Every believer has to come to terms with this issue. Whether it is our dad’s tendency to leave the toilet seat up, our brother’s messy habits, our parents’ overly controlling ways, or our coworker’s loud eating habits – there are things other people do that may irritate us. How can we respond in a godly way as women who are living for Christ?
Here’s the great news, my beautiful and beloved sisters…
When we are in Christ, He gives us power over being annoyed and irritated. He gives us victory!
I no longer have to yield to my emotions and my thoughts that want to tell someone off, try to control another person, or stomp out of the room in frustration. I no longer have to give in to sinful anger. The Lord can give me the power of His Spirit to see with His eyes, love with His heart, and respond in His strength.
In Christ, I can respond with gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Jesus can give me the power to extend grace in many situations that maybe would annoy me if I was acting in the flesh. He can also give me the power to be vulnerable, respectful, and kind while asking for what I need. But even if I don’t receive what I would like, I can respond in the power of the Lord and don’t have to give in to resentment, control, bitterness, or any kind of sinful motives or thoughts – as I abide in Him.
Satan would love for me to be annoyed, irritated, and resentful. He would love to take some tiny little inconsequential issue and get me to focus on accusations against others or bitterness so that he can gain a huge foothold in my life. I have to be aware of this and willing to allow God to help me take my every thought captive for Christ.
- I can accept that part of living/working/sharing space with a man might be that the toilet seat gets left up sometimes. After all, I always leave the toilet seat down. Maybe that could be annoying, too, from his perspective? It doesn’t have to be a big deal for me to put the seat down, any more than it would be for him to have to put the seat up.
- I can take this opportunity to thank God for this guy in my life – whether it is my dad, my brother, or my boyfriend who visits my home. Sharing space with another person involves some small inconveniences. The same is true for them living with or sharing space with me, at times.
- I can refuse to assume evil motives on his part.
- I can respectfully ask, in a pleasant, friendly way, “If you get a chance to put the toilet seat back down when you are finished, that would be wonderful. Thanks!”
- If he doesn’t remember, I still don’t have to resort to bitterness. I don’t have to even be angry. I can just put the seat down myself and remind myself that I am glad he puts the seat up and doesn’t make a mess on the seat. He is being considerate to put the seat up.
- I can feel in the dark to see if the seat is up with the lid so I know to put it down so I don’t fall in or I can have a night light on in the bathroom.
- I can be super thankful for indoor plumbing and for toilet seats. Not everyone in this world has such a luxury!
- I could ask for a “squat toilet” like the one on the right like they use in Asia. Then there is no seat over which to have any contention. Problem solved! Ha! 🙂
- If you have a dishwasher – that is amazing! What a blessing! If your roommate is putting dishes in the dishwasher, that is awesome! Not everyone does that. I want to be sure that I thank him and show appreciation – not a bunch of criticism – or she may not want to keep helping me. Who wants to help someone who criticizes all of the help she receives? (Here is a post about overcoming a critical spirit.)
- I don’t have to say anything about how she packs the dishwasher. If the dishes are not all clean, I could simply take a crusty dish to her later, with a pleasant attitude, and say, “Hmm… it seems like the dishwasher didn’t quite get the dishes clean.” That is usually enough information for most grown adults to figure things out.
- I could scrub the crusty dishes and say nothing – as long as I can do that without any bitterness or resentment. It is definitely possible with the power of the Holy Spirit!
- I may decide to say something (in a friendly, casual way) like, “I noticed that it seems like sometimes the dishwasher cleans the dishes better when they are put in like this…” Or, “I’ve noticed that if the dishes block the jets, things don’t seem to get as clean.”
- I can remember that my attitude toward my roommate and my Christlike love for her is much more important to the Lord than whether the dishes are completely clean or not.
MY BROTHER LEAVES DIRTY CLOTHES ON THE FLOOR
- I can pick them up myself with a joyful servant’s heart and focus on how thankful I am to have my brother in my life.
- I can say in a friendly way, with a smile, “If you would please put your clothes in the hamper sometime, that would be great. Thanks!”
- I can leave them there until he picks them up. It just depends whose tolerance is greater for a mess. If I am the one who can’t stand clothes being on the floor, maybe it would just be worth it to my sanity for me to quickly put them in the hamper myself with good motives.
- If I am still living at home under their roof and they are still in authority over me, I need to be sure I am respecting them and obeying their rules, unless they are asking me to clearly sin.
- If I am on my own and paying my own bills, I don’t necessarily have to “obey” them like I did before, but I do still need to honor and respect them in order to honor the Lord.
- I can listen to their concerns and advice and prayerfully consider it. God may be speaking to me through their words if I am willing to listen.
- I can refuse to assume evil motives and thank them for loving me when it seems like they may be too overprotective from my perspective.
- I can ask for what I would like respectfully.
- Dealing with Controlling People.
- Some people eat with their mouths open and make a lot of smacking sounds and slurping noises. This may be something I can respectfully address in certain situations if it bothers me, but it may be something I have to let go in other situations. I want to be sure I don’t have a critical spirit. That I am not prideful, self-righteous, or condescending.
- I can refuse to assume evil motives. I don’t have to automatically assume that he is doing this on purpose just to annoy me.
- Perhaps I can focus on asking God to help me examine my heart for any resentment or wrong motives.
- I can pray for God to help me love this person with His love and to see this person with His eyes – to extend grace.
- I can remember how much grace Jesus has extended to me.
- I can focus on being a blessing to her and seeking to hear her heart and about her life and struggles.
- I can focus on demonstrating the love, mercy, grace, and truth of Christ to her, and on how I might be able to share the gospel with her if she doesn’t yet know Jesus.
No one can take away my joy in Christ. These little annoying things don’t have to get to me. In Jesus, I can focus on Him and His goodness. I can focus on having a thankful heart instead of a critical heart. And He can give me the power to love people even when they do things that could be annoying.
Has God given you wisdom about how to deal with something that could be frustrating in a godly way? We’d love to hear it. Is there a situation where you are feeling really annoyed, and you could use some help? Let’s hear about that and talk about it together, too.
Much love, my dear sisters!