Thursday, February 19, 2009


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How do you react when things go awry? I’m asking about those times when small things happen, not the tragic things in life. What if you lock your keys in the car? Or a glass of milk spills?

If you’re breathing, annoyances happen with certain regularity. This past Sunday morning, my very old hair dryer gave up the ghost, and I was rushing to be on time. Showered and dressed, the finishing touch was to style my hair. That’s when the dryer puffed a few feeble breaths and killed over. I didn’t have a spare. Or spare minutes.

I turned on the overhead bathroom heater and stood underneath with a hand towel and style brush, hoping to get my short hair to a level of damp instead of drippy. When my husband checked on my getting-ready-for-church progress, he solved my problem.

He held a small space heater close to my hair and let the heat do its work. The style was a bit askew, but I was very grateful for my short cropped hair and thoughtful husband.

I remember having a conversation with one of my children about living above small aggravations, about how Christians could react. Throughout life, our days will get jiggled. That’s a good name for small annoyances – jiggles. Sometimes jiggles are easily taken in stride, if no other pressures coincide with them. But many times jiggles hop onto our days when the days are already full of confusion, and then we add our own explosion.

Since we can expect jiggles in future days, why not plan how to react. Nearly all of us (you saints excluded) have responded in typical ways: shoving or kicking an object, swearing or grousing.

Better reaction plans involve replacement. Plan what you will do or say next time a jiggle knocks on your day. One thing that works is to decide on a positive statement that can be said instead of venting frustrations. Of course, coworkers might wonder what is going on when a four pound box drops on your foot and you say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” But it’s a superior alternative to hearing a person swear under their breath.

No one can live a perfect life and react with constant pleasantness when the unexpected happens but planning a reaction is very worthwhile, because the plan will work most of the time. Children watch and learn from adults and can become skilled in their reactions when their own jiggles come calling.

Responding to annoyances with scripture phrases from the Psalms is one calming way to address life-hassles. Try saying these words next time a jiggle occurs: “Make your face shine upon your servant” (119:135), “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble” (119:165). Or perhaps you’d prefer more familiar words that can restore your soul, “He leads me beside quiet waters” (23:2).

Have a good week, and may it be jiggle-free.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Thank you for this reminder today! I'm moving into what might be a weekend full of "jiggles." I'll be thinking about what my standard response phrase will be!