily annoyed by life:

  1. Am I abiding in Christ? If I’m abiding in Christ, I’m connected to what matters, not what’s unnecessary. If I’m not, then I recognize the need to surrender to him, re-connect with him, and stick close to him.
  2. Am I holding on to something that belongs to God? Pet peeves are a form of worry. They represent something outside of my control, but not outside of God’s control. When I let go of them and give them to God, he invariably takes them away.

It may take some time, but I’m hoping to close down this pet store.

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