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Go ahead...be an irritation

It was Carl Jung who reminded us, "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." I find some stuff others do a little more than irritating - like when someone chews loudly with their mouth open, or when they leave one teaspoon of ice cream in the bottom of the container in the freezer. These things are just not supposed to happen! There is an 'etiquette' to chewing and a courtesy to 'sharing', is there not? Yet, if we are honest about what irritates us the most, we might just find out that we do not really stop at finding the 'behavior' offensive - in time, unchecked irritation can lead to anger, disgust, and even a riff in the relationship! For our love to grow, sometimes we have to 'check' our irritations to see if they reveal just a little more about how we really are treating each other.

Your faith is growing more and more. And the love that every one of you has for each other is also growing. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 ERV

Love that is growing is the result of a faith that is growing. It is kind of hard to separate the two. We must be in right relationship, growing in grace with Jesus, then we can focus on growing in grace with each other. As your faith grows, so does your love. It is not the opposite way around. So, if you are struggling to get past some of the 'irritations' of others in your life, you might just want to take a moment to explore your faith relationship with Jesus. It may not be as deep as it needs to be! Those are pretty harsh words, I know, but sometimes we need to hear the truth about ourselves from someone else because we almost always tell ourselves what we WANT to hear, not what we NEED to hear!

Mother Teresa always tried to meet others with a smile - she said a smile was the beginning of love. A smile reflects so much, oftentimes breaking down barriers that otherwise would not be breached. The little act of smiling was her way of 'opening doors' for her to minister to the deeper needs of those around her. Now, before you plaster a smile on your face and head out the door today, let me assure you a genuine smile comes from the heart. It isn't practiced or rehearsed. It is real because there is a love behind it that stems from a very real and deep faith that is growing daily. That is why her smile was so powerful - her faith was vibrant and growing. To her, sharing a meal was an act of love - opening doors to the poor and meeting their most basic of needs.

I wonder if things irritated her? I imagine seeing the overwhelming poverty of Calcutta might have just gotten under her skin from time to time. Seeing caste systems at work might have caused her a little consternation. Yet, she learned to live in such a way so as to allow those 'irritations' to bring her to a deeper faith. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all turned our 'irritations' into opportunities for us to see something within us that needs God's touch and our growth? We'd like to blame others for irritating us, but maybe it would be best to thank them for those irritations - because they are opportunities to expose areas where our faith needs to grow! Just sayin!

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