There are a number of things in life that could send me into a bit of a mini meltdown. I wear a fair bit of flack and teasing for these things from family and friends because they might seem a bit random. Nothing too earth shattering, but quirky enough to have some impact on the way I live my life.
My most dominant idiosyncrasy has to do with price stickers, particularly on the back of books. There is a desperate desire in me to make sure that any book I purchase and possess is freed from the sticky label on the cover as soon as I can. My husband has even joked that I remove them before I have even paid for the books. This is not true, but there have been a number of occasions when the label is removed before I leave the store!
While this is perfectly insipid behaviour if it is only reserved for my books, it can become problematic when I come across a labelled book that I do not own. The desire to ‘fix’ this situation is almost overwhelming. From across a room I can detect an un-removed label and from that moment my mind is focussed on this perceived indiscretion. I have attempted to not be overwhelmed by this obsession, especially with the books that don’t belong to me. I try to say, ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys’ or sing the famous ‘Let It Go’ song but to no avail. I have even tried to work out why it is so important to me but I remain without a clue.
I have been known to remove the labels from class sets, church libraries and the books of friends and colleagues, almost always with permission. My most frustrating moment was years ago when I discovered my friend had contacted her books with the price stickers still on. Oh my goodness! I almost had a panic attack and then spent a significant amount of time trying to strategise how I could rectify this dilemma. No luck, and it haunts me to this day!!
Is this a dramatic or life threatening event? Something to bring about the destruction of the universe? Not in the slightest. In fact, there are probably plenty of you wondering about my sanity right now, while I know there are others out there who have the same belief – that price labels do not belong on books – or similar quirky theories. So, what can we learn from this? What blessing can we unearth from this situation?
In essence when I am focussed on this little thing, I don’t have the capacity to give due consideration to the things that really matter. I become distracted and fixated on this ‘problem’ which means that I am not fully present and engaged in the moment. And this problem is not necessarily what others recognise as a problem at all. I know I am not alone in this. I have worked alongside many people who have particular ways of doing things and are incredibly ‘on edge’ when they’re not being done the ‘right way’. We can allow lots of little frustrations become large issues if we are not careful.
God’s word gives us some good grounding in this area. There is a great verse in the book of Philippians, chapter 4 and verse 8 which says, “… whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Okay, so I will make sure I devote more time to thinking about these things, and less on those pesky labels … but I do have some great tips for removing the super sticky ones if you’re interested!