So, I reached in my drawer this morning and pulled out a pair of socks. I slid one onto my foot and found that the heel of the sock is now flesh-colored. I thought, “I don’t remember that. Do I have hyper-color socks? Oh wait, that’s just my foot.” I had holey socks. So, just like I did a couple days ago with a different pair of holey socks, I wore them anyway.
I realize that I have a sock problem. And I know the solution: I need to buy new socks. But the only thing is, I HATE BUYING SOCKS! It has got to be among the least exciting purchases one could actually make. No one cares about new socks. No one even notices new socks. No one will come up to you at work and say, “Hmm… there is something different about you today and I can’t quite place it. Wait a second. Are those new tan socks? Brilliant!!!” At least with a new shirt or new pants you get the benefit of looking and feeling a little different about yourself and the way you are presenting yourself to the world. It still costs money, but at least you get a short-term self-esteem boost from it, right. But socks are just socks. An innately practical item that you need to not blister your feet and stink up your shoes. They are probably some of the most useful and efficient items that I wear on a day-to-day basis. But, I can’t stand the idea of spending money on new ones. I love buying new stuff but I truly hate replacing worn out everyday items.
I think we are inextricably drawn to the idea of big change. I’m not saying that we all like change because that completely not true. For the most part, people love routine and avoid change. But I do think we all love the idea of change, the possibility of change, the potential that things could be different. We want to be associated with change and forward movement. Buying new jeans in a more modern style does this for us. Buying the graphic tee with a cool new design on it, does this for us. Buying new brown socks with a blue line around the top doesn’t do this for us. It’s not a big change. It’s not a public change. It doesn’t extend the possibility that things could be different, that I could be different.
In the same way, I think we all long for big, life-changing moments and opportunities. We are inspired by stories of extreme sacrifice and huge successes. Stories of people and organizations that leverage their influence to affect huge change in the world. We long to be a part of these big, significant things. Things that are new and different from how we normally live. We make commitments to support these big things. We wear the shirt to associate ourselves with these big things. We pray for and wait for the BIG THINGS that God has for us to do. Meanwhile, we ignore the day-to-day disciplines that we know we need to actually become a better person. We don’t long for the opportunity to just be kind to the cashier or go out of our way to be encouraging to someone at work. We don’t want small, private change. I mean, that may actually change things!
I think the big things, while impressive, just show what kind of person you think you should be. It’s the small things that show who you really are. And if you fail at the small things than you would probably fail at the big things too. The Bible actually teaches that God has no reason to trust us with big things until we prove to be faithful with the small things. (The Parable Of the Bags Of Gold in Mt. 25, among many other scriptures)
Someday I’ll get to buy new jeans or maybe even a new car or something bigger. But right now, I need to walk my holey socks into Target and buys some new ones. Maybe I’ll get crazy and go argyle.