There are sometimes when I have a fairly obsessive personality. It mostly manifests itself when I lose something. There are few things that frustrate me more than losing something. In some ways, I consider it a disappointment that I would be so careless. In other ways, it could just be my bucking against the busyness of life. I generally lose things when I have a lot going on and I get overwhelmed with trying to keep everything straight.
If you would ask my wife, she would tell you that on more than one occasion, I have taken a ride late at night to go in search of something at my office that I was unable to find at home. If I go to bed having lost something, I have had a hard time sleeping and usually get up to search for whatever is lost. On the Myers-Briggs Type indicator, I am a fairly strong "J" which means that I need closure and resolution.
My wife, on the other hand, is not nearly as obsessive. On the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, she is a "P" which means that she can more easily float from one thing to another without feeling the need for closure. We are different people and over the course of our 11 years of marriage, I'd like to think that we have come a little closer to center, her being more purposeful in seeking closure and me being a little less obsessive when searching for things.
While we were away at a family wedding last weekend, my wife received some very nice earrings from her mom. She wore them to the wedding and in an attempt to keep them out of certain little hands, she put them somewhere safe. The problem was, the hiding place was so safe that she couldn't find them when we got home. A few days later, after we had gotten home, we were starting off our day and my wife informed me that she lost her earrings and may have left them at the hotel. She told me that she was very disappointed, especially considering that she had only had them a few days.
Naturally, I sprung into action. My obsessiveness can be an advantage at times. When we go away, I check back in the rooms where we stayed 3 or 4 times before we leave to go home to make sure that we have not forgotten anything. I knew that I had checked the hotel room in which we stayed to see if there was anything of ours lingering around. I had not found anything and was able to announce that we had everything. So, I knew that the earrings had to be somewhere. Still, there was a doubt in me and I feared that maybe I had missed something.
I checked duffle bags, pocket books, shoe boxes, and a sundry of other bags that had gone with us on the trip. All to no avail. I asked her if she could think of any other place where she might have put it and she mentioned the diaper bag. I went to the car to find the bag and began the arduous task of checking every nook and cranny within the diaper bag. I shuffled things around, dug in each and every pocket until I finally found a little plastic baggy that contained the earrings. Triumphant, I ran upstairs and held the bag up to her, asking, "Are these them?"
I sensed the relief and could read it on the face of my wife. Her hiding spot had been so good that she was unable to find it herself. Mostly, I was happy because she was happy. While I might not hate other people losing things as much as I hate losing things myself, it could be a close second.
As I thought about the reckless pursuit of the earrings that I had undertaken, I couldn't help but think about Jesus' parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. Jesus used these stories to illustrate the value that individuals are to God. As I recounted the storied, I wondered how often I placed the same value that I had placed on finding those earrings on people in my life. How often had I chosen to put everything else aside to pursue something that was lost or in need of fixing?
As I thought it through, I wondered what made me obsess about certain things and not others. Jesus did not indicate in his parables that there was anything particularly special about the things being pursued. It wasn't that it was the favorite or special in some way, it was just that it was lost. I really felt convicted about the value that I put in things outside of myself. How much obsession do I put into pursing those who are lost? The ones who I love and value the most? How about the ones that don't necessarily hold a special place in my heart? Does a pair of earrings really matter as much as people?
Conviction is a tough thing, but it's tougher if I don't let it do what needs to be done. Its purpose isn't to guilt me into doing things, just to help me to think things through more, and that's exactly what I hope happens. I hope and pray that I will value people more than things, that I would leave the 99 to pursue the one, and that the one that I pursue would know that they are valued by me, regardless of whether I think that they are the best, the brightest, or even my favorite. I've got a long way to go in this area, thanks be to God that I don't have to do it by myself.