God in the Annoying

annoyed young woman

Take a minute to think of the person who annoys you most in your life, the one who always seems to find his or her way under your skin. That person who always seems to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and who most often brings out the worst in you. The person who knows every button to push to upset you. Now think about how you react when that person is in your midst. Do you try to avoid him or her? Do you find yourself saying things to or about him or her that you eventually come to regret? Does that person make you just plain grumpy for the rest of the day?

Not surprisingly, this is where my mind went when I read these words from Dorothy Day: “I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least.” When I first stumbled upon this quote, I have to admit that it winded me as though I had been punched in the stomach. There are a few people that seem to know how to bring out the worst in me. I am not too proud of how I treat them. If Jesus himself were before me, I would never even dream of treating him that way. But here was this quote, laying it bare before me that I have indeed treated Jesus badly.

Perhaps I fell into a sort of “only see the good” approach of finding God in others. God is good, so I fooled myself into finding God only in people who are easy to love and in situations where it was easy to see the good in my behavior. Somehow, I doubt that’s what St. Ignatius had in mind. He encouraged us to find God in all things—the good, the bad, and even the annoying. When I put the face of Jesus on those few people in my life who excessively annoy me and prompt me to act less lovingly, that changes things.

I think many of us have the experience of knowing someone who brings out the worst in us but who is in our life whether we like it or not. While it seems easier to justify our behavior by pointing out the fault in theirs, the challenge will be to put Jesus’ face on them and to remember Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me” (Matthew 25:40).

About Cara Callbeck 47 Articles

Cara Callbeck holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and works in the public sector as a human resources professional. Cara recently completed the Spiritual Exercises and has since felt quite drawn to Ignatian spirituality. She is now on a quest to learn more and grow and to incorporate Ignatian spirituality in her life as a professional, mother, and “woman for others.” Cara lives in the Canadian Prairies with the two greatest blessings in her life—her husband and daughter.

18 Comments on God in the Annoying

  1. Wow, that’s a powerhouse. Thank you, Cara. I liked everything about this post, especially the title. In today’s particularly divisive climate, this has extensive application and a lot of potential power.

  2. Us old folks say, “You hit the nail on the head”. Yep‼️You said everything I have learned and tried. People’s faces popped up and I said to myself, “You’ve gotta make this work this time. Thanks for the INSPIRATIION. Anna

  3. Thank you so much for this. I have certainly fallen into the trap of easily loving the loveable, but not treating the unloveable the same way. Your thoughts will help me try, and pray, harder.

  4. I just happened to put in my Facebook and this was the first post. Think the ‘Big Man’ is trying to tell me something. Very powerful and challenging post

  5. Yes, of course, there are people we respond to very positively and those we respond to negatively. We are human, not divine. Following Jesus is demanding and we do need to show our best to everyone. It’s challenging, isn’t it.

    • Pam – it is indeed a challenge. This post actually comes from my new year’s resolution. I am grateful that, while following Jesus can be demanding, He is always forgiving and patient!

  6. I have to keep reminding myself that God loves the other guy too, just as much as He loves me. At that point I try to see some good in this “other” guy. Then I have to look in the mirror and wonder whether the “other” guy sees God in me. Very thought provoking and worthy of reflection and contemplation and meditation and prayer. Thanks.

    • Helen, your comment made me chuckle. I am willing to be bet I AM the “other guy” for a few people! A humbling thought. I’ll have to remember that next time I am facing one of my more challenging acquaintances. Thank you.

  7. Thank you for this powerful insight & reminder. God’s timing is always perfect. I really needed this today!! Blessings & more power to you, Cara. Cheers from Toronto.

  8. First I want to say “Great post”. I loved it. But now I am trying to wrap my head around it. I agree in theory but I have been in several abusive relationships. I am trying to figure this out. Something is not right here. I cannot be around some “annoying” people or I get sucked into their drama. I feel like I have to be angry around them for my self preservation. Maybe this is something different altogether. I guess I could love them from afar. Any thoughts on this?

  9. I am going through an extremely diificult time with someone that was once the person I loved the most. Mant times I feel slighted and disrepected by this person and most times I supposed I respond in kind. This morning I was praying about this and then came across this article. Thank you!

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