This is a phrase I heard a lot growing up, from several various people. It always stuck with me. There was something about it that resonated with me. I did some research and found two possible origins for this commonly used saying. The first comes from an old french phrase, "prendre la chevre," which basically means, "to get your goat, or to take away the goat." In olden times, a person's goat would oftentimes be their only source of milk, so as you could probably imagine, they might get highly irritated, or offended if someone were to try and take it! The second possible origin I found, is a story that dates back to the early 1900's, about goats being placed with racehorses to keep them calm before horse races. So, if someone were to steal or take away an others goat, the horse would become unsettled and run badly, and thus they would 'get someones goat' and oftentimes their prize money too.
So in either case mentioned, the goat was highly prized, which explains how the saying became so popular. The "goat" I am referring to here, in reference to Let Nothing Get Your Goat, is your peace. You must treat it like a highly prized possession. Inner peace after all is the the greatest treasure. You must guard and protect your peace, like a turtle in an impenetrable shell. Others will try to steal, borrow and attack it, especially those who don't have much themselves. You yourself can even destroy and push it away by anger, pride, selfishness, envy, greed, addictions and etc. Buddha said, "Beware of bodily anger, and control your body! Beware of the anger of the tongue, and control your tongue. Beware of anger of the mind, and control your mind. Let a man leave anger, let him forsake pride, let him overcome all bondage!" This stuff is bondage because it keeps us from our natural, peaceful state.
In the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew, in the Bible, you can also gather similarities of this topic of letting nothing get your goat. It's a story about five virgins who had oil in their lamps and five who tried to borrow from those that had oil. The five that had oil were wise though and didn't let the others borrow theirs, so they could be prepared to see the son of man. This can also be symbolic of trying to borrow others light or inner peace, or not letting others borrow your light or peace, or ultimately, not letting others get your goat or your peace. There is also another great demonstration of this subject in 1 Peter 5:8-9. Peter basically tells us to be self controlled and watchful so the adversary who walks around like a prowling lion won't devour us. This is another great demonstration of guarding your peace and Letting Nothing Get Your Goat. A huge part of maintaining or having inner peace is self control in all areas.
The point I am making here is whenever we let things get our goat, we are letting them take our peace. We are giving our peace to them literally. And I don't know how valuable inner peace is to you, but it is everything to me. I work very hard to maintain mine and there is no way I am just gonna let someone try and steal, or borrow it from me. Sometimes it is challenging though, I won't lie. I was married to a woman for 9 years who didn't have much inner peace and she was constantly attacking mine, sometimes with a vengeance. She was very jealous of the peace I had within me. I had to be very strong to resist the temptation to fight and get defensive.
When you work hard to achieve inner peace, you also have to work hard to protect it. Some people are extremely manipulative and take great pride in borrowing others light and peace. But, if you let others get your goat, then it is you who ends up losing in the end. Inner peace is a pearl of great price. Guard it with your life. It is more valuable than a storehouse of treasures. Let Nothing Get Your Goat!
Copyright Justin Topik 2009