Today’s guest post is from Dawn Jones, a 64-year-old mother of three, grandmother of four, and wife of one (and says that after almost 44 years, one is enough)! She lives with her husband, Bob, and their dog, Buckley, in Missouri. She’s been a follower of Jesus since childhood and enjoys writing, reading, and cycling (yes, including padded spandex). She likes drinking strong black tea out of a bone china tea cup and thinks stylish footwear means new Converse tennis shoes. Dawn and Bob play guitar for their church worship team, but she has also played percussion, banjo, and the occasional Australian didgeridoo, (the last with limited success but much hilarity). As one of the members of our recovery community, we are so grateful to hear a few words from her heart about her growth through OCD’s storm.
It hailed last night. Mother Nature decided to unleash a little pent up anxiety by sending marble-sized balls of hard-packed ice along with the much needed rain.
Now, I readily acknowledge that any area has its own geological challenges from time to time. One of our daughters lives in southern Cal; their seasons consist of summer, fire, summer, fire, and more summer punctuated by an occasional earthquake. Our other two daughters live in the snow-zone, one in upstate New York, and the other across the pond in Sweden—snow shovels are more relevant than air-conditioning.
At this writing here in the Midwest, (AKA, the “Fly-over Zone”), we are currently in tornado season. My husband, Bob, and I live in what is affectionately referred to as Tornado Alley and it is rumored that the National Weather Service in Kansas City is referred to as “the keepers of the gateway to hell.” Oklahoma alone claims the dubious honor of hosting the highest number of twisters on the entire planet. Rodgers and Hammerstein had it right when they penned the words, “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain.”
OCD’s Storm: A Fitting Metaphor
Thankfully, no tornado last night, but this morning I surveyed the hail damage in my yard. No lost tree limbs (this time), but plenty of shredded plants in my various garden spots. Try as I might to make things look nice, gardening can be a challenge. Interestingly, however, as ragged as some of my plants look, they are still alive. In fact, all they know to do is to live and keep trying to live. It’s the same with other participants in nature: a spider’s web is destroyed frequently, and what do she do? Weaves another. Ever see a dog missing a leg? It’s like they don’t even know it’s gone!
Come to think of it, choosing to give up is not an option in any of God’s creation except humankind. Only people, made in the image of God, are given the sovereign choice to give up even when life is still in us. And it is a choice.
Paul puts it this way:
“…we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
OCD’s storm has its own way of afflicting, perplexing, persecuting and striking. But I have a choice, not only because of the fingerprint of God on my humanity, but even more so due to the empowering presence of His Holy Spirit. I can acknowledge the shredding caused by Scrupulosity and OCD’s storm of ruminations, but I can also recognize the life still stretching toward the Son, as well as the growth that still happens, despite the shredding.
Now, for those of you on the coasts, here’s a little factoid about funnel clouds. Tornado season occurs because the weather is trying to decide if it needs to be cold or hot, tries to be both at the same time, and ends up getting all twisted around (literally), wreaking generous havoc to everything in its path.
Kind of sounds like scrupulosity to me. I choose to trust God, or wait, maybe I need to trust my intellect (which God gave me, right?), but then I get anxious that that’s not how God speaks, or maybe it is, or maybe it’s not, and guess what…I spiral, spin, twist and if not careful, can wreak all kinds of chaos and damage in others’ situations (not to mention my own). You know the hours wasted ruminating, the sleeplessness, the irritation, the embarrassment, the resulting depression. And the fear. Oh mercy! The fear! Is this the abundant life Jesus paid so dearly for on the Cross?
“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.”
Learning to Trust Consistently
Trust is learned behavior, and it ain’t easy. People with scrupulosity are called to a very high bar of trust in the Lord, and I just bet that jewel of trust in our crowns will shine more brightly than those for whom trust comes easily. No scripture on that one, just a thought.
But part of that learned trust behavior, like any learning, calls for consistency. That means doing it right, the same way, every time. I like the adage: “Practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent.” And so, I must practice trust consistently. If I’m sometimes trusting God, sometimes trusting myself to figure it out, I’m not being consistent. I become like the hot and cold air pushing against each other in the atmosphere of my brain, causing me to twist around and around like the tornadoes that roar through the Midwest. Damage. Destruction. (And lots of hot air…Satan’s good at that.)
“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”
This morning after the storm, my hostas and begonias might not look as “pretty” as I originally hoped, but no matter. They will continue to blossom and unfurl their leaves into the sunshine. So will I. So can you.
To read more of Dawn’s thoughts about OCD and other inspiring topics, please feel free to follow her at her personal blog!