Saturday, 16 February 2013

OCD & the Price of Perfection

We are human beings; we need more than food to satisfy us.  God made us complex, complex emotionally; we need to be excited and motivated by many things; music, art, films, hobbies, emotional highs and even lows.  We are ever restless, never satisfied and are always on the lookout for what will fulfil us or make us truly happy.


I have, and have had for a while, OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  In the past, it was washing hands and checking oven gas taps for the 8millionth time.  Now it’s intrusive thoughts that I just don’t want.  When I was younger, much younger, life seemed so much easier; no ambition, no stress, little hassle and little real need for any plans.  This carried me through early adulthood, but then as I left my teens I was struck with depression; I had a calling on my life from God yet refused to heed that calling; what a pure unadulterated jerk I was!  But, we all make mistakes.


Ah what a life we could live if we had no troubles; but troubles seem ever to cling to us and make us less than we could; or do they?  God never promises anyone an easy ride, and life for many people can be very hard.  But, if we could most of us would rather not be troubled.  Life is full of stresses; most of us have to get on, make money, do a job, pay rent or a mortgage, fall in love and then plan to raise a family; that’s how the script usually goes anyway.  Some of us break the mould, for one reason or another.  We find ourselves in some ways cast adrift; we don’t have a job, we didn’t have a big plan, we’re not in love and far from married life and all that that entails and all we may have, the one thing that might separate us from those around us, is our faith in God.  A faith in God; a blessing, or a curse?  We have to listen to God, whether we like it or not, and we have to be obedient, whatever the world does or doesn’t do we have to be obedient.


When we plan a better life for ourselves, whatever the plan might be, to start a business, get a better job or even just get a job, be a writer, photographer or professional musician, or indeed anything that we do and want to make a living at, it’s certain that we have to be determined to be pro-active at pursuing a better life.  Many professions are by their nature lonely and solitary, especially the writing trade; it’s just you and a blank screen and a keyboard, or pen and paper for those old enough to remember!  Some of us are happy in our own company, other people need company all the time.  The one reality most of us pursuing a dream is that it won’t come easy; it’s 10% inspiration and the rest, well you probably know the story.


Sometimes, pursuing a dream can be the making of us; it gives us a purpose, it gives us a reason to get out of bed and it can define our lives.  Sometimes though, especially if our expectations are too high or overly unrealistic, we can set ourselves up for a fall.  Also, if we have big plans of any kind, we must let God into them by praying about them.  I must stress something; we should never be cruel about someone else’s ambitions, or even dismissive of our own plans, even if they seem far out of reach.  Better to be realistically positive in all ways rather than unrealistically negative.  What I mean is this; if you say ‘I want to be a billionaire’ and you have no business experience, have little money to back this up and in the end have no real idea what you want to do or how you are going to do it, the chances are you won’t achieve such an ambition.  As well as this, an ambition or dream has to come from you, not from anyone else or for any other reason than it is a burning desire and ambitions of yours.  Otherwise it will probably also not see the light of day either.  Be ambitious, dream big, but be realistic and honest too.


The Price of Perfection

I know, Yahweh, no one's course is in his control, nor is it in anyone's power, as he goes his way, to guide his own steps.  (Jeremiah 10:23 NJB)  Some people are control freaks.  Some control freaks want to control and manipulate others, and many other control freaks just want to remain in control of their own lives.  In a chaotic, fallen and uncertain world, this can be understandable.  Who doesn’t want to remain in control, at least of their own lives?  In a deeply flawed and imperfect world, where so many people seem to be lost and many in the world live chaotic lives of one kind or other, it’s understandable that there are people who strive for perfection.  But does God want our perfection?  Can the desire for perfection be the actual catalyst for creating unhappy people who can never reach the goal of perfection?  Does the very aim of perfection help in fact to create imperfect people, people who are also unhappy because they have unfulfilled desires?  And perhaps the desire for perfection, whatever that truly means or amounts to, is the most unfulfilled desire of them all.


