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Yer Gettin’ On My Nerves…

April 2, 2020

OK. We’re on isolation for 30 more days.

You’ve gone through all but one puzzle in the game closet. It’s 1000 pieces of a picture of the ocean. You hate it. It’s the one you got as a White Elephant gift at your office Christmas Party. The one you’re saving so you can give it next year. Hopefully to the person who gave it to you.

You’ve played cards until the cards are too flimsy to shuffle, and the printing on them is getting worn off. Is that a Queen or a Jack?

You’ve worn a groove in your iPad from playing Solitaire.

There’s no more yard work you can do. Not on your own yard, anyway.

You’re reciting the lines of the Andy Griffith Show you’re watching before Andy and Barney do.

The walls are closing in.

In the beginning, you thought it might be kinda nice to stay at home and get some good family time in. You know, figure out how to simplify your life and how to use a home office. You sort of envied those people who “worked remotely.” And it was nice for a few days. But we passed a few days a long time ago. Now the family you were looking forward to quality time with is getting on your last nerve. If you hear, “MOMMY!” one more time, you’ll scream. Or worse, make the child who said it scream.

The refrigerator has been opened and closed so many times the bulb’s burnt out and the hinges are now in jeopardy.

And speaking of Jeopardy, you’ve watched enough episodes you’re thinking about seeing if you can get a Master’s Degree in trivia online.

Can I get an amen?

Times is hard, ain’t they? Sorry. I’ve been watching way too much Andy Griffith…

But these are trying times. Especially for parents of kids who are still at home. I’m pretty sure none of us has ever been through anything quite like this before. I’m not sure that if we had, it would have helped us be ready for what we’re going through now, though. And our kids are less equipped to deal with this time than we are.

I apologize, but I don’t have good advice for how to navigate this. No “5 Things To Do To Make This Time Awesome.” I don’t have a dozen things for you and your kids to do that will make this next month a joy. No big sermon about being positive and honking if you love Jesus. You can probably find all that on Pinterest or something.

The reality is none of us is going to get through this thing without a few bruises. And some of us will have some scars. There’s nothing I know of to keep this from happening. Put this many people in this kind of close proximity for this long, with this much at stake, and there’s just going to be damage. There are things you can do to limit the damage, but I very strongly doubt that anybody will come through this without some damage.

All I want to do right now is remind you of something you may already know.

You know how much your family’s getting on your nerves right now? You can’t get on God’s nerves that way.

This is really important. God never has to take a deep breath and back away to get space and perspective. He never has to disappear into the back bathroom and lock the door so He can calm down and not do something He’ll regret. Never. Lucky Him.

Here’s the reason. He loves you. Period. Not because you’re lovable. Not because you’ve done anything to make Him love you. He just loves you, simply because you exist. And His love is so perfect that nothing can shake it. You can’t do anything that will make Him love you any more than He does at this very moment, and you can’t do anything to make Him love you less than He does in this moment. It’s impossible for you to get on His nerves. He totally gets you, and He totally loves you.

Now, don’t mistake that to mean that He’s thrilled with everything you do. There are lots of things we do that He’s not thrilled with. But He is never not thrilled with you. Don’t ask me how He can pull this off. I can’t explain it other than by saying He’s perfect. This affection for us, this kind of crazy love for us is the result of His perfection.

I have a friend who says, “On my worst day, God’s nuts about me.” On my worst day, it’s hard to believe, but I believe he’s right.

There are lots of times I’m not nuts about me. I’m getting on my own last nerve. I’m sick and tired of how dumb and selfish I can be. I’m really worn out with how I make bad choices. But He’s not.

This is a hard concept for me to get my brain wrapped around. I’m still very much in the process of pulling it from the intellectual file cabinet into the real-life one. I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.

But as I’ve been doing this, learning how to see myself and God in this way, I’ve discovered that I have a little wider margin before people get on my last nerve. It’s not magic, and I’m way not “there” yet. It’s not like nobody gets on my nerves anymore. And it’s way not like I don’t get on anybody else’s nerves. But it’s slowly happening.

I learned an idea from a friend in the Recovery World that’s helped me with this. Sometimes, H.A.L.T. gets in the way of me seeing God, myself and others through this lens of perfect, unconditional love.

Here’s what H.A.L.T. stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. These four things tend to make me vulnerable and touchy. They cloud my judgment and get in the way of clear thinking and me being the best version of me. When I’m Hungry, Angry, Lonely and/or Tired, it’s really hard for me to reframe things into this perfect-love-of-God thing. I’ll bet H.A.L.T. gets in your way, too.

It’s smart to pay attention, so that when H.A.L.T. starts to hijack life, we’ll notice it and address it. Just a thought. If it doesn’t help you, throw it away.

Learning how to see yourself the way God sees you is the point. It will be very hard – maybe impossible – for you to see others the way God sees them until you see yourself as He does. I think this is a legitimate interpretation of Jesus’ words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Don’t stretch it out so far it doesn’t work any more, but learn how to love yourself so you can love your neighbor. You know, the one you can’t get away from for another 30 days. The one who keeps trying to take the remote.

This simple prayer might help you. “Lord, I want to believe that I can’t get on your nerves. I want to believe that You’re nuts about me. But there are things in my history and memory and experience that push pretty hard against this. Remind me that You love me this way. Make it vivid in my heart and mind. And then help me treat other people this way. The way You treat me.”

Use your own words. But I think this is a prayer He wants to answer. And as He does, you’ll find people getting on your last nerve a little less.

From → Marriage, Parenting

2 Comments
  1. Lori permalink

    Another good read Steve! Thank you. FYI, it’s not just toliet paper people are buying–the puzzle shelves at Wal-Mart are nearly empty too!

  2. Michael dunning permalink

    Although i am way up there in believing I am His loved child, my journal daily reinforces those words you use in some fashion . Because even though my past has been addressed, it sometimes arrives in my mailbox mind and gets opened and read. Demons love sending unexpected mail. The journal works , It works and I am reminded by Him that I am His loved child. Thanks

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