What gets under your skin like nothing else?

Annoying behaviors or occurrences that affect you on a personal level are known as pet peeves. These are things that drive you up the wall or make you grit your teeth in frustration, but don’t really bother a lot of other people.

Everybody “suffers” from these and leaders in the church are no different. Recently, I was interviewed by Grant Vissers for the Young Church Leaders podcast (you can check it out here) and the two of us briefly talked about a question I have been asking myself this year when it comes to issues I seek to address in my church and personal life:

Is this a problem or is this a pet peeve?

Since asking myself this question, two things have started to happen: my stress has gone down and I’ve been able to spend my time with things that are actually deserving of my energy and attention.

I understand a pet peeve to be something that only affects me and has little to no impact on the ministry. I understand a problem to be a repeating action that is getting in the way of spiritual, character and even numerical growth.

Addressing a problem is about serving others. Addressing a pet peeve is about serving yourself.

Here is why this is important to the health of your heart—giving time to your pet peeves means you’re trying to exercise control and authority in areas that don’t matter. You are trying to increase the geography of self.

If we are known for needing to have our way in every particular, it never reflects well—on us or Jesus. (Galatians 5:26)

Take on the spirit that Paul writes about in Philippians 2.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

The very next time you find yourself frustrated at something outside of your control, it might very well be the perfect opportunity to practice “death to self.” Take the opportunity to give in to the interests of others and even submit to other people on the team out of reverence for Jesus. (Ephesians 5:21)


What are some pet peeves you may be mistaking for problems?