The price of perfection is always going to be unfulfilled because no human is ever going to reach perfection this side of Heaven; we all make mistakes, we all err, we all cock up now and again, no matter how much we try not to.  And the dangers of perfection?  One of the dangers of those proclaiming some kind of perfection is that they are often highly critical and highly judgemental of those they perceive as not being in any way perfect.  We see this in many countries and societies around the world.  God is not calling us to be perfect, He is in fact calling us to acknowledge our guilt before Him so we can seek forgiveness and redemption and begin to live truly Christian and holy lives.  Yes, He wants us to be as close to perfection as we can be, but in a fallen world we can’t yet be perfect.  Yahweh says this, 'Let the sage not boast of wisdom, nor the valiant of valour, nor the wealthy of riches!  But let anyone who wants to boast, boast of this: of understanding and knowing me. For I am Yahweh, who acts with faithful love, justice, and uprightness on earth; yes, these are what please me,' Yahweh declares.  (Jeremiah 9:22-23 NJB)


Just Another Thought
It has happened recently throughout Europe that processed beef products like burgers, lasagnes, shepherd’s pies and many other products supposedly containing beef are actually horsemeat or contain horsemeat.  To the British, who generally do not eat horsemeat, this has come as a shock to many people.  In Britain, we tend to look at the way Americans are often taken in by televangelists and we sort of feel smug because it doesn’t really happen in Britain.  At the same time though, Americans are often much more savvy about the powers-that-be and have a healthy suspicion of those from the ruling elites trying to cajole or otherwise persuade people to believe in them.  In the British Isles, it seems so many people are gullible when it comes to our ruling elites; because they are Upper class, or they are well-bred gentlemen or rather otherworldly and posh, when they say or do something, ordinary people in their droves seem to agree without question.  The horsemeat scandal is I believe the tip of the iceberg, and I think we need to be far more questioning and have a far healthier and balanced suspicion in the British Isles of the people who rule us and the MPs who are supposed to represent us and indeed anyone in positions of high office.  Mark my words, other scandals will break.  ‘…Yahweh said to Samuel, 'Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.'  (1 Samuel 16:7 NJB)  We need very much in Britain to start questioning the nature of power, and why often certain groups of people seem to get the best jobs, the best education, the best housing and the best lives whilst usually the rest of us have to accept second best.  I am not condemning those who are wealthy and powerful, and those who make the laws and effectively rule over us for wanting decent lives and to have good careers, I am saying that more people have to be allowed to share in the prosperity of Britain; that’s all.

For those who have OCD, check out this website:


  1. Hi Tim,
    God made us to worship Him. Everybody has a craving inside of them that only God can fill. We are created in His image in order to have a relationship with Him but because of the fall we have been separated from Him and only through sanctification through Jesus Christ can we be reconciled and made whole again.

    Through Jesus Christ we can be perfect. We are a masterpiece, each of us uniquely designed no two exactly alike. By the covering of His spilled blood we are the perfect bride for Christ. That, my friend, is very good news indeed!! Yes we will still make mistakes and there are those who want nothing more than control but the Father's wisdom is upside down to the worlds and the price of Jesus' blood has made us white as snow.

    I heard about the horsemeat scandal. :( The times we live in are dark and will be getting darker still.

    Blessings brother, I sure did enjoy reading. :)


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi COG. You're absolutely right; we all have a God-centred hole that only God can fill and make whole.

      Thankyou for your kind words, they are a balm to the soul. ;}

  2. Sometimes we have to come against a situation where we have no choice to get us up and out of ourselves. I had a bout with depression nine years ago. And was just whipped physically. Then Pete had trouble working, and I had to step up to the plate and get a part time job. Hurricane Rita came and went, Pete became unable to work at all. And Necessity was the tool the Lord used to get me back in the game of living. - BArbara
    Life & Faith in Caneyhead

    1. Hi Barbara; yes, sometimes we need to step up a gear but God is always doing the driving! Depression for me was on and off, and it went on for years; no fun at all. But there is light at the end of the darkest tunnels if we have faith in God.

