Inviting God Into Our Annoyances

I was 20 years old the first time I attempted to read the Story of a Soul, the spiritual autobiography by Therese of Lisieux, a young sickly French Carmelite nun who became not only a saint, but a Doctor of the Church. I have a clear memory of chucking the book across the room and exclaiming, “Nobody can do this!”

The “this” is what has become known as “The Little Way.” It is Therese’s spirituality described as the charitable offering of her life’s daily annoyances in loving surrender to God for all those who don’t love Him and thus meriting the conversion of their souls.

It is called the Little Way, but I found it way too big for me!

Therese writes about her choosing to joyfully tend the ornery wheelchair-bound nun who complained non-stop, being grateful for the nun who intentionally or not splashed dirty water on her, and turning the clacking of the teeth of a nun during the praying of the Rosary into a sweet song to God.

Understanding “The Little Way”

As I grew in my faith over the years, I once again tackled the Story of a Soul, and this time became determined to walk The Little Way as Therese taught. In the second reading, I came to understand better that it is in the freely choosing to be kind and charitable God grants the grace to be able to do so. Therese admits of herself she is incapable of such charity and kindness; rather it is the mercy of God that comes to her rescue when she wills the charitable act.

In my attempts to walk The Little Way, God’s grace came and to the recipient, charity was given, but interiorly I remained grumpy and resentful. I would apologize to God for my interior complaints. I confessed the resentful thoughts in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, yet continued to struggle.

What I recently discovered to great spiritual success is a particular nuance of the Little Way I did not appreciate before and that I would like to share with you now.

Instead of asking for the grace to be charitable, ask the Holy Spirit to “be” the charity you lack.

Overcoming Annoyances in Everyday Life

I am tasked with bringing my mother-in-law to her doctor appointments. I do it willingly as I have the time, it helps my husband who is busy during the day, and I enjoy a good relationship with my mother-in-law. This task should be easy, but often I am annoyed and grumble inside with every referral she is given.

See if you can relate . . . the annoyances include the reality it is going to take a big chunk out of my day. There is the picking up, the parking garage, the walker in and out, and the brisk front desk clerk who hands us the sure to annoy me 4-page intake form. Do practices not have a way to share this information?! Then, several minutes after our appointment time which we are told we must be on time for, we finally make it to the exam room only to be asked the very same questions we just spent 20 minutes filling out. Annoying, right!?

On one such day, I spoke to God letting Him know what he was already quite aware of. I said,

“Lord, I don’t want to do this today.”

Then I turned away from me and thought about what our Lord wants. I said,

“You love my mother-in-law and want to spend time with her. You love every person we will be interacting with, and you want to encounter them. Please come into every conversation, every circumstance today, and be the charity you know I cannot be.”

It was not until after I dropped my mother-in-law off at her apartment, I realized our Lord answered my prayer. Not once did I grumble exteriorly or interiorly. There were plenty of what would typically annoy me, yet I was not annoyed . . . not even once. I gave the Lord what he wanted, encounters with people through me, and he gave me what I wanted, peace! It was a good day!

Putting Faith into Action

These Divine accompaniments are repeated when I remember to ask. That’s the thing . . . God never assumes it is understood. He respects our free will and waits for us to ask.

As Jesus says,

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5).

It is always worth the ask!

Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic whose greatest desire is to make our Lord Jesus more loved. She seeks to accomplish this through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, as a writer, Missionary of Hope, Prayer Intercessor, Speaker Team member, and Volunteer for Pilgrim Center of Hope.

Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.