Whatever Bothers Me
"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'"1
Years ago when I was doing a counselor training course, one of the instructors made the statement, "Whatever bothers you is your problem!"
"Hmmm," I thought to myself, "that's an interesting concept—never thought of that before."
At the time I was going through a rough situation personally and was in despair about it. During the course of the training, I explained to my counselor about my predicament and he said, "That must make you angry."
"No," I replied, "I'm just hurt." And he left me with the thought, "That must make you angry!"
Shortly after that I went for a long walk, thinking about, "That must make you angry." Then the truth hit me like a bolt of lightning! "Whew," I admitted to myself, "I am angry—very angry!"
I was never able to change the person whom I felt had rejected and hurt me so badly, but I was able to change me, and come to terms with my feelings (which I had learned to bury and deny at an early age), and resolve them. It also helped me to deal with the anger I had towards my father from whom I had been estranged for many years and resolve that impaired relationship. Fortunately, I was able to do this a few months before he died. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.
What others do to me may or may not be a problem, but how I react and feel is always my responsibility. However, to the degree that I overreact, that is always my problem.
It is true; whatever bothers me is my problem. This can be a hard pill to swallow, but until we accept this reality, we will continue to blame others for our feelings and possibly never resolve our hurts/anger or impaired relationships.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You for the people in my life whom You have used to confront me with truth and reality. They have been angels in disguise. Help me to always recognize them as such and use their insights to help me become a better, healthier, and more loving and accepting person. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Luke 18:13 (KJV).