Fools show their annoyance at once. Prov. 12:16A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. Prov. 29:11Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Ps. 37:8
Dear Lord Jesus, of all the prayer-worthy things I can think of, “annoyance” has never made it onto my supplication list until now. Through the pastoral pestering of your Spirit, I see and grieve that I’m too easily annoyed. Have mercy on me, Prince of Peace. Free my foolish, fretful, fitful spirit. How can I possibly reveal the magnificence of the gospel when I’m showcasing the arrogance of my annoyance?
I’m annoyed by the guy who races me when two lanes are becoming one. I’m annoyed when the bar code reading machines in the self-checkout lanes can’t read my items. I’m annoyed when the gas pump trickles way too slowly. I’m annoyed by waiters who fish for a bigger tip. I’m annoyed by fish that won’t bite. I’m annoyed by humidity when I want to jog.
I’m annoyed by low talkers and over talkers. I’m annoyed at people easily annoyed. I’m annoyed when there’s not enough milk for a late-night bowl of cereal. I’m annoyed when I have to repeat myself. I’m annoyed at whiners, so much that I start whining. I’m annoyed at people preening in front of mirrors at the YMCA, as though I never peek. I’m annoyed when people use way too many words and way too big of words to say something very simple, as though that’s not me.
I’m annoyed at ever having to wait in line for anything. I’m annoyed by the color orange. I’m annoyed at any box that has the words “requires some assembly” written on it. Oh, Jesus, if only those were the only things that annoyed me!
My prayer? Gentle my demanding, impatient heart with your kindness and grace. Grant me much quicker repentances. Help me to slow . . . way . . . down. Help me to live in the moment and not simply live to get somewhere on time or get something done. Let me see people with your eyes and respond to them with your heart.
There are no ordinary people around me. Everybody matters. Everybody has stories of heartache, foolishness, fear, and longing, just like me. Jesus, thank you that you died for all of my sins, including my “annoyability.” I love being loved by you, Lord Jesus. I have no greater hope than knowing one day I will be as lovely as you and will love like you forever (1 Jn.3:1-1). So very Amen I pray, in your gracious and patient name. - Scotty Smith (emphasis mine).
Scotty Smith is Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.