OCD, A Blessing or a Curse?
During lunch with a friend recently; we talked about the revelation of my OCD (Obsessive, Compulsive, Disorder) tendencies. He smiled and started talking about our friend who is a “Classic” OCD case. Our friend was always a slave to his idiosyncrasies. We reminisced how our friend used his OCD as an excuse to fail. It seemed all his failures were related to his “disorder”.
It is an exceptional blessing to be who God created me to be. Without my attention to detail and unrelenting drive to get things right, my life would have been so radically different. God has blessed me throughout my life with keen eyes and extraordinary hearing. Both bless me with intense discernment for all things, big and small. The other side of my attention to detail is an intense desire to get things done perfectly. Thankfully, early on, God taught me not be a slave to things that are not in my control. “Let Go, & Let God.” Working to remember that “Done is better than Perfect”; and always following God’s lead to be aware, using tough times for growth, not self-condemnation.
In my walk with God over the last fifty years, God has led me to see Him in EVERYTHING. That is one of the greatest blessings of being OCD. Seeing God in the smallest details. Sure, when you gaze at the stars, the grandeur of His design is awe inspiring. The same magnificence is found in an Ant Hill or Bee Hive. My “personality disorder” has favored me with so many abilities. Thanks to God, by His design, there truly is no “disorder”.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way;” Psalm 37:23
Sometimes, my attention to detail has led me to seeing God in the “Not So Godly”. Music from the likes of Jethro Tull, prophetic words from someone that had never stepped foot in a Church. Seeing Everything as God’s plan and design; nothing is wasted, all things come from Him. For me, it is impossible to look at the stars, or the insect world, and not see His clear and perfect design. The continuity above and below is clearly by plan, not happenstance.
Seeing God in Everything is exactly that. Everything; Big, Small, Good and Bad. In the Micro and the Macro.
How Great Thou Art!
Getting to the Root of the Matter
“…seeing the root of the matter is found in me?” – Job 19:28
Over the last several weeks, Trees, Bees and Metaphors have been saturating my thoughts. It seems God has been helping me to understand His plan for my life through allegories, parables, music and images. I love it! After all; don’t we all enjoy a good story, good music, and good art?
Oft times I recall my favorite communicators of history; Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and of course Jesus. All taught through storytelling with a message. Oh, and the many lessons learned from the poignant lyrics of some of my favorite musicians. Albeit some rather obscure musicians. And from the creation of the world, the stories told through the beauty of art and imagery; are too vast to catalog, recalling the tattered cliché, “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”.
Over the years in my walk with Christ. If I have learned anything, it is the importance of complete submission to God, in ALL things. For some, that might seem like a startling or obsessive idea: complete submission and obedience, to things unknown, and unseen. However, the word of God is not unseen, and for those in harmony with God’s Promise, God is not unknown.
Recently God has led me to write several stories that until today, I thought were mostly unconnected. Such are the ways of God. ALL things are connected, and ALL things work together for good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
These unrelated titles; “What Forest?”, “There is Truth in all Things”, “Are You Just A Metaphor?”, and “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”. Each, with their own distinct and separate message. Or so I thought.
Thinking back to where this all started, I believe it was Mother’s Day this year. On this special Sunday, I was looking forward to hearing one of my favorite speakers at Church. In what is becoming a wonderful tradition, our Pastor’s wife, Pastor Ashli Van Horn, takes to the pulpit with powerful, God inspired messages, from a Mother’s perspective. This Mother’s Day was no exception.
As usual, Pastor Ashli was ignited with God’s spirit and delivered an inspirational message. Explaining how, as the Body of Christ, we need to stand together, strong, as a family rooted in Christ. For those that weren’t there, I highly recommend watching the video. Here’s the link to the video, Mothers Day Message, Pastor Ashli Van Horn.
Pastor Ashli used an analogy based on the powerful Sequoia trees of the Sequoia National forest in California. She detailed how these magnificent trees; some that grow as tall as 250 feet, with a circumference of 30 feet, are wholly dependent on each other for stability and support. Ashli went on to explain how these glorious trees, towering so high above the earth, it hurts your neck to see the tops; are connected by an inter-locking Root system so massive, that it is only rivaled by the trees themselves. One look at an imposing Sequoia will easily take your focus off the forest.
Like the Bees that we talked about in “The Bee, The Brick, The Wall & The Honey”, the individual trees take care of one another. Through a complex, shared root system. The massive trees sustain each other by sharing water, nutrients and strength. Who would have thought that the tallest trees on the planet are wholly dependent on the Forest?
At no time, do the trees “fend” for themselves. Can you imagine what might happen if one of these brilliant creations would “take their roots and go home.”? It’s simply not an option. From their fragile beginnings, the sprout’s roots grow and intertwine with all the trees in the forest. The forest of shallow roots permeates the ground below. Forming a root system as massive as the trees themselves. The roots provide unconditional support and strength to every tree in the forest. With the sustenance of the forest, these wondrous, individual trees are completely free to grow and prosper; unhindered by the daily need to acquire the food, water and nourishment needed to survive.
