What Makes You?

OCD is an acronym for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is no laughing matter. In the movie, “As Good As it Gets” with Jack Nicholson, the character Jack portrays struggles with OCD in many areas of his life. I thought the movie was funny and really made more people aware of what OCD is….the movie helped me label OCD in myself with certain things and more easily see it in others.

I think we all can be OCD about certain things. If I had to say I have OCD about anything, it would be “being on time!” As I have taken a step back in recent years, I have observed a few things about our family of five. When we were all at home and we all had to go somewhere together, I noticed….any one of us could become OCD about being on time, if the event was important to us individually…..and if it wasn’t important to the individual…then being on time just didn’t seem to matter very much. Me? No matter what the event…I wanted to be on time.

In fact, at times I would get angry and frustrated wondering why I was this way. Reflecting over my life, I realized my dad has the same response to time. My mom did too, but my dad’s philosophy concerning being on time has always been, “If you are ten minutes early, you are late!” Anyone feel me? Thus, the importance I put on being on time goes all the way back to how I was raised!

My Dad, at 83, still insists on being on time. At times, in order to take down my frustration level, I have learned to take my own car and let the others come on their time. I do feel that being on time shows respect and shows we value others.

No one in my family, except me, likes to get to the airport any earlier than necessary! Most of my family, when traveling by plane with me, give in to going to the airport early so that their trip is more enjoyable. They have discovered I am not as “tense” if we get there early. I appreciate my family being sensitive to my need to be early….I think they would admit that “when momma’ s happy, everyone is happy!”…………. Sometimes being ten or twenty minutes early doesn’t suit everyone in our family…but it is what I consider “being on time!”

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes you “YOU?”

In the last five years I have done much soul searching, growing, and reflecting. I am on a path to accelerate my learning…..! God has richly blessed my efforts. He has helped me to see that just because you grew up thinking one thing or doing things a certain way doesn’t make it right….or maybe it does?

What do I mean by this? I grew up being taught a ton of things that are, in my opinion, “spot on!” I wouldn’t change a thing, but there are things that I grew up thinking, or being influenced by, that are simply not correct, and are flat out wrong. It is probably true for you as well.

Let me give you a very important example from my own life, the example of racism. I grew up in a small town and in a small church that I absolutely loved. The people of that town shaped me, loved me and, for the most part, everyone helped each other. I am not proud at all of the fact that “racism” ever existed in our culture and still does in some people. It is wrong on all levels.

I remember as a very young child going to a public swimming pool where “colored people” were not allowed. That memory is a vivid reminder to me of how wrong some things were with seemingly good people! My parents and I have talked about this many times. We’ve talked about how horrible this type of thing was and how we have been convicted about the “cultural sinful mindset” that existed back then. We repented from racism. Even though our hearts didn’t hate African Americans, my parents dropped me off at the swimming pool being “mindless” of what our actions were saying.

I was young and didn’t understand, but I do now. I am so glad God is a God who forgives and renews our thinking and “convicts” our hearts of wrongs. I often sit quietly for hours asking God to show me where my “thinking” is wrong…what am I blind to that I think is right? Maybe it is wrong that is happening that I am not directly participating in, but I see it and am choosing to remain silent or turn my head?

We all can get so busy that we develop tunnel vision or we become “set in our ways” and think we are in the right…..but history shows that “complacency” and “ignorance” can lead to horrible things. God is the revealer of all things…Satan is a deceiver and liar…his desire is to “blind” us and keep us wrapped up in thinking we are all-knowing but God knows best…it is so important to seek God, His heart and His ways.

In I Samuel 16:7, Samuel is on a mission to find the next king. He is told to not look for the kind of man that most would expect to be king. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.’”

The challenge and encouragement I want to leave you with is this: What have you grown up thinking…that just might not be right?

Just because you grew up thinking it, or your parents did it….or someone you looked up to did it…doesn’t necessarily mean it is right. I am so grateful that I grew up with fantastic influences in people who had a heart and reverence for God…but I have had to recognize that we are all sinners. We are imperfect people and not one of us lives a perfect, sin-free life…

2 Corinthians 5:11-12, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.” Chapter 5 contains some good stuff about how we should view one another. In verse 17 we are reminded that if we are in Christ, we are a new creation. Praise God for a fresh start, no matter our past influences or way of living.

Our lives need to be measured by God and His standards first and foremost. We all would benefit from taking a few steps back and filtering everything we do as mature adults through God’s standards and His Word and not by tradition or culture.

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