  3. Hi Tim,
    Yes I'm back, even if I'm using someone else's computer lent to me for the time being.
    I fully agree with your latest post: I know what it is like to srive for a particular goal. And fortunately me dream of backpacking the world was fulfilled in 1997.
    But pleasing God is my greatest desire, which will be ongoing until called home.
    A great post.
    Wishing you all the best,

    1. Hi Frank; glad you're back posting; what would we do without your wisdom and frankly intelligent and thoughtful posts. I'd love to see more parts of the world than I already have, but for the moment, I feel I am exactly where God wants me.

  4. Hi Tim,
    I firmly believe in casting all of our anxieties upon the Lord, because He cares for us. I know absolutely that regardless of what is going on around us being in the Lord is like being in the eye of the hurricaine. Always believe that when you first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness then all that you need will be added. Don't let reason or unbelief rob you. Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. The very things that Job feared came upon him and that is what Satan wants us to do, reason against God's blessings with our carnal mind. Don't forget, the earth is the Lord's and everything in it and all things are possible with God. It is better to be in the position of having what we need and God in our lives than to have masses of money and not know Jesus. He is fully able to grant you your heart's desire.

    1. Hi Brenda; yes, I believe you're totally correct; if we seek God first, all other things will come as gifts. I hope you're poetry book is coming on, and I do think that you should try and get them published too, if that's your desire. I say this as someone who has two books that I am about to finish and then edit, and hopefully get a publishing deal; well I can dream.

  5. "We find ourselves in some ways cast adrift; we don’t have a job, we didn’t have a big plan, we’re not in love and far from married life and all that that entails and all we may have, the one thing that might separate us from those around us, is our faith in God" me in a nutshell I guess. This post popped out at me because I feel I have been striving for perfection, because I want to always please God, I don't want to mess up, or do something that's not according to His will.

    But striving for perfection, or at least stressing over making sure everything I do is God's will, has been making me confused and I've been getting really sad. I start crying out of nowhere, I almost always feel tear's coming, but I fight them, I started to feel them as I began to read your post. I'm not working, haven't been for a while, but surprisingly that's not what's making me feel depressed, it has never really made me feel sad or depressed because God has been faithful in providing my needs.

    It's just that most day's I sit here at home wondering, what am I suppose to be doing with my life, am I wasting my life sitting around, doing nothing. I get up I do a few house chores, read for a bit, come on the computer and I'm on youtube watching videos of different stuff, or sometimes I'm just sitting in my room, in silence just thinking. sometimes I don't even want to get out of bed. As of recently I've been getting up at noon, and I think to myself half of the day is gone, I wasted another day, but I am grateful for at least being able to see some of the day no mater what time I got up.

    I've been exploring the whole writing a book thing, and it seems harder than I thought, I was looking up on google how to prepare a manuscript, so I've made a cover page and I think I know what I wanna write, I honestly have no clue what I'm doing when I sit down to do the manuscript, I'm so lost. And keep thinking is writing a book God's will, or am I doing it for selfish reasons. Am I doing it so I can finally have something to tell somebody when they ask what do I do all day, am I doing it hoping it's a best seller and I become a famous author, intrusive thoughts like you mentioned, I tend to get a lot and it makes me confused, I hate it so much, they come especially when I'm trying to go to bed at nights.

    I just want do His will and only His will, not mine, I have already sen the results of doing my own will, my life was heading nowhere and really fast. I also have an ocd, in fact numerous, will make your ocd look like nothing lol. I have to make my bed up a certain way everyday, the thing's on my dresser have to be in the exact same position, whenever I have negative thoughts I start mumbling no, repeatedly, like almost to the point where if somebody was watching me I would look certifiably insane. I do the gas heck too, everytime I enter the kitchen or leave it at nights, I guess not wanting to blow up is a common worry of many people, so not so much an ocd lol. This was a great post, it really has me thinking a lot of thing's.

