My older brother, TJ, and I became very close during our younger years. As a matter of fact, I was often close on his heels. You see, TJ was an expert at aggravating me. I could always depend on him to be by my side. He would enjoy goofing off from doing our chores just to bother me. He would continue aggravating me in an effort to provoke me to swing at him, a good way for him to start a “play” fight with me. Calling me names, he would pull my hair, hit me, or try to trip me. I’d scramble after him around the coffee table, behind the sofa, over the sitting chair; I couldn’t catch him because he was excellent at dodging, and he ran much faster than me. He knew that he was so good at faking me out that he kept on until I would trip on something and come crashing to the floor:
“What a dork!” TJ pointed his finger at me while laughing hilariously.
“Shut up!” I retorted in my irritation, too exhausted to get revenge.
“Shut up!” he mocked me in a pouting voice.
My brother never failed to surprise me with his sensational dedication to practicing his instrument while he was learning to play the drums. I’d be in the kitchen trying to eat a snack during a relaxing break when TJ would sit down and begin his inevitable beating. Since he loved to play drums so much, he would beat on any flat surface available like the wall, the door, the table, his thighs, and unfortunately the top of my head:
“Will you please stop beating on everything? You’re making me lose my mind!” I said, exasperated.
“I didn’t know you had one,” TJ laughed.
“MOM!” I yelled, chasing after him.
The times we spent together, even folding towels was unlike any other brother-sister relationship. We’d be folding towels when he would “pop” me with a towel:
“Ouch!” I screamed out, “That hurt, you meany!”
“You poor baby,” TJ whimpered. “OK, OK, I promise I won’t do it again.”
We continued folding towels. A few minutes later when I had my back turned, “POP!” and the chase began again. He took every opportunity to aggravate me. While I was getting ready for bed, TJ would patiently knock on the bathroom door and ask, “Aren’t you done primping for your pillow yet?”
Numerous times growing up I had the chance to respond with patience, but I failed every. single. time. Instead of allowing God to work long-suffering in me, I became a short fuse to irritation. I didn’t turn to the Word of God to counsel me during those times. Instead I became a tough tomboy on the outside with a calloused spirit on the inside.
**ADDENDUM** In writing this, it may have come across that it was always like this between my brother and me. It wasn’t. We had many laughs, and many more good times than silly, sibling rivalries. Additionally, this was 25 years ago. 😉 We get along very well, and I love him very much.
Unpacking the Application
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. James 1:4 NKJV
As we go through the next few posts, ask God to give you a revelation about sweetness of spirit. God may desire to begin a new work in you concerning this area. Respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Write what God shows you in your journal.
How do you respond when others get on your last nerve?
Have you turned to the counsel of the Word of God when you find you aren’t responding correctly?
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Photo credit: Ken Wilcox (Creative Commons)