Irritation or Invitation?
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) NIV
Recently I have been irritated about stuff in life. Not anything major just life’s quirks. Sound familiar? If we don’t get irritated enough within the walls of our home, all you have to do is turn on the TV or browse social media for a second or two and there is plenty to be irritated about.
This particular week had been especially taxing as it seemed like my husband and I could not agree, my kids seemed to be quarreling a lot more than usual and other miscellaneous frustrations abounded. The tone in our home was not what I knew it should be and far from what God had designed it to be. I would pray for God to help me stay grounded and not let little things bother me. All it took was one little poke or pester from my children and I was right back in irritation mode again. It seemed like I could not shake this irritation thing!
We were in our vehicle, listening to the radio and I heard a brief 1-minute blurb come on as usual featuring an encouraging word for the day. Most days if there’s not a song on the radio gets turned down or a CD gets played but this day it continued on. While I didn’t realize I was paying attention I heard these words, “Every irritation is an invitation to go deeper with God.” I can’t tell you who the speaker was, what else he said or the name of the program. I didn’t even think I was listening, but my heart resonated with that statement. I quickly got out my cell phone and jotted the statement down so as to not forget it.
We arrived at our destination, unpacked and got going with the schedule of the next few days, but in the back of my mind I pondered that statement. Could that really be true? Every irritation? When my kids are fighting, my husband has a different view then me, and the world around me seems to just be off in left field? How is this an invitation to draw closer to God? I think I found the answer in the writings of Paul found in 2 Corinthians. Paul was a great man of God and had done great things. In verse 7 we see in order to keep Paul from getting a big head, God had given him a thorn in his flesh. At first he begged God to take it away, but in the end he started to see it as a gift from God and boasted about his weakness. Because in his weakness God got all the glory.
In the moment that my husband and I don’t agree, it truly is an invitation to have me humble myself before God and allow me to see the situation from a different perspective. When my kids are fighting it’s an invitation to teach them the ways of God and also for me to ask the Lord for patience in dealing with my kids and for creative ways to intervene. When the outside world irritates me, it’s an invitation for me to pray for them and ask the Lord how I can play a part in the redemption plan he’s already set forth.
Put simply irritation is an invitation to put aside my selfishness and control and think of others. Isn’t that how we get irritated anyway? When things don’t go our way. By laying aside our selfishness and asking the Lord to help us see the world through his eyes we are indeed going deeper with him and becoming more Christ like. Jesus put others first even to the point of death. By releasing control to Christ we can say, like Paul, that Christ gets all the glory. It’s counterintuitive, and definitely countercultural but the invitation is to stop making things about “me.” It’s all God’s. The things that irritate me are usually things I am holding onto too tightly or trying to get my way.