Nothing gets under my skin like a bad glitch. When I run into a device that isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, I can’t rest until I figure it out. In my mind, it’s like the technology and I are locked in a heated battle that won’t end until one of us gives up. Either I fix it, or I lose. And I refuse to admit defeat.
Example: When the smart devices at our house start acting up, I drop everything until they’re working properly again. It doesn’t matter what I’m supposed to be doing, what time it is, or how long it takes. I will unplug every outlet, reset every breaker, and update every firmware in that house until my home automations start working perfectly again.
I just can’t stand it when tech doesn’t work properly. It’s one of my quirks, I guess, and not one of my favorite ones. But if you’ve ever seen me offering someone tech support, you know that it’s serious business for me. I take it personally.
Another thing that bothers me—and I promise there’s a point to this—is bad theology. When I hear someone misquote scripture or rattle off some uncritical nonsense with dire theological consequences, I can hardly contain myself. I have to step in and say something. It gets my heart pumping, especially when I hear it coming from someone I care about it. It just irks me.
These are a couple of my pet peeves, and everyone has them. Little things that set us off to the point that we just can’t let go of them. To other people, they may seem trivial, like they don’t matter at all. But to us, they’re of the upmost importance. And they have a profound effect on us.
Usually when we talk about these quirks, it’s in the context of how to minimize them. We see them as a nuisance, as things that keep us from fully enjoying our lives. Even in the midst of bearing down on a technical issue or composing a response to a problematic statement about God, I’m usually thinking in the back of my head, “Why am I doing this again?”
We tend to see pet peeves as a bad thing. But as I’ve been reflecting on them and my experiences with them, I’m starting to think that there might be more to these tendencies than we give them credit for.
Have you ever wondered why we have pet peeves? Where they come from? Or what they might mean? As inconvenient as they are, and as much as we might like to rid ourselves of them, I think that these little quirks of ours might actually have some value.
Here’s what I mean: If something really bothers us that much—to the point that it even has the power to ruin our day—then it must matter to us quite a lot. When you look below the surface, what might seem trivial and petty at first could actually reveal what we value the most. Our pet peeves actually have something to teach us about who we are!
Is it possible that the things that annoy us the most might actually be hints at our passions? Maybe even our callings? I don’t know about you, but when I pay close attention to them, my pet peeves actually stem from some of the things I love the most.
I have a passion for technology. I love to see it used to create beautiful things, bring people together, and make the world a better place. And when things go awry with tech, I get frustrated. But that frustration isn’t actually a bad thing; it’s just the flip side of my passion.
Same with my home. I love our house. It’s my family’s own space, and I’m committed to doing everything I can to make it safe and comfortable. When something’s wrong with it, that really bothers me, not because I’m being too picky, but because I really care. That caring is a good thing.
I think you get the picture here. In a sense, pet peeves are just the flip side of passion. When we love something, we sometimes express that love in different ways. And one of those ways can be frustration when something is wrong with the thing we care about.
Maybe we would do well to see our pet peeves not as things to be avoided, but rather to be examined. When you find yourself getting frustrated by something, ask, “What does it say about me that I care so much about this thing? What can I learn from this?”
That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t keep our frustrations in check. We’re not meant to be disgruntled all the time, after all. But life isn’t always perfect, and when we’re feeling irked, we may as well use it for something positive rather than simply trying to avoid it entirely.
Our pet peeves can teach us important lessons about who we are and what we care about. And if we do the hard work, we can use that information to better pursue our passions and become more better people. That’s what I’m trying to do with my pet peeves, anyway. And I’d invite you to do the same.
What are your pet peeves? And what do you think they tell you about yourself? Whether it’s cars, grammar, design, or something else entirely, I think there’s something we can learn from each of our pet peeves if we only dive into them. I’d love to start that process together if you’d like to reach out.
That’s all I’ve got for this week, friends. Thanks for listening to me vent. I hope you found it helpful, too. And I hope to see you back here at the same time next week. Until then!