Pollen and Other Irritants

 ACHOO! It’s that time of year.

“This pollen is driving me crazy,” is the lament of many allergy sufferers each spring. The pollen seems to catch a breeze in the tops of tall pine trees and soar down into the nasal passages and eyes of its victims causing coughing, sneezing, sore throats, and swollen eyes.

Then a spring shower pops up and rinses the yellow invader from the trees, cars, and sidewalks, leaving the once powdery air crisp and clean.  “Ah. I can breathe at last,” sigh relieved souls as they welcome a reprieve from the yellow clouds that once covered the landscape. However, joy is often short-lived.

Alas, a few days later the boughs of oak trees sport their newly-formed grains of yellow dust and share them with unsuspecting folks each time the wind blows. Here we go again—grasses, flowers, shrubs, and all the beauties that grace the fashion runways of the season sport the same dusty yellow garments.

The cycle continues. Although we are grateful for the way God renews the earth and provides for plant growth, we are happy when pollen sufferers can breathe freely again.

The pollen reminds me of other irritations and pet peeves that threaten to spread misery in our environment. Have you faced any of these?

  • a driver holding up a long line of traffic trying to turn left at a busy intersection during rush hour
  • co-workers who complain and fail to carry their load
  • appliances that break
  • obnoxious sales calls
  • a friend who is always late
  • lost items you put in a “special” place
  • a recording that insists you press five numbers for the help you need

Have you noticed that once we pay attention to the irritants, they become more irritating? And then, more of them seem to invade our day. Focusing on the nuisances seems to make them multiply like dirty socks in the laundry.

Going outside with my contact lens magnifies the discomfort of pollen for me as the grainy bits sometimes lodge under the lens and require immediate cleansing. However, when I remember to wear my sunglasses, they block some of the pollen from bothering my eyes.

How can we block the ill effects of life’s daily challenges that surround us? Is it possible to ignore some pet peeves? Consider these two ways:

  1. Start the day with Bible reading and prayer to set the tone. Irritants are still as prevalent as the yellow dust outside but focusing on God minimizes the problems.

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

                                                                                                      Isaiah 26:3

  1. Filling our minds with good thoughts and the promises of God, reduces the capacity of our minds to dwell on problems. Challenges are real and some require action on our part. However, noticing and dwelling on them are two separate issues. I sometimes dwell on the negatives, forgetting to focus on good thoughts. This verse helps me realign my focus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

                                                                                                              Philippians 4:8

Maybe the pollen will remind us of how we deal with the irritants of life. I hope the verses above encourage us and remind us to share the peace of Christ with others.

How do you stay focused and peaceful when daily irritants swirl around you?

Bible verses are from the English Standard Version.

16 thoughts on “Pollen and Other Irritants

  1. Jeannie, this blog is right-on! The pollen is worse for me this year, and I lost my voice last weekend. Your article really encouraged me where life’s many irritants abound. It is so easy to focus on the situations that annoy us; however, we’re called to a higher standard. Your examples of dealing with those situations are wonderful, and I love that you began with Bible reading and prayer. The most important thing! Thanks for encouraging me today!

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Evelyn, I’m glad the post encouraged you and hope you feel better this week. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  2. Jeannie, after a week of allergies and dealing with pollen, love your analogy and spiritual application. Great encouragement! I think it might have been Joni Erikson Tada who once said we can become just as irritated over a fly on a wall as we do over some huge tragedy… your thoughts on this topic clearly bring this to light. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Another great article, Jeannie! Years ago, while in the car, I was giving my son similar advice, which was to focus on the positives and not let little things get under your skin. Then, I pulled up behind a driver who took a couple of seconds too long to move forward, and I yelled, “Hurry up, Slowpoke!” My son and I just looked at each other and burst out laughing. Obviously I can give advice better than I take it. It was a humbling moment for me–one of many!

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    the courage to change the things I can,
    and the wisdom to know the difference.”
    –Reinhold Niebuhr–one of my favorite quotes.

    • Post Author Jeannie Waters

      Glenda, thank you for sharing a candid moment with which we can all identify. 🙂 I like that quote, also, which contains a healthy dose of wisdom.

  4. Great job! I so enjoy reading your blogs. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Barbara McCollum

    This is so true! If our minds are on God”s positive promises, there really is little room for problems and negativity! For Southerners-pollen irritant analogy was perfect!

  6. I often tell myself and others when something goes wrong “If that’s the worst thing to happen today, it’s going to be great day indeed.” When you say that to someone with a smile, they seem to instantly be put at ease. It seems society has become so conditioned to people “exploding” over any little inconvenience that they have come to expect the worse from everyone. Another great “Diffuser” is “That’s why they call them accidents and not on purposes.” What a great reminder Ms. Jeannie. Thank you, and God’s blessings ma’am.

  7. I love Spring for the beauty and freshness; for the renewal of the Earth; for sunshine and warmer temperatures, but…Yep, that pollen really puts a damper on things. I get all those negative symptoms you name above. But, like you recommend, I try to focus on the lovely attributes of the season rather than bemoan the misery of constant sneezing and itchy eyes. That’s life isn’t it? We can focus on the negative and be miserable most of the time (because there’s always negative) or we can be thankful for God’s amazing gifts and be joyful.

  8. Katherine, your last sentence sums up how we face daily challenges. Thanksfor sharing.

  9. Have you noticed that once we pay attention to the irritants, they become more irritating? Ouch, that sentence spoke to me. You are spot on with your comments. Thank you!

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