hidden glory

Friday, November 18, 2005

Obsession with Perfection

This picture invites me into its perfection. The pillows are perfectly arranged, there's a glass of water on the stand for refreshment when you're parched, and a book on the floor which invites me to jump into the scene that looks like a cover of Real and Simple magazine. It's a white room, with a green flowering plant and dazzling almost-ethereal light behind it. I think this could be a picture of heaven as it would look to me. A place of perfect beauty and rest.

Right now as I sit in my loft-style living room, the setting sun streams in through the window, and I have a few precious moments to reflect, read, and write. Even as I'm reminded that this moment isn't perfect (because the annoyingly loud washing machine is in the background and there are papers due in 2 weeks that I'm evading as well as dirty dishes in the sink that call me), I'm tempted to obsession of why it can't be. Or why perfect days can't last forever. Think about the last time you had a moment that was truly perfect...it can almost bring a sense of sadness or loss because it isn't present now.

In one of my counseling classes this week, we discussed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and learned that one of the traits can be an obsession with perfection. It's what can drive someone who struggles with OCD to perform time-consuming rituals, such as repetitive hand-washing or cleaning. It got me thinking about my own mini-obsessions with perfection. And what happens when I realize I'm not perfect (and neither is my world or the people around me). Where do I go? I don't perform some obsessive ritual (unless you consider my writing about perfection to be a bit OCD!), but I usually try to fix it. I feel somewhat responsible to create a perfect world...and somewhat guilty when I notice that it's not possible.

This could drive me to despair. Yet as I continued to reflect on this phenomena (that is, I dare say, common to humanity), I realized that it's not all bad to long for perfection. There's something in us that's made for it! The Wisdom teacher of the Book of Ecclesiastes says, "he [God] has put eternity into man's heart." We long for perfection because we once WERE perfect. We struggle with falling short of perfection because it's IMPOSSIBLE to be perfect since the Fall (when sin was introduced into who we are as a race). We hope for perfection because we who are in Christ WILL BE perfect when we see Him face to face. I close with what gives me hope in my obsession with perfection that too often pops up: Christ has accomplished eternal perfection for me and I will see glimpses of it (but not the full picture) while on earth which are to be enjoyed as tastes of what's to come. Paul says it best in 1 Corinthians 13:9-13 "For we know in part...but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away....For now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide...but the greatest of these is love."




3 Comments:

  • Here's something to obsess about - sending your BF your blog link! just playing. I am so happy to be a partaker of your literary life. Keep it up!
    KO

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10:18 AM  

  • I don't get OCD from pictures, but sometimes I think I didn't lock the front door. Of course, this fitting because last weekend while away at the men's retreat. I left the front door of my house wide open for 3 days!! Nothing was missing, apparently everyone thought I was home.

    BTW, you are linked!

    By Anonymous Jerry, At 11:45 AM  

  • Yeah, I wonder does my consistent behavior like checking out of reality from time to time count as an OCD. If so, then OCD may be all over my poor life. Perhaps, I should obsess over Jesus instead by listening to one of those songs about "falling in love with Jesus again." Not! :-)

    http://www.reformedblacksofamerica.org

    XP

    By Blogger RBA Founder Xavier Pickett, At 4:54 PM  

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