My nerves were raw because of the faint, repetitive sound in the background of our conversation. As I sat in my parents’ kitchen talking to my mom, the faucet behind her was dripping… and dripping… and dripping.
It. Drove. Me. Bananas.
I got up and tightened the handle.
It didn’t help.
I wanted to grab the nearest screwdriver and fix it. But, I couldn’t. I’m not a sink-fixer. I cannot express to you how severely lacking my sink-fixing skills are. And although I’m sure there is an online instructional video that could teach me how to fix that faucet in five quick steps, I had neither the desire to learn nor the patience to try.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Isn’t it amazing how something so small and seemingly insignificant can bother us? It was torture! I left the room. I had to. I needed to get away from the sound of the drip.
Once I composed myself, I got to thinking. The Bible compares this type of drip to a quarrelsome and nagging woman. The MESSAGE paraphrase of Proverbs 27:15 reads, “A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; You can’t turn it off, and you can’t get away from it.” Likewise, the NIV version of Proverbs 19:13 says, “…a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.”
The word “nag” is defined by [i]Webster’s Online dictionary this way:
- to find fault incessantly: complain
- to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction
- to irritate by constant scolding or urging
Obviously, this behavior is not gender specific – men can surely nag and be quarrelsome too. Whether the behavior comes from a man or a woman, a friend or a foe, the impact is universal: nagging is a negative behavior that drives people to frustration, drives others away, and does not bring glory to God. Period.
I wonder how many times we drive our husbands, our co-workers, our children, our friends or even our acquaintances away because of nagging or quarrelsome behavior? Are we even aware of it in our own lives? Do we justify it or brush it off when another person fails to meet our expectations?
Am I stepping on some toes here? I assure you, mine are bearing the weight too. Oh, how we can complain and vie for control. Our expectations of others so stir us up: how we think they should act, communicate, behave, respond, and dress. Blah. Blah. Blah. The truth of the matter is, we cannot choose behavior for others, but we can choose for ourselves.
We can choose to walk worthy of our calling in Christ. (Colossians 1:10) We can choose to call on God so that His Spirit can be evidenced in and through us in the spiritual discipline of self-control. Nagging fuels the fire of contention and frustration. Quarreling does the same. But don’t take my word for it… take God’s Word for it!
“As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.” (Proverbs 26:21)
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” (Philippians 2:14-15)
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
So you see? There’s a snag in our nag! We can try to justify nagging all we want, but when push comes to shove, it is not a behavior that is supported by Scripture. Say it with me, “There’s a snag in my nag!”
In light of this, what will your behavior look like next time you are tempted to nag, quarrel, complain, or attempt to control another? Here are a few ideas to help eliminate our drips:
Replace nagging with prayer. (Not with: “Lord, change him or her!” But with: Lord change me. Help me. Strengthen me. Give me Your grace. Give me Your wisdom.”)
Leave the room or conversation if possible or appropriate. (Don’t even give yourself a chance to get the words out!)
Change what you can control: your response.
Eventually, my parents got their leaky faucet fixed. I’m still working on my leak, but with God’s help, I know I can do all things. We all can. Would you join me today in asking God to help us honor Him with our words and responses?
Dear Lord, Please forgive me for the times when I have attempted to control my circumstances and other people through nagging and quarreling. Forgive me for the times when complaining has been my response. Help me to sift my words and my thoughts through Your grace. Help me grow in You and show You in all I do. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Thanks for doing life with me,
FOR YOUR REFLECTION
Where does this find you today? Spend time journaling and praying about this.
FOR YOUR RESPONSE: Need prayer? Leave a prayer request in the comments section. Then pause to pray for some of the other prayer needs and encourage one another.
*Photo credit: Joey Marchetti