Ever since I was a young girl, I have always loved organization and order in my life. Everything I have ever owned has had its own place. My room always stayed clean, with my clothes always put away, all my school books and personal items in their place and organized.
Having a clean, organized place to live and now work from gives me a sense of peace. If the dishes are dirty in the sink, I can’t concentrate on the things I need to do for the day. I am, admittedly, a little OCD.
My husband is not as organized or orderly as me. His desk and workspace is cluttered, books open face down, papers scattered, but somehow, he seems to thrive where everything is at his fingertips. I respect how he works and creates, and he respects my methods as well. At times, it feels like we are complete opposites. We balance each other out and it makes for a happy marriage – most of the time.
When any of us are feeling ‘out of sorts’ that is where issues may arise.
Maybe the little things – like him leaving his shoes outside of the closet or me moving his books in an effort to tidy up – get to us. We might make a not-so-nice comment to each other. We might be silent and less loving. We might let frustration and anger arise and play out in our actions.
Suddenly, our balance is off and neither of us is happy.
So what is it that provokes that ‘out of sorts’ feeling and pushes us over the edge? Maybe it is one or all of the following.
- We lose perspective on what is important.
- We don’t acknowledge our feelings and over time, they boil over.
- We are selfish and don’t give others grace.
- We think we are right.
- We forget to lead with love.
Instead of seeing the ‘big picture’ our perspective gets small and focused only on our selves. Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God talks about being God-focused and not self-focused, which I believe is the key to having a better perspective in life. Does it really matter if there are dirty dishes in the sink? Not really. Having a dirty dish means that we shared a meal and spent time together. Looking beyond the little things helps us see that quality time is important and needed.
Having an emotional reaction to something is not wrong; it is human. How you process that emotion says a lot about your maturity. For example, if I am angry because of something someone said to me and I don’t acknowledge that anger, it will build up inside and eventually boil over. I may raise my voice or use a not so pleasant tone about something that is completely unrelated. Instead, if I recognize my anger and come to understand why I am angry, I can release it and even forgive the person or situation that made me angry.
Even Jesus got angry when He saw the greediness of people in the temple, John 2:13-17. The Bible teaches us how to deal with our anger in Ephesians 4:26 ESV: Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Only thinking of yourself leads to selfishness and completely separates us from other people. We see our lives and our way of thinking as better than someone else. When someone does something differently than we would do it, we forget to have grace towards them. We forget that we all have different life experiences that bring us to different ways of doing things. If we get caught up in only our ways, we miss out on true relationship with others.
My prayer is that we have compassion for others, patience and grace in order to be less selfish.
I’m right, you are wrong.
Selfishness leads to always thinking you are right. You completely disregard the idea that perhaps your way is not the right way. My OCD nature helps me stay focused and calm in my life. My exterior world is organized and I feel ‘put together.’ Sometimes, though, even though my exterior world is orderly, my inside world is not – meaning, my mind is racing though my To Do list, my thoughts are all over the place, and I am not feeling peaceful. Maybe my desire for organization externally overtakes my internal need for peace and I need to let go of the OCD and just stop. I need to listen to the voice of my Heavenly Father and know that it is OK; that I am OK. My need to control is not always the right thing to do in the moment. My way is not always the right way. Once I surrender this control, I often can feel peace in the moment.
One of my go to Bible verses to release my desire to be right AKA my need for control is Matthew 11: 28-30 Passion Translation: Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.
All you need is love.
One of my favorite Beatles songs is “All you need is love.” I honestly believe that if we can get back to love, everything else is trivial. When we show love and share love with others, we let go of the things in life that make us ‘out of sorts.’ We find balance in our lives because our perspective shifts from ourselves and we realize we don’t need to hold on to negative emotions. We release the control we try to have in our lives and we get back to being the loving person that God created us to be.
He loves us so much. It is up to us to share that love with others. If we truly can hone in on the love that is in our hearts, hidden away behind all the other junk we tend to hold on – even my OCD nature – then, we can live a happier life.
Instead of constantly fighting with our spouses, friends, family members, let’s choose love. Let’s use this time to let go of the things in our lives that don’t really matter and discover what is truly important. Love.
It is that LEAP of love that will heal wounds, bridge friendships, and bring peace to our broken, messy world. We can only take that LEAP together. Are you ready?