Friday, July 8, 2011

Why Do We Do What We Do?

My husband has an aversion to mowing the lawn. I won’t say he hates it (only because he insists his aversion is not that strong). But, he barely tolerates it.

Now, imagine the neighborhood in which we live. We are surrounded by obsessive-compulsive lawn mowing people. Yes, at every side, whichever way we turn, someone is moving their lawn…for the second time that week.

As my husband and I were driving through our neighborhood he commented, “everyone’s lawn is so nice and well maintained.”

I rolled my eyes “except for one, dear, except for one.”

Watching our neighbors obsess over their lawns has become a sort of cheap entertainment for us. At least once a week, we get a good chuckle from them.

This morning topped it all. I had just finished up my alone time with the Lord, I was drinking my tea and pondering the words I had just read when to my delight, I see one of my neighbors on her riding lawn mower. I smiled. Their lawn was already shorter than ours (it’s been a week since our last mow). They have a large yard and their normal mode of operation is to take that riding lawn mower in a large square working their way from the outside in. Riding around and around until the job is complete. Makes sense to me.

Well, this morning something changed. Instead of riding around and around, this person was trying to mow their very large backyard at a diagonal…on a riding mower. Laughter erupted as the show began. It took me a few minutes to figure out what she was doing. She was backing up and then moving forward, then backing up and moving forward and then I saw the pattern. I saw the diagonal lines that somehow “up” the social status of those residing in such residences. We are still lowly “get it mowed as fast as you can” kind of people.

Obviously, my husband feels absolutely no pressure, whatsoever, to keep up with the obsessive people all around us. He cares not one whit that his lawn is longer than everyone else’s. Nor does he care what angle he cuts at. He keeps the yard tidy. It’s neat. He does not obsess over it.

I want to clarify something. I love a beautiful yard. I am not opposed to doing a good job on your lawn. But, I have to ask myself…why do we do the things we do? What drives us? Who are we trying to impress?

Do we obsess over our lawn because we truly love to be outside, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation and want a Garden of Eden type setting? Do we measure our grass with a ruler to make sure it never exceeds the 2-inch limit because God added that as the 13th commandment? Or do we obsess over things because we are trying to impress or “out do” our next-door neighbor?

What is behind what we do? What is our motivation in doing these things? What should be our motive in doing all things?

Colossians 3:23 and 24 states this: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

I may not obsess about my yard, but it would seem my heart needs a good mowing every day! Weeds need to be pulled; thorns and over growth cut down. The junkyard junk hauled away as God renews and restores me to what He has called me to be.

To answer the question, “Why do we do what we do?” All we have to do is look at the condition of our hearts.

I recently asked Him this: “Am I ever going to get there?”

His answer: “No, but I am going to use you anyway.”

Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy. Surely I would be lost without them.

What are you obsessive about? Is it a good obsessive? Or not? Why?


  1. My obsessions change and they are rarely good. I used to collect music. If I had one song by an artist, I could not rest until I had a recording of everything they had ever done.

    I was into electronic for a couple of years and I would not be outdone on my computer or phone.

    These obsessions come and go and I do not know where they come from, but I am aware of them now and try to keep them under control.

  2. I crack up thinking of a woman mowing the grass like that! Hilarious.

    I'm obsessive about my kitchen counters being clean and the coffee pot being set at night before we get up. I don't know why. :)

  3. Brett...and I thought I was into music! :)

    Jessica...I have always had that same obsession. Now that we live in a much smaller home, I have had to get over it. The table has now become my workspace and we clean it off on an "as needed" basis. Basically, every night for supper!

    Yeah...and imagine my laughter while watching. I should my head, texted my husband immediately and laughed. What is funny is when my hubby got home, I guess our other neighbors decided to do the whole diagonal thing and this particular neighbor was not to be outdone.

  4. I'm only a week late but I tagged everyone I could find! :)
    I'm always trying to find balance in my life so I'm either too obsessive or God keeps showing me that I need to let go and let God! Beautiful post, Darlene!