  6. You wrote: 'I don't even want to get out of bed. As of recently I've been getting up at noon, and I think to myself half of the day is gone, I wasted another day...' Yes I understand where you are coming from. Perhaps a prayer is in order, even though I am certain you pray often already.

    You wrote: 'I've been exploring the whole writing a book thing, and it seems harder than I thought, I was looking up on google how to prepare a manuscript, so I've made a cover page and I think I know what I wanna write, I honestly have no clue what I'm doing when I sit down to do the manuscript, I'm so lost. And keep thinking is writing a book God's will, or am I doing it for selfish reasons.' Yet at the same time you have no problem writing a very concise and readable comment to my post!!! For me, the ideas just flow, I don't know why, but they do. What I do is force myself to sit at the keyboard, perhaps get a cup of tea and biccy, and then I just write, I don't worry about what comes out, I just write straight from the heart, I am ruthlessly honest, and if I like what I have written, well then I am happy. I don't want to patronise you by offering trite advice but don't worry about what you are writing for a while, just write something if you feel like it, AND certainly don't be thinking about being published or anything like that; all in good time. I will say a prayer for you today and I hope you are feeling better within yourself. You have the time, so use a little of it to your advantage. You may find, like I have, that writing is the one thing that you like to do and eventually something you do well; and one day, who knows, you might even earn a living at it, and after all, why not?

    I decided at one point in my life when I had the OCD pretty chronic, that I had had enough with it; I decided that I would check the oven once, the gas fire once, the locks on the door once, and the hand washing thing doesn't bother me anymore; I am clean anyway so I don't worry unduly. And guess what? Nothing bad happened! I put my faith, and my fear, in God; and most of the OCD is gone or going.

    I really love your thoughtful comments and your searching posts; the fact you're a searcher means you will always have something to say and write about. But even if you don't feel like writing, get a book from the bookstore about writing or a book for ideas for writers. But don't worry in any event! :)

  7. Thanks Tim. I really feel better today. I started to feel better yesterday. Your comment is very helpful. I think I was starting to really put a lot of pressure on myself about writing. I started to think about it so much, that when I sat down to write I started panicking thinking to myself, what on earth am I doing lol. Now I will be more relaxed and just let everything flow out of me, whatever comes to mind I will write just as I do on my blog. I am so grateful to God for leading me to people like you and the other wonderful bloggers who love God so much. I have realized I need to just trust God to lead me, I know He won't lead me into a pit and that's reassuring enough. Thanks for your prayers, I'm sure God has heard you and all the other's that have been praying for me. Thank you Tim. :-)

  8. I am so glad you are feeling better in yourself; that's the most important thing after all, health, wellbeing, general levels of satisfaction and all that.

    You wrote: 'Now I will be more relaxed and just let everything flow out of me, whatever comes to mind I will write just as I do on my blog.' Exactly! Write exactly the way you want to do, develop your own voice and perhaps write it as you would say it; that's what I do anyway. But certainly enjoy it; that's also an important thing too. Who knows, you might come up with an idea that becomes successful. And you won't feel guilty about wasting time anymore either.

  9. Hi you two,
    I have enjoyed reading your conversation. Just want to encourage you Sateigdra, as Tim has been doing wonderfully. Take no thought for tomorrow. Our times are in God's hands.
    God bless.

  10. This essay would be greatly enhanced by inserting hyperlinks when referring to an historical event and where names are not used. -

    1. Hi Felicity; I'll take that on board, but I suppose it's just the way I write. Thanks for the comment.

  11. Hey, there, Tim! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only perfectionist who has struggled with these things. I appreciated your thoughts here, and also the comments.

    1. You're very welcome Laura! I am glad that my blog and posts provokes debate and I get intelligent comments from lots of people.