Ever get a pebble in your shoe or your sock and think, Now, where did that come from?
I’m a sock person. I wear socks a lot and, every once in a while, I find the tiniest bit of something irritating my foot. I turn my sock inside out, only to find a barely visible piece of grit. I shake out my sock and get rid of it.
Irritations, like pebbles, come in all sizes. We all have them at one time or another. Whether in our socks or in our spirits.
Usually, we struggle not with the big boulders in our life’s path but with the puny pebbles. The boulders we can generally manage. But the pebbles? They end up causing us to stumble, fall, or just be irritated.
They are like little stumbling blocks, little annoyances that get under our skin and in our spirit. They elicit ungracious thoughts that pop out of our heart and mouth that shouldn’t. Or to just stay hidden in our thoughts.
Guess who just loves to initiate those pebble attacks? The enemy. His vexations can come out of nowhere, like…
*someone has an opposing opinion of your beliefs and unloads a barrage of venomous words about it
*someone pulls out in front of you while driving and lets you know it’s your fault
*your kids aren’t playing nicely together
*you drop half your lunch on the floor
*the water company overcharges you
*odd habits of your spouse
Or maybe it’s one of these…
*fear of failure
*fear of not being good enough
*fear of rejection
*doubt or worry
Even the smallest grit can get in our spirit and irritate us.
Irritations will boot joy and praise right out the front door. And the enemy’s laughter will be almost audible. He hates our joy and praise. He gets a kick out of upsetting us, tripping us over little things. He relishes knocking “us down with a straw…Most of us manage better in our great struggles than we do in our minor ones.” (A.B. Simpson)
We have a choice. If we harbor those pebbles of irritation, we do not have a clear conscience before God. Paul said, “I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.” (Acts 24:16 NKJV) By definition, an offense is a stumblingblock.
However, to counteract those stumblingblocks, we can choose joy and praise, which will ring the enemy’s death-knell.
What do we do with those irritants? We can turn them into pearls! Yes, pearls of praise.
A natural pearl forms when a foreign substance slips in between the oyster’s mantle and the shell. It begins to irritate the mantle. The oyster’s natural reaction is to protect itself from a foreign substance. The man¬tle covers the irritant with layers of the same substance used to create the shell. And eventually, it forms a pearl.
So, next time your socks get full of irritating grit and you wonder, Where did that come from, turn those irritations inside out and get rid of them. Protect yourself from the enemy’s irritants by using praise. Oysterize that grit into pearls of praise!
The worst sound in the ears of the enemy is praise from the lips of one of God’s children. The enemy hates it. Praise gets the attention of both God and the enemy!
May you protect yourself from the enemy’s gritty irritants by transforming them into pearls of praise!
***This post first appeared as There’s a Rock in My Shoe 6/20/13.