The Power of Pet Peeves

Dear Passionately Peeved,

I’m  a simple girl. Don’t need a whole lot. Don’t ask for a whole lot. All I want for Christmas is peace on earth, pound cake, and a root beer float. Oh, and I would love for the world to be filled with more manner-minded individuals. That’s not too much to ask, is it? Poor manners are one of my biggest pet peeves! For example, if  I go out of my way to hold the door open for someone and they don’t say “thank you”, I’ll be rather annoyed. It’s the principle of the matter.

Pet peeves are those irritating, sickening, and occasionally disgusting things done by others that just get on our last nerves and reserve nerves. Like when someone doesn’t replace the empty roll of toilet tissue (and you don’t notice until after you’ve already “wet the porcelain” or dropped the “kids” off in the “pool” :-D), or when a co-worker doesn’t clean up the mess they made in the microwave. I mean, could there be anything more agitating than a pet peeve? The word “peeve” is even annoying, don’t you think? Pet peeves are the worst of others happening to the best of us. Ever been having yourself a great day, minding your own business when suddenly- out of the clear blue- someone does something so annoying it just gives you an instant attitude? One tiny behavior can turn the biggest smile upside down. Pet peeves sure are powerful, aren’t they?

What’s interesting about a pet peeve is that it can be completely annoying to you but completely acceptable to someone else.  I might not give a hoot about the things that irk others and some could care less about what frustrates me. Pet peeves are things we take personally. They get under our skin and crawl around there for a while. Some things irritate me so much that I have to ask myself, “WHY?”

And that’s the question I pose to you: Why are you so bothered by the things that bother you? Why do those peevish behaviors seem to annoy you more than others? I have heard it said that the very quirks we dislike in others are usually- in some way, shape, or form- the same things we dislike about ourselves. But I’d like to offer another perspective: what if our pet peeves are simply God’s way of arresting our attention regarding our spiritual offenses towards Him? The more I think about it, the more it kind of makes sense… at least where I’m concerned. Perhaps God is saying, “Do unto Me as you would have others do unto you.”

Are you deeply vexed when folks don’t take responsibility for their mess and clean up after themselves? Maybe you have your own mess to confess that needs to be cleaned up with God… Hate being interrupted when you’re trying to get your point across? Perhaps you need to stop interrupting God when He’s trying to point you in the right direction… Does it drive you nuts when others fail to thank you for holding the door open for them? Maybe you, like me, need to recognize how often God opens doors for you- and how often He keeps them open even when you take your sweet time walking towards the entrance! Maybe- just maybe- we need to stop taking advantage of God’s grace and favor. And maybe we need to verbally and publicly thank Him more often. After all, doesn’t every open door deserve a heartfelt “thank you”?

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking at my pet peeves a lot differently now. Yes, pet peeves are terribly annoying and can absolutely arouse our deepest disdain. But they are far more powerful than that! What are your pet peeves? How can you use them to bring you closer to God, instead of farther away from their culprits? The next time someone does something to drive you up a wall (which is very likely to happen as you’re spending more QT with family over the holidays), ask yourself if you are guilty of spiritually committing a similar offense against God. Use your pet peeves as a powerful catalyst for making positive changes! Rather than praying for others to stop getting on your nerves, try this prayer instead,

Lord, please give me the strength to be more gracious when others irritate me, and pah-lease be gracious unto me as I endeavor to be less offensive to you. Pretty please?! In Jesus’ name, Amen.” :-) 

Practically Yours,

~The Practical Chick

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