Like the Bees in our earlier story, with each Bee concentrating on the wellbeing of all the bees, the Hive takes care of itself. Gone are all thought of self, and the perceived rewards of serving oneself. The Hive flourishes! So too the Forest prospers as well. The needs of every tree are met by their intertwined roots. As Humans, it is when we become the servant to all, we prosper. As Jesus taught,
“…But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mark 10:43-44
So, as with the Body of Christ, the strength is in the body, or in this case the roots. The tallest trees on the planet find their strength in helping others. Free from the worries of the day and the fight to survive; each tree towers above all others, as does the entire forest. Isn’t this truly God’s design? This design saturates our world. We see it in Bee Hives, Ant Colonies and throughout the Animal world. Was this our sacrifice in Garden? All for the sake of knowledge?
“And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.” – Ezekiel 17:24
I’m reminded of a story from my childhood where a man visited both Heaven and Hell in a dream. He told his wife of his surprise to see the ground of Hell covered with beautiful, ripe fruit of all kinds. Seeing hordes of people walking around, the man noticed that no one had elbows; making it impossible to pick the fruit and eat it with arms that would not bend. Needless to say, there were a lot of hungry faces. As he left Hell and arrived in Heaven, the man was astonished to see almost the exact same scene. Hordes of people with no elbows. A ground covered in beautifully ripe fruit; but with one distinct difference. The people of heaven were picking up the fruit and feeding it to one another.
While reviewing my writing, I am thankful for God’s Divine guidance. It is apparent, not only in content, but also in continuity throughout all the recent stories. We talked about Bees with their “Servants Heart”, and how by serving the hive, all flourished with Gods reward of abundant Honey. We referenced a Master brick layer’s direction that taught “Focusing on the Brick, the Wall would take care of itself.” Understanding with each individual Bee selflessly working for the benefit of others, the hive would take care of itself. In a story inspired by a song from Stevie Wonder, we established that being honest and truthful was in keeping with God’s word, and an act of Love. We also recognized how being too focused on a specific obstacle, could distract from God’s vision for our lives. As we dug into the World’s view of Christians, we observed how letting others define who we are as a Metaphor, could lead to an understanding based on the Worlds interpretation, not reality. All in all, we recognized the power of God through what Jesus defined as the most important commandments; to Love God with all our heart and to Love others as ourselves.
…“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Matthew 22:37-39
Sure, we all want to be strong individuals. Taking complete care of our loved ones. From birth, men and women alike, are encouraged to “Stand On Our Own”, or to be the “Best We Can Be”. So often, these teachings, like so many from the World, lead us to focus on ourselves. As we talked about “by taking care of the Brick, the Wall will take care of itself.” Doesn’t Christ teach us that the best way to take care of ourselves is by loving others? When we tear down the walls of self and ask Jesus into our hearts, self-dies. As a Christian, the way to be your best, is to take all focus off self and become a servant to all.
Love God, Love People
Bees, trees, bricks, walls, roots and forests. All different ways at looking at God’s divine design. Ultimately describing the same structure.
The body needs selfless individuals, focused on others; so that ALL individuals will prosper, flourish and grow strong. The individual, when stripped of the need to provide essentials for survival, blessed with the unconditional support from the body. Is free to flourish, becoming the best, strongest and tallest individual it can be. All in a body of the strongest and best.
A simple design. God’s simple design that yields God’s divine prosperity for all.
Bee the Tree and the Forest will take care of itself.
“…do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.” – Romans 11:18
To be a servant it just takes one step. One Drop of Love!
One Drop of Love, By Ray Charles
Please Click Below to Listen:
We ALL Live In A Yellow Submarine!
“Two constants that I’ve noticed throughout the Bible are references to Water and God’s love for Music. All my life I’ve worked to pay attention to that. With water, it’s always about the flow. So many people see things that are not flowing and they start building dams to force the water to their path. Me, I work to step back and figure out how to get with the flow, understanding it’s one of the ways God guides us.Music has always had a special part of my life. In my career, so many of my peers would try to understand people through things like astrology, birth order and various “Physcho Babel”. For me, if I could find out what kind of Music someone liked, it always told me so much about them.”
After reading my response, my friend texted me back…
“Oh. My Word. Water & Music. You will laugh out loud at what I bought you just an hour ago. I’m speechless. No, seriously. Wait till you see what I just got you. God blows me away. Absolutely. You really won’t believe it. Water & Music. Man, you are definitely on the right path.Just wait. I was standing at the store with my son, and I looked over, and I said, “I have to buy that for Mark!” So, when you sent me this, my mouth just fell open.”