I’ve got pet peeves. Everyone does, right. That ONE thing (or multiple things?) that get under your skin and irritates you more than anything else in the world.
My personal list of pet peeves is embarrassingly long. I cannot stand the sound of people chewing. I am deeply agitated by political posts on social media. People who race down a “turn only” lane so that they can cut everyone off at the front of the line in traffic really steams me. There is another pet peeve that made an appearance, and seems to be growing in strength… it’s the extreme dislike of having to repeat myself multiple times.
Pet (noun) A thing particularly cherished.
Peeve (noun) A source of annoyance or irritation.
Have I ever fully understood the term I throw around so carelessly? I confess I never thought much about whether pet peeves were good or bad. Really, I just accepted them as fact. There are things that bother me, end of story. What I’ve discovered is that it’s not really all that cool to have pet peeves. Yeah, it’s assumed that we all have them, and to some degree, there will probably always be those things that get under my skin and irritate me. When I make them into something valued, cherished… something I am proud to have, they’ve suddenly jumped from being a joke to being a problem.
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“Mom, what are we having for dinner?”
“Mom, are which vegetables are we having with dinner?”
“Mom, what are you making?”
It’s a part of my life right now, and by the time we get to the third or fourth variation of the same question, my nerves begin to fray. Usually, this ends in one of two ways. Either I patiently explain I’ve already answered the question and refer them to a sibling who can help with the query, or I yell.
Mostly, I yell.
It’s not something I’m proud of.
But… it’s a pet peeve, right? It’s going to bother me, NO MATTER WHAT, right?
I say no.
These irritations of mine don’t have to be cherished or valued parts of who I am. I dislike the impatience that arises with the irritation I have cultivated by allowing this to be something that is okay in my life.
The fruit of the Spirit is laid out pretty plainly for me in Galatians 5.
Every single time I choose the fruit of my pet peeve (frustration, impatience, harshness, anger), I am simultaneously choosing against the fruit of the Spirit.
It was a particularly harrowing trip to Costco with my four kiddos when the Lord chose to whisper this truth to me… deep to the inner most parts of me… clear as a bell. Conviction washed strong over me in that moment as well it should have.
Yeah, I repeat things umpteen times per day, and yeah, it’s probably always going to be something that tends to grate on my nerves, but it’s not going to be my “pet” anymore. I’m not going to let it be something I’m okay with owning. I’m not agreeable to the poor fruit it grows when I let my pet peeves become something cherished and valued. They are not my pets, these things that annoy me.
I say the words out-loud because there is power in the spoken word…
“See you later, my pets. I regret the time I invested in your well-being, for you brought me nothing but the inability to see the gift standing in front of me; you are no longer welcome here.”
And now, to walk the truth revealed by my kind Father; always the hardest part, always the place where the deepest wells of grace are found.
I’m grateful for the fire that refines.