Recently, I took an online class on fibers. I love to knit and wanted to learn more about the different kinds of yarns I can use. There were several new words I learned in that class, all related to fibers. One of them was “prickle factor.” This refers to the feeling you get when you wear something made from wool that makes your skin itch. Without getting too technical, let me just explain it like this: when coarse fibers are present in wool fabrics they press into the surface of your skin. Finer fibers bend when they are pressed against skin. Pain receptors in our skin get triggered and respond to these tiny little pricks of the fibers. There is also a difference in how people react to these fibers sticking out from the yarn. Some are more sensitive than others to this “prickle factor.” The tougher ones have pain receptors that are triggered at a higher force or they have “thicker skin.” Some start to itch when they only think about wearing a certain fabric.
You can probably already guess where I am going with this. Some people are like those rough fabrics with large micron fibers in them, translated: attitudes that stick out and prick the people around them. Others are like those soft and comfy sweaters you can’t wait to wear in the cold weather. They are soothing and gentle.
We all can think of people who fit in either category. And there may be times when we are more prickly than others. I’m thinking back to the time when PMS or menopause would determine my prickle factor more than the Lord. My husband knew to stay away from me until I wasn’t so prickly anymore. I’ve also learned from experience that spending time in God’s presence diminishes my prickle factor. Can you relate? Being able to roll the whole of our care over on Him who cares for us (1 Peter 5:7) and finding rest in His presence (Matthew 11:28) makes us easy to be around. We become more yielded which is a necessity in any relationship, especially in marriage.
So, how’s your prickle factor? From one to ten where are you? For those of us who are married maybe we should ask our spouses! We might be blind to our own “prickliness.”
While I cannot control the prickle factor of other people, I can, with God’s help, change my own. I can also control how I react to other people’s “prickliness.” With God’s help I can develop a thicker skin and not let it get to me. I have a sweater I like but I cannot wear it on my skin. It’s just too prickly. But I’m okay if I layer it over, let’s say, a turtleneck. Is there a prickly co-worker you can’t get away from? Maybe a little space, a firm boundary, and prayer will help you deal with their prickle factor.
© Conny Hubbard