Last week, Binu wrote a great post about dealing with moody, angry and just plain foolish people. It’s something we can all relate to.
But what if the tables are turned? What if we are THAT moody person? We may not have been thinking of ourselves as we read it but what if someone else was?
It seems there are 2 things that usually happen when we get irritable.
- Option 1 – we can reign it in. We sense it coming, take a deep breath and proceed with caution. In this situation, we’ve kept calm and can carry on.
- Option 2 isn’t so pretty. It comes on us like a flood and before we know it, our emotions are pouring out and drowning the people around us.
Been there. Done that. Ugh.
After it is all said & done, I’m embarrassed for myself. Why did I react that like that? Why does that person or situation annoy me so much that it feels like I have zero control over my feelings or actions?
We can focus on wishing the other person would change or we can realize that it might be us who needs to change. And really, if 10 people in 1 day have irritated me, who is the common denominator? Me (x 10).
Sometimes, our annoyances are justified; sometimes, they are not. Regardless, we are expected to NOT be irritable. In 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes what love should look like. Included among the characteristics is this simple phrase, “…love is not irritable.” (verse 5)
The fact is knowing I shouldn’t be irritable doesn’t change anything except make me aware it is an issue. A step-by-step process of “5 ways not to be a jerk” might be more helpful.
Dealing with our irritability requires being proactive – getting to it before it gets to us. So, how do we do that??
Scripture states that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. While our irritability may be related to fatigue, stress or even just being hungry, it is likely a heart issue too. This is especially true when it comes to people who haven’t really done anything wrong but for some reason, they just get on our nerves.
Obviously, we can get more sleep and carry snacks with us for those hangry moments. But honestly though, the more I deal with my own irritability issues, the more I realize Paul may have been onto something.
To get to the root cause, we need to deal with our hearts. This involves praying that God would fill our hearts with love – His kind of love that is not irritable. When our hearts are transformed, so is what comes out of us.
I know what you are thinking. “Pray about it” sounds like the most cliche’ Christian answer ever. Here’s the reality: in that moment when it feels like we have no control of ourselves, no amount of sleep, snacks or Midol can save us. But if our hearts are right, we have a better chance that our response will be right too.
When I am pressed, I want to display the love of Christ. The world will know we are His followers by our love and the people we usually get irritated with will appreciate it too. ~Anu