Monday, July 18, 2011

Selfish Socks

I haven't posted in a while, but there have been several times when I've thought of something profound and wanted to post but haven't quite gotten around to it.  I think that's one of the symptoms of the ridiculous busyness of my life.  But, that's a whole different story.

The Lord has really been working on my heart and in my life in the past couple months.  I'm not sure where he's leading me, but it is evident that we're headed somewhere.  I'm excited to see where that may be.  

One of the things God has used in my life to challenge me and help me reshape my thinking was my recent trip to Brazil.   This was my second time to travel to Porto Alegre, Brazil with Living Bread Ministries, a ministry working to plant churches in poor communities.   I was challenged in several ways throughout the trip, but the first challenge happened while I was packing.  Though it's a sweltering summer here in Lynchburg, in south Brazil it's the beginning of their winter, so I was trying to pack layers to prepare appropriately for their weather: warmish (upper 60s, maybe low 70s) in the day, cool (50s) in the evenings.  

I decided that flip flops or sandals wouldn't be wise since it would be chilly, and we'd be walking all over dirty streets. Thus my need to pack socks.  So, I stood in my bedroom counting out how many days we'd be traveling pulling that many pairs of socks out of my so-stuffed-I-can't-always-close-it-properly sock drawer.  Then I decided I didn't want to wear certain pairs of socks, so I swapped them for other pairs I like better.  I have so many pairs of socks that I could be choosy about which 12 pairs I packed for the trip.  More. than. 12. pairs. of. socks.  Really?  Who needs that many socks?  I mean, I do laundry often enough that even if I wore a pair of socks every single day (which I don't), I wouldn't need that many.  

I know there is nothing inherently wrong with having a bajillion pairs of socks.  But, I think my ridiculous number of socks is one indicator/symptom of my oh-so-comfy lifestyle of excess, convenience, instant gratification, and self-ward focus.  I don't live so selfishly on purpose, but it happens by default, by lack of intentionality to live selflessly.

So, I realized that I have too many socks.  And too many most other things in my life.  I was packing to go on a missions trip to serve people, many of whom don't have ANY pairs of socks, and I was being picky about which 12 pairs I was packing.  

I'm betting you can probably guess where I'm going with this.  I haven't cleaned my sock drawer out yet, but I am actively reevaluating how I am using my resources and what I am doing to be intentionally outward-focused instead of inward-focused.  There are so many people who have various needs in my neighborhood, in my town, in my state, in my country, and around the world.  What am I doing that will have a positive impact on them?  I have been blessed with so much, but I so often just enjoy these blessings myself without sharing them with others.  

So my sock challenge is to use my resources to bless others, to use what I have to the benefit of someone other than myself.  

....and this was before I even set foot on an airplane headed to Brazil.


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