The Day I Stopped Shoe Shopping at Safeway: A Marriage Metaphor
For many years, I did my shoe shopping at Safeway.
This was difficult, because the Safeway near my home doesn’t sell shoes, only groceries. But I’ve never been one to let a challenge stop me! I became all the more determined to do my shoe shopping at Safeway.
Every week, I scoured the aisles: no shoes.
Every week, when the cashier pleasantly asked me, “Did you find everything today?” I responded loudly, “No, I did not. I came here for shoes, like I do every week, and I still haven’t found any shoes.
Every week, I filled out a complaint form at the so-called “Customer Service” counter: Why are there no shoes in this store?
Eventually, I became so focused on shoe shopping at Safeway that I started going daily, just to see if they’d finally set up a shoe aisle.Day in and day out, I experienced nothing but disappointment after disappointment after disappointment.
I grumbled about Safeway to my friends. Soon, complaining about the lack of shoes at Safeway soon became my sole topic of conversation.
It all seemed so unfair.
The Day I Discovered Payless ShoeSource
Then, one day, I happened to drive by a Payless ShoeSource. As I walked in, I could not believe my eyes: shoes! Aisles and stacks and end caps of shoes! I bought two pair on a BOGO sale!
My next stop was Safeway. As I walked in, I could not believe my eyes: so many beautiful groceries! Fruits and vegetables … breads and cakes … cheeses and deli meats … I filled my cart and headed to check out.
The cashier nervously asked, “Did you find everything today?” and when I responded, “Why yes, I did, thank you!” She looked shocked. The manager seemed surprised when I walked by the customer service comment box with a friendly wave.
The day I stopped doing my shoe shopping at Safeway was the day I started enjoying grocery shopping at Safeway.
A Marriage Metaphor
Okay, so I made all of that up.
I would never be silly or downright foolish enough to go shoe shopping at Safeway, would I? Well, in the early years of my marriage, I stubbornly “did my shoe shopping at Safeway” by expecting Daniel to meet some of my needs he was entirely unequipped to meet.
The more I demanded he meet these specific needs, the more hyper-focused I became on his failures. The more I focused on his failures, the more I ignored his myriad strengths. Sadly, for many years I acted as if everything he did bring to our marriage and all the ways he did meet my needs were worthless because I was so fixated on a few failures.
After years of frustration (for both of us!), I was convicted that 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 applies to the gifts our husbands bring to marriage:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.”
When we continually downplay the gifts our husbands brings to our marriages, we discount the work of the Holy Spirit.
On the flip side, when we take responsibility for the needs we’ve been trying to pawn off on our men, we may be astonished to discover all the ways they truly bless us.
Perhaps it’s time for you to stop shoe shopping at Safeway, too?
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.
More about being an HSP!
Guest post by Cheri Gregory
My Clutter Free journey began in my bedroom.
Like many clutterers, I’d spent decades using our master bedroom as the “just throw it all in there and slam the door” stash-and-dash solution when company was due in an hour.
But discovering that I’m an HSP—a Highly Sensitive Person—has transformed how I view my bedroom.
HSPs are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.
We need to create ourselves a sanctuary, a safe quiet place of refuge where we can seek shelter when the world overwhelms us.
When we ask ourselves, “How can I make my bedroom a true sanctuary for my tired body and soul?” the obvious answer is to first oust every ounce of clutter.
HSPs process an overabundance of disorienting visual stimuli all day every day. The last thing we need are piles of confusing clutter visually assaulting us in the one room we retreat to for safety.
Moving Past Our Stories to Sanctuary
Of course, clutter rarely leaves without a fight. Thanks to our extra-strength HSP consciences, the three stories Kathi says all clutterers tell themselves can feel especially like gospel truth to us:
“I need to keep this just in case”
When you tell this fear-full story, you let fears from your past control your future.
“But so-and-so gave it to me!”
In this guilt-ridden story, people from your past (who aren’t concerned about you, just how you make them feel) are allowed to control your future.
“But I spent so much money on it!”
This shame-filled story allows a mistake from your past to control your future.
As these stories come up, we can respond with compassion and permission.
Compassion for our feelings of fear, guilt, and shame.
Permission to keep only what we need and want.
Making Your Bedroom an HSP Sanctuary
Once the clutter is out of your bedroom, grab a pad of paper, a favorite pen, and sit down on your bed.
Write these four senses at the top of different pages: touch, sight, sound, and smell.
Look around the room and ask yourself, “What do I want in my bedroom? What sensory experiences are especially soothing, relaxing, and restful for me?”
Ponder each sense for a few minutes and write down what comes to you. Here are some questions I’ve asked myself:
- What textures do I love?
- Smooth high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets?
- A soft blanket, knit with slubby yarn?
- What temperature(s) help me relax and sleep? Do I need:
- An electric blanket?
- A cooler grade of comforter?
- A heating pad or Thermaphore to ease my back pain?
- A rotating column fan?
- What skin products do I want to keep in my nightstand?
- Hand moisturizer?
- Lip balm?
- Nail clipper and file?
- What colors are calming for me?
- What patterns — or lack of pattern — do I prefer?
- How well are the lighting options working for me?
- Can I make the room as light as I want it?
- Can I make the room dark as I need it?
- How can I block out disruptive sounds?
- Noise-cancelling headphones?
- How can I bring in pleasing sounds?
- What scents irritate me, giving me headaches or making my face flush?
- Might I want to try unscented detergent, softener, and dryer sheets with my bedding?
- Could I natural citrus cleaning products?
- Can I find fragrance-free candles?
- What scents relax and sooth me?
Make a wish list of what you want and need to add to your bedroom sanctuary.
But no frantic shopping spree to buy a peaceful bedroom all at once.
Reign in your HSP intensity, say “no” to Perfectionism, and commit to adding new items gradually, enjoying them one at a time.
Using Your Bedroom as an HSP Sanctuary
Decluttering your bedroom will not automatically transform it into a sanctuary. Your bedroom will become your sanctuary as you seek sanctuary in it.
This also takes compassion and permission.
Compassion, rather than criticism, for your HSP self.
Permission to be tired, to need quiet, rest, and refuge.
If you find yourself resisting rest, remember that Jesus himself invites you to rest…
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)
…and say “yes” by taking refuge in the One who offers true rest.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord,
“He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)
Wondering if you, too, might be an HSP?
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