Friday, March 7, 2008

Irritation Invitations

Do you think you’re a preacher or something? Are you trying to convert someone?
This response to my blog yesterday hurt me. Hurt me because it came from a relative. Hurt me because, well, I felt like I shared a part of me and and it was crushed. So I had a pity-party, but couldn’t find anyone to attend. People close to me know when I am confronted or challenged, I need to talk about it. I called the sender of the email but they didn’t call me back. Probably not speaking to me again. I tried talking to a coworker but he just said “Don’t cast your pearls before swine – stop sending them your blog if they don’t appreciate it!”

That isn’t the answer. Readers are going to disagree and/or make hurtful comments. I welcome honest feedback. But I want to process the feedback, learn from it, grow from it.

Thanks to a book recommended from my dear friend, I refused to stay at my pity party. In Change Your Heart, Change Your Life, Gary Smalley writes the following:
… I found Matthew 7:1-4 and reviewed it for weeks until it reached my heart and gave me a new belief about not judging others or reacting to people who irritate me… How else can we know what God wants to change about our character? Irritations are reflections of the logs in our own eyes. I now thank God for those irritations and instantly try to connect the irritation to something in my own life that needs work… I know God wants me to learn how to be in deeper submission to him. I tend to resist submitting to anyone, but how else can I be the servant God wants me to be unless I allow him to remind me through irritations?

First of all, the sender probably did not intend to hurt me. Second, if God is preparing me to be an established, published, Christian writer, I am going to need thick skin to endure criticisms and naysayers, and who better to use in preparation for this than a relative who means so much to me?

Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor." - Mark 6:4

Challenge: When you face irritations today, consider how God may be trying to change your character instead of attending a pity party. Take it from me – no one will come to the party anyway.

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