Tuesday, September 14, 2021

When You Encounter Prickly Ones



I’ve said a hundred times. “Sometimes, the only way God can get our attention to pray for someone is by allowing them to annoy us.”

I wish I could get the message another way, cause honestly, sometimes these situations make us want to run for the hills.

It’s easy for me to say pray for those who irritate us, but harder for me to live it out. Recently it was about 4:00 in the morning, when the Lord reminded me of my own words.

Convicted—I prayed.

It's through prayer that we began to get the heart of God for that person from whom we want to flee. If we get on our knees, we’ll often glimpse the brokenness inside the spiky exterior.

I remember a situation where I was frequently around a prickly person in a social setting. I found myself looking for ways to avoid them because of what I considered obnoxious behavior. I’d veer off to sit as far away from that individual as possible.

The Lord reminded me he was calling me to pray and to reach out. Reluctantly, I did.  I never dreamed that just ahead would be a tragic circumstance, in which God would allow me to minister to that very one.

We can’t figure these things out because only God sees what’s at stake. And it is not all about the other person. God wants to use these situations in our lives to mold and shape us, as well.

In recent history, so much has happened, that it seems almost everyone is prickly in some way. It reminds me of the first time I ever went to one of my doctors. The nurse handed me a questionnaire to assess my health by asking questions about my life. You know the drill. Every doc has them. On this form, one of the questions was “Do you have stress in your life?” I laughed and wrote “Does anyone ever answer no to this question?” I put a smiley face in the margin confident all health care professionals enjoy getting little cartoons and smart remarks on their forms.

Having never met me before, the doc walked in the room looking at the questionnaire and laughing. She said, “Only those that are in really bad shape.”

It’s probably a good idea to confess our own irritating behaviors and pray about our prickliness, too. 

I’m inserting a little caveat that there are relationships that turn toxic in a way that is unhealthy to remain in them. This is not what I’m talking about here.

Jesus said, “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back?” (Luke 6:32 The Message)

Let’s call on the Lord to help us love those who are hard to love and remember the lavishness of His gift of grace to us in Jesus. 

Another post about prickles HERE. 

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is available wherever books are sold.  Also consider her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee.

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2021

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