When the Well-Meaning Annoy You

So encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.

1Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get tired of people trying to cheer me up.

Not true friends who understand, but people with pat answers like:

“You can choose to be happy.”

“Just believe God and you’ll be fine.”

“It’s always darkest before dawn.”

“It could be worse.”

The problem is not the words but the tone, the facial expression, the underlying implication that if we’d just suck it up and smile, everything would be fine, and because we aren’t, it’s somehow our own fault.

There are some days I don’t want to hear the right answers. I already know the right answers, but I’m tired of being tired. I’m tired of being so out of control. I’m tired of having to fight every day in a war I know I can’t ever fully win. I want a break from having to constantly know what time it is so I don’t miss eating exactly when I should. I want a day where I can eat anything I want, where I don’t have to count carbs or sugar content or make sure I have enough protein. I want not to have to take pills at exactly the right time every single day. I want a day off from being a sick person.

Does this mean I’m a terrible person, or I don’t have faith in God, or I need counseling? Well, I’m going to give you my theory on the yucky times. The two most obvious options are to stuff the feelings or go with the feelings. Neither choice works out very well. So, is there some option that doesn’t keep the feelings festering in me while also protecting all heads in the vicinity from being bitten off? I think there is.

First, I need to accept and admit I feel this way—to God, my husband, or a good friend. Just saying it out loud has healing properties in it.

Then I need to adapt to the situation. If I can tell I’m up to my neck in frustration about my condition I should change my situation so that others are not negatively affected by my feelings and the outward result of them.

Those are the times when I ask my husband if he’d watch the kids so I can go away by myself and write. I get away by myself and focus on something else, and somehow just a small break of a couple of hours makes a huge difference.

If you’re not into writing, maybe it’s something as simple as going into a room by yourself and watching a movie, reading a good book, or going shopping. Giving yourself some kind of a break from the stress is a coping mechanism. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle your condition, or you’re a failure. It means you’re human and you sometimes get overwhelmed by a problem that never goes away.

If you catch yourself wanting to snap when someone offers you sunshiny thoughts or happy endings, find a way to take a little break. Even a marathon runner needs to stop between races. Some of us don’t get to take a break from our conditions for weeks, days, or even hours. But if you can find some way to forget about it or leave the responsibilities of it with someone else for a little chunk of time, I believe it will be good for you, for your family, and for anyone else within head-biting range.

Give yourself permission to take a break. When you do, enjoy it without guilt.

* * *

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below!

What phrase do people say that gets to you the most?



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With five different health conditions, including Addison’s disease, asthma, and a cyst nestled under her brain, Kimberly Rae knows what it’s like to live tired of dependence on medication, guilty over needing help, and frustrated over fielding the frequent comment, “But you don t look sick!” Published over 250 times, Rae has work in five different languages. She writes from her home in North Carolina, where she lives with her very patient husband and two young children who regularly pray, “Please help Mommy get better,” and who both love cars and trains despite one of them being a girl.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.