Saturday, 24 August 2013

What's Your Obsession?

I read on a T-shirt recently, "Obsession is a word used by the lazy to describe those that are dedicated!" Brilliant. Our perspective often colours how we define what it is to be obsessed. For example, some people think I am obsessed because I work out at the gym three times a week. Those in the gym who go there every day might think me lazy. My dedication to deer stalking, when I set my alarm for 2.30 (that's 0230hrs, 2.30 am) could be perceived as obsessive to anyone who has not watched the Roebuck appear out of the half light of the pre-dawn, his foot falls through the dead bracken rendered mute by the resonance of the dawn chorus. My desire to be consistently leading extreme routes on the rock (not yet achieved) is the working of an obsessed mind to some, but to those who warm-up on much harder routes it may well seem tame and even lackadaisical.

So is obsession relative or is there an absolute obsession? And is it always a negative trait?

Now, this guy is a real obsessive, just plain bonkers at times:

At the time this was taken I could have been whistling The Grenadier Guards and dancing a Can-Can and he would not have twitched. You see, he had spotted what we were out looking for: a Roe deer, and nothing, absolutely nothing in the universe was as important as that. He's the same even now, with deer, pheasant or woodcock. The eyes give it all away; nothing else matters.

That's why they are called the "windows of our souls". Our eyes reveal what we really feel