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Last week I talked about nagging, and how very harmful it is. But how do we break the ugly cycle of nagging? How do we live peace?
Look to Christ. It is as simple – and as difficult – as that. Look to the Word. What does He say? Prayer, gratitude, affirmation. The key, my sisters, is repetition. Consistency. Commitment.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
~ James 3:17-18
Pray and listen. Every. Single. Day. Get on your knees, bow your head, go to your quiet place. Talk to God. Pour out your heart, your anger, your frustration, your confusion. Ask for help, ask to be changed. Give God control.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
~ Philippians 4:6
It is so, so true that prayer changes things. Prayer puts your focus on God, on becoming more like Jesus. He promises that if we ask anything in His name, we will be given it. So ask for change, ask for strength; ask to be given love for the people in your life.
This one’s huge. Thanksgiving goes hand-in-hand with prayer.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We’ve heard it since we were children: “Count your blessings” and you will find joy. This is a whole topic on its own: books and books have been written on gratitude (here’s my favorite). Practicing gratitude changes you. It’s why God tells us to dwell on the good, pure and lovely.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~ Philippians 4:8
So to nagging specifically: defeat it by intentionally being grateful for the people you are nagging. Write it out. Remember it. If we don’t repeat, repeat, repeat – we forget. God knows this; He tells us again and again to remember. Repetition will slowly cause a thing to become second nature… and the nagging will dwindle away. Our concern is no longer with whatever we were nagging about, you see? Our concern is for the person and ultimately on pleasing the One Who made that person.
A natural extension of gratitude for the “nag-ees” is to affirm them. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
~ I Thessalonians 5:11
When we remember our love for them we will tell them about it. So do it! Write a note, thank them, compliment them, serve them. Do something every day. The more we affirm the less we nag. While you’re at it, affirm yourself. You are loved! Infinitely, perfectly, unconditionally. You don’t need to control it all. you don’t need to be anxious over whatever you’re nagging about. Remember you are loved and loving the other person will come easily. We love because he first loved us!
It’s a long process. We can’t change the other person. Yes, sometimes that person needs to do something – get that project done, help around the house, whatever – and it needs to be addressed. But we must watch carefully that we don’t nag about it. Many days I still fail. But thank God for grace! With his help I am being transformed. And you will be, too.