Many years ago, I was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD. You may be familiar with the disorder from stories and articles that focus on describing—in painful detail—a person’s object of obsession and their compulsive behavior that follows. For example, some people obsess about germs and, in turn, wash their hands frequently (and by frequently, I mean they sometimes wash them so much they bleed). My personal obsession of choice was fear. So, I spent a lot of my time checking locks to make sure they were actually locked. I could check the same lock fifteen or more times in a five-minute span. I checked it because I was afraid, and confirming it was locked assuaged my fear… even if only temporarily.
Living with OCD and exploring its root cause in my life has made me much more sensitive to other habits I develop. I’m always on the lookout: Is this my OCD rearing its ugly head again? Is the habit becoming extreme to the point of interfering with my daily living? (An excellent OCD symptom-checker.) Or is this just a “regular” bad habit?
I had this internal discussion lately when I realized I was checking Facebook every time I found myself waiting. I know you’ve done it, too, so put your pious away! You post something on social media and then constantly check it to see who responds and how. Elevator not here yet? Check Facebook. Lunch line a little long today? Check Facebook. Waiting on a call back? Check Facebook. It was good to be able to recognize it in myself and take stock since checking stuff is my thing. In the end, I decided: 1) While new for me, I’m fairly certain this is a “regular” bad habit. And, 2) This has gotta stop.
Every time I checked my post, and every time there was a positive response, I got a little mood boost. I was developing an addiction to the positive feedback (Pavlov anyone?). The irony did not escape me. I write about turning my heart and mind toward God, but had ended up looking to people—and their emoji’s—for approval. (And I thought OCD was crazy…)
In the Gospel of Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Let’s all agree to get our hearts back in the right places today.
Father, thank you for the reminder of where my true treasure is and for giving me the insight to realize that I was looking far from where I would find it. Amen.