When Everyone is Irritating You…

waiting rain+

 

It was a difficult day.

Actually, it had been an unyielding week. The rain and cold weather had been infiltrating my bones to the point that I didn’t even want to get out of bed.

On top of that, I was feeling annoyed at almost everyone. I mentally made a list of all the things that I needed to talk to my daughter about. She was falling short in numerous ways and I needed to correct her. Everything I thought of presented a problem that needed to be addressed.

My husband and my friends had also fallen short. Each of them was doing things to annoy me. They were not being kind. They were not listening to me. They were being demanding. I wondered why everyone was being so difficult. Somehow, each person who crossed my mind was not measuring up in some way or another.

Of course, this couldn’t have come at a worse time. I needed my friends and family to be helpful and sympathetic, not irritating and thoughtless. But perhaps I just needed to tell them how I was feeling. I resolved to tell each of them at the right moment.

In the early afternoon, I started feeling physically worse than ever. I was trying to explain what it felt like but couldn’t find the words. The closest I could come was likening my fatigue to having a hundred pound lead suit on my body. Everything I went to do felt like a monumental effort. And every step I took brought a fresh round of pain throughout my body.

For someone whose idol is productivity, feeling pain and exhaustion is doubly debilitating. Not only can I not do the things I want to, I feel guilty and overwhelmed by the things that are being left undone.

Sometimes I handle this well. I am able to see that God is in all my circumstances and that He is for me. I am able to accept whatever comes from His hand.

But other times, I become frustrated and irritable. My outlook on life is negative. I feel sorry for myself and just want the pain to end. And I am convinced it never will.

After crying for a while, I was ready to start my day’s work. I sat in the chair at my desk and looked at my long list of things to do.

I also looked at my Bible and journal. They were sitting there as well. But I didn’t want to open them. I had missed my quiet time in the morning because I had gotten out of bed late and getting dressed was arduous. In the interest of productivity, I determined to jump into my work to make up for my lost time. Besides, I was in no mood to read the Bible.

So the Bible just sat there and I kept glancing over at it. I went back and forth between feeling guilty about not opening it and telling myself that I shouldn’t be a legalist.

I checked off a few things on my to do list and tried to write. Nothing was flowing.

Reluctantly, I picked up the Bible. It felt forced and I was tempted to put it down almost immediately. I was reading the words on the page but my heart and my thoughts were elsewhere.

But as I read, I knew I needed this.

I know that when I feel my lowest, I need to force feed myself Scripture.

Even when it feels like eating sawdust. Dry. Lifeless. Tasteless.

As I read, I prayed, “Help me to see You in this. Meet me here.”

I was reading the second half of Zechariah. So many prophecies about Jesus that I hadn’t realized before. So many confirmations that Christ was a saving King, who was pierced for us.

I pulled out my journal reluctantly and started writing. I wrote down the verses that I was drawn to and wrote them in red pen. For a few minutes I pondered and jotted down what the Lord could be saying to me through them.

There was nothing earth shattering, but I kept reading and writing.

Then I wrote down how I was feeling. All of my frustrations. My irritations. My disappointments.

I chose not to filter these pent up emotions but rather vented them all to God. I felt the freedom to tell the Lord how I was feeling. The Psalms taught me that. They taught me how to honestly lament.

As I was writing, and voicing my disappointments to God, rays of hope started squeezing in between my words. Words of Scripture made their way onto my page, recollections of memorized truths. Just like sun breaks through the clouds, God was breaking through my heart.

“On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.” (Zechariah 13:1)

I needed this. To be cleansed from my sin and unrighteousness. Things were hard, but at the same time I saw, as I had seen in Zechariah, a glorious picture of how things will be one day. On that day, living waters will flow out of Jerusalem. On that day, there will be no more darkness. On that day, the Lord will be king over all the earth.

My suffering is not forever. It will end. But the glory of the gospel is unending. I need to keep looking at the cross.

Slowly, my irritation started to dissipate. Through nothing in particular but the cumulative effect of the Word flowing over me, my focus moved away from myself and onto the Lord.

As I reflected back on my children, my husband, my friends, I realized the problem was with me. Not them. I was the one being irritating. But it was easier to fixate on their shortcomings than my own.

I find it’s always easier to fixate on other people’s shortcomings than my own. 

And unless I take the time to reflect on what I’m feeling, I can’t see the log in my own eye.

I become entrenched in my own position, convinced I am right. Everything I am saying makes sense. It usually does when I am at the center of the universe.

But when I sit alone with the Lord, He gently shows me what I need to see. And my perspective on life changes. My world is bigger than just me.

I finished my time with the Lord full of hope. My situation was unchanged and yet God had met me.

He is ever faithful, even on wet miserable days when all I can think about is myself.

 

 

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar
  • October 16, 2015 - 8:32 am

    Rani - Thank-you Vaneetha.ReplyCancel

  • October 16, 2015 - 12:00 pm

    Lily - Dear Raneetha,
    I love that you are so real! You have nailed my exact feelings and experiences which I have been struggling with this past year.
    Thank-you for your honesty.
    It is glorifying our magnificent God!ReplyCancel

  • October 17, 2015 - 2:13 pm

    Effie Darlene Barba - Beautifully written with such transparency, humility and grace.ReplyCancel

  • October 19, 2015 - 2:15 pm

    Carrie - I discovered your blog this summer when a friend shared it with me (a post on desiring God). It was during a season of suffering in my own life, and I’m still there- suffering but not defeated (praise Him for this!). You have continually been an encouragement to me as you honestly reveal what you are learning, and the thoughts that go with it. Thank you for your honesty, for your sharing your heart and how God continues to minister to you!!ReplyCancel

    • October 19, 2015 - 3:36 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Carrie. So grateful God used this!ReplyCancel

  • October 20, 2015 - 12:13 am

    loren - Thank you for sharing Vaneetha. I’ve been struggling with my own self centeredness and praying that He fills me with the Holy Spirit to overcome this!

    So blessed to read your experience about this and how He has changed your perspective and heart 🙂ReplyCancel

    • October 23, 2015 - 6:49 am

      Vaneetha - I struggle with my self-centeredness every day–so I need to keep reminding myself of this truth!ReplyCancel

  • October 21, 2015 - 6:41 pm

    Alice - I loved this. Force feeding the Word when it’s like sawdust is such a perfect description of how it sometimes feels! It is how our faithless steps of obedience can transform into faithful leaps! Thank you!!ReplyCancel

    • October 23, 2015 - 6:48 am

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Alice! I love you way you said that: “It is how our faithless steps of obedience can transform into faithful leaps!”ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 1:50 pm

    Lisa Hurley - Hi Vaneetha. I hopped over here after reading your guest post on Ann Voskamp’s blog. You, dear, are a delight to read. Productivity is my idol as well and I write often about my own struggles with surrender. Bless you for sharing your story with the world. It certainly lifted my day.ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 5:12 pm

      Vaneetha - So thankful it encouraged you, Lisa. Its funny how much some of us struggle with the idol of productivity. I wish I could say I’ve completely dethroned it in my life, but the Lord continues to work on me!ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 3:53 pm

    Beth - I really enjoyed this. Can certainly relate to those days when I’m staring at my Bible and putting other things first. It always speaks to us in ways we don’t expect, doesn’t it? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 5:13 pm

      Vaneetha - It definitely does, Beth. If only I could remember this more often and didn’t need reminders…ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 4:13 pm

    Harmony - This was so on time! Thanks for your refreshing vulnerability!ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 5:37 pm

    Trudy - I love this, Vaneetha. This line especially resonates with me – “But when I sit alone with the Lord, He gently shows me what I need to see. And my perspective on life changes. My world is bigger than just me.” I find I need that sitting alone with Him so much. Looking at life through His perspective can make a world of difference, right?

    I read your post at Ann Voskamp’s site, so I followed the link here. I definitely will subscribe. 🙂 I’m so sorry for all the pain you have gone through in life. Divorce must be so devastating. And all the post-polio physical pain and limitations, too. Praying God will give you strength and peace for each day!ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 5:09 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you, Trudy! My circumstances have been challenging but God has been so incredibly faithful through all my trials. I’m glad you love the quote. I do too!!ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 5:39 pm

    Trudy - I forgot to mention how much I love the quote you have in your title. I have it on a wall plaque. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • October 23, 2015 - 9:01 pm

    Julie - I can relate so much to this, and I wanted to say Thank you. This is exactly how I have been feeling. Bless youReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2015 - 3:08 am

    Liz - Hi Vaneetha,

    What a blessing to me introduced to you via Ann Voskamp’s recent post. I’ve followed Ann online since the beginning of my real life trials.

    In my mid 20s, 7 years ago now, I buried my parents 18 months apart and my world fell apart. Although I had been a Christian for 10years by then and had grown up in a good bible teaching church, I had no idea how to react and work through my feelings. I had been taught how to think as a Christian but I had no idea how to live as one.

    Blogs like yours in which people graciously shared their stories of trying to figure God’s glory amidst their storms has been my new teacher. They have quite literally given me hope and kept me sane.

    I am so pleased to add yours to my blog roll. I mourn for the sorrow you’ve lived through but know as you only can when you’ve suffered, that God has and is shaping in you supernatural virtues that are only possible to be borne in seasons of suffering.

    God bless you sister.

    Liz, UKReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 5:04 pm

      Vaneetha - How hard that must have been– and still be — to lose both your parents so quickly, Liz. I agree that the Lord uses suffering in breathtaking ways to shape us, but the day-to-day is still often a fight for joy. Praying that will continue to feel his extravagant love…ReplyCancel

  • October 24, 2015 - 11:02 am

    Joy - Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I am on the unfortunate road towards divorce so its nice to find someone who is sharing how God is with them on their journey.ReplyCancel

    • October 24, 2015 - 4:57 pm

      Vaneetha - It was a difficult road, Joy, and I cried through much of it. But God was walking with me, which made all the difference. I pray you will feel God’s presence as you pursue Him in this.ReplyCancel

      • October 25, 2015 - 7:38 am

        Stephanie - “But God was walking with me, which made all the difference.”

        Amen. I’m 5 years as a single mom after 15 years of marriage. Understanding that Jesus walked those valleys, canyons, and ravines with me was a turning point in healing for me. He, too, wept over the unfaithfulness. He, too, wept over the broken covenant. We were in it together.ReplyCancel

        • October 25, 2015 - 2:54 pm

          Vaneetha - I know what a hard road this can be, Stephanie. Praying for you as you walk it with Jesus.ReplyCancel

          • October 25, 2015 - 3:17 pm

            Stephanie - Thanks!!

            I’m so glad Ann Voskamp had you post on her site, so that I could “meet” you.

  • October 24, 2015 - 12:00 pm

    Barbara Weaver - Thanks so much for the reminder, Vaneetha! Oh, how I needed this today! What a loving Heavenly Father to give us His Word — over and over and yet, always fresh and always precisely what we need at precisely the time we most need it! Thanks for sharing your heart so candidly.ReplyCancel

  • October 26, 2015 - 8:58 am

    aimee - force feeding the Word – so my life lately and yet so many times I don’t even want to do that. It’s like an anorexic who knows that food will make her feel better and keep her alive but yet will also strengthen her and with strength comes fear that that food will change her. I’m so beyond stretched that the fear of what God might meet me with in this force feeding is overwhelming me.ReplyCancel

    • October 26, 2015 - 9:28 am

      Vaneetha - Oh Aimee, praying now that you will sense His extravagant love and His gentle invitation to you. No need to fear- His grace is sufficient for you, for His power is made perfect in your weakness.ReplyCancel

  • October 30, 2015 - 6:32 am

    Karimi - I can resonate with this:”So the Bible just sat there and I kept glancing over at it. I went back and forth between feeling guilty about not opening it and telling myself that I shouldn’t be a legalist.”..And when i start reading it ,i glance over it VERY fast…Good postReplyCancel

    • October 30, 2015 - 12:20 pm

      Vaneetha - Thank you for writing, Karimi. Glad it encouraged you!ReplyCancel

  • December 12, 2015 - 11:26 am

    Carmen Negron - Great article, enjoyed reading it! Have a blessed. ChristmasReplyCancel

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