I’m sure this article has nothing to do with you. It’s about difficult people. You might want to keep reading though, because you probably know a few folks in your life who fit the description.

A difficult person is someone who constantly seems to give their opinion— loudly— even when you haven’t asked for it; someone who has to complain about how hot it is when you’ve just commented on the beautiful sunshine; the person you avoid having over to your house because you’re certain they are making a mental checklist of all the things you haven’t cleaned prior to their arrival.

I used to think the world was full of difficult people.

My husband was difficult. My children were difficult. Sometimes even my friends were difficult.

Here’s what I learned the hard way: if you’re surrounded by difficult people and the only common denominator is you, well… you might be the difficult one.

Sorry. I know that’s a painful truth. I had to face it myself.

Today’s memory verse hits me hard, because it illuminates a blind spot, something about myself that I never realized. There was a time in my life when I was pretty difficult to live with. I’m sure there are days when I still am.

“Better to live in the desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Proverbs 21:19 (NIV)

If you ask my family, they’ll probably admit that there are times I’m hard to handle, but they are much rarer than before — before I started to be intentionally kind, before I allowed my husband the honor of being the head of the household, and before I realized that the pause in my words before I speak allows the Holy Spirit time to intervene.

Saul would leave his socks on the floor or his dishes on the table and I would take it as a personal offense. He doesn’t care about my needs. He doesn’t respect me. He’s gonna hear about this.

I imagine there were times when he wanted to live in a desert. Thank God he stuck around.

God’s gotten a hold of my tongue and my temper and he’s not nearly done. There is still so much renovation needed in my heart. But in the meantime, He’s opened my eyes to something spectacular that keeps me wanting to change. He has allowed me to see that the less difficult I become, the less difficult others seem to be.

If you are struggling to live in harmony, with yourself or with others, may I gently suggest three things that continue to help me immensely?

  1. Go do an act of kindness for another person today.
  2. Allow someone else (your child, your spouse) to control just one little thing in your household.
  3. Slow down before you speak.

The Holy Spirit wants to work in our lives, erasing the difficulties, both in ourselves and in others. All we have to do is open the door.