(Spoiler Alert:  After reading this post my OCD friends may never view me in the same way again!)  For me 2015 was the year of mismatched socks.  This is not a metaphor like “my life became unraveled.”  Nor is it a simile as in “Like a duck takes to water, I take to eating chocolate.”  I literally mean that in 2015 I wore mismatched socks a lot...a whole lot.

If I had to guess, I would say that 25% of the time I left the house, my socks didn’t match.  Oh, they might have both been black, or gray or blue...but they weren’t a matched set.  I even spent good money on expensive pairs of PURPOSELY mismatched socks.  (Hey!  Winter in Maine is too long to wear boring things on your feet 24/7.)

Before you set up a “GoFundMe” account to refurbish my sock wardrobe, let it be known that most of my socks have mates.  I even counsel the others in my household to wash their dirty socks in lingerie bags so as to not lose socks to the Abominable Washman, also known as Weti.  

But my good intentions break down after that, because often I don’t take the time to sort the socks and put them away after I wash them.  I just hunt and peck out the laundry basket when it comes time to get dressed. (I warned you that you’d look at me differently.)

For me taking the time to humbly sort socks just isn’t as important as working on my book project for Micronesia, or perusing FB, or catching some ZZZZ’s after driving back from Jersey.  It just isn’t.  

This lack of neatness drives my husband crazy. Through the years we’ve created some unique ways to cope with our different neatness quotients. (Hint: more laundry baskets are used to store things that to carry laundry!) But sometimes my alternate activities, like book collecting for Micronesian schools, also clutter up the house.

Somehow, I was oblivious as to how much these messy tendencies of mine derail my husband - until we recently spent three days in Chicago.  Each morning we would go off to our varying destinations:  he to continuing education meetings and I to sight-seeing.  We’d leave the bed unmade and the wet towels on the floor in the bath to be replaced. Each evening we would come back to an immaculate room.  

I came to enjoy the wicked clean lines of a smoothly made bed and the pristine view of an uncluttered room.  The second evening it hit me:  this is what my husband craves. Simplicity.  Lack of clutter.  Open, dare I say, Californian spaces.

    And I never give it to him.  

Ouch!  Since then I’ve spent some time thinking about this fact as I ruminate over Philippians 2:4 “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  The bent of my personality may be to clutter, but that doesn’t mean I can’t unbend my bent...if only a bit!

This verse does NOT say that my own interests/bents should be ignored; just tempered.  And the reason I should temper my interests/bents?  It’s stated in verse 2 “Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”  

Joy. Love. Purpose.  We all want these.  Who knew that they are somehow tied up together with humility?  

Joy. Love. Purpose.  We all want these.  Who knew that they are somehow tied up together with humility?  If you doubt THAT truth, give humility, also known as “considering others better than yourselves” a try. (See verse three.)

In 2016 I am staring humility in the face and bowing before it.  Hopefully the order in my home will increase, although I’m sure I’ll still wear mismatched socks and leave piles of books around.   Perfect neatness will probably never be attained, but I owe it to the one I love to try! As a wise man once wrote, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) In my case, one might summarize, “As sock feels soft against sock, so one man softens another.” To God be any future glory!

 

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