A couple of months ago, I was in a waiting room and stumbled across a great magazine article. (Several Google searches later, I still can't find the piece or the writer's name, so if this rings a bell, please help me give correct attribution!)
The author was talking about people who drive you crazy-- and how, as a general rule, if we notice something aggravating, it's because we do it, too. She suggested, when someone is driving you clean out of your gourd, that you write them a letter clearly outlining the obnoxious things that they do, and why you don't like the behavior.
Don't mail it.
Scratch out their name.
Substitute your own.
I tried it recently. I felt pretty anxious when I started (no kidding, right?), but set the timer for 15 minutes (because I can do scary things if it's only for a finite period of time). I tried to be as honest as possible (despite knowing that honesty was likely to bite me in the butt in a matter of minutes).
Here's what I noticed: I definitely do some of the things that annoy me in others. BUT, reading about it wasn't the terrible flogging I anticipated. Don't get me wrong, even as I was scrawling across the page, I thought to myself, "Well, crap." But the bigger feeling was gratitude, because I can't change something until I can see it.
I don't want to live a life where I fool myself into smugness and self-satisfaction. Discomfort is hope, because it's an indication of an unseen possibility, an opportunity to become more than I am right now. Jesus's command to take the log out of my eye first is not just a reprimand, but an invitation and encouragement. It's exciting to me when someone things I can be more than I am, and God always thinks that. This exercise is a great way to stay conscious of God's ongoing invitation to be more.
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