Allergies are a bear.
I can manage sinus pressure, headaches, a stuffy nose, or even that weird drippy thing that happens when your nose is completely blocked up with snot but still, inexplicably, there is a slow leak. What is that? But when my eyes are itchy, I lose my cool. Things that are generally “whatever” kind of things because massive inconveniences because my eye lids won’t stop blinking and the incessant itching is likely to drive a girl mad. I haven’t even started with the places puffy, swollen, and redness lead me.
This, my friends, is what I like to call the “Irritability Drainpipe.”
Irritation begins as a speck, a small thing, a miniscule piece of pollen in the eye, one word misspoken, a few minutes of sleep given to a project, stepping wrong onto the front walk, then the swirl…
One thing leads to another and a speck of irritation becomes a nightmare.
Next thing you know all your good vibes and easy-come-easy-go mindfulness is burning in an inferno of internal rage because someone is chewing chips so darn loud.
Can you see the irritability drainpipe at work here?
What gets under your skin like pollen in your eye? What things poke at you and pick at your reasonableness?
The original language of the Love Chapter, a form of ancient Greek, gives the visual image of that poking or jabbing in the word for irritation. It’s fascinating that irritation as in “Love is not irritable” literally means to be too close to, to cut really sharp along something or someone.
When it feels like someone is filling up too much of my space, that’s irritation.
When it feels like someone is cutting into my senses, that’s irritation.
When I need room to breathe, room to stretch, room to check back in with myself and remind myself we’re all human beings inhabiting a small space on this planet for a short amount of time, and chewing chips or clicking pens, or sucking your teeth is really small in the scheme of things…that’s irritation.
The question I might need to ask myself when I’m feeling irritable, which means, my space is shrinking, I am more easily poked at and prodded than usual is –
What do I need right now in order to Love Brave?
Love is not irritable, when I am.
I am utterly imperfect and irritation will come upon me. I can try to stuff it down, or I can let love overwhelm the grouch, the grump, and the grumbly minion of irritation inside of me.
It might mean I need to take a moment to breath some fresh air in my backyard. It might mean I need to eat a handful of almonds. It might mean I need to state to my spouse, my friend, my co-worker – “Hey, I’m not in a great place. I feel a little grouchy. I think I need five minutes.”
Asking for what we need is exactly what ends irritation. That level of vulnerability is exactly what the devil and all thing evil hate because they want the drainpipe to begin. Evil wants to suck us down and have us railroad our relationships with the grouch and grump of irritability. It wants us to start down the track until we’re going too fast to stop and all of the sudden thing are blowing up in front of our faces.
Love allows space when space is needed.
God doesn’t push Himself on us. He pursues us wildly, but waits to be invited in. He fills our spaces, and steps back when we need. His perfect love is the only thing between me and the irritability drainpipe. When Jesus had every reason to be irritable, when soldiers came at Him and filled all His personal space, poking and mocking and I’m sure yammering on about insignificant things while the He was beaten, bruised, tired, and the walk to the cross had only just begun.
What do I need to do for myself right now in order to Love Brave?
Sometimes you know the answer and sometimes only our Savior does. A moment with Him, letting His grace fill our spaces, allows us to soak in the Love that is never irritable and send out that Love rather than snipping, biting, and poking back.
We will never stop the irritability drainpipe. I have fought that battle for too long and too hard and have ended up tired with a swirly and bad hair.
Love stops the drainpipe.
Go, Love Brave. Give yourself some space, and then let the Love out.
On it’s own, the last thing which sparks the inferno would probably not even register on regular days. The problem is I’ve been carrying kindling around, burdens I don’t have to bear, and then I wonder why I’m engulfed. I have different irritants than Heidi, but they are still there. Too often the inferno burns the ones I love most—that’s not fair. My wife and children shouldn’t get the worst version of me. They should get best version of me! Love is not irritable, and when I am, I need to confess. This is how I Love Brave. When I sin against my wife through combustibility, I repent to her, and to my children. It’s not fair to her, and it’s also not fair to them. I need to be modeling the love of Christ, which is self-sacrificing, and when I don’t, I ask for forgiveness. Love puts out the blaze. It unclogs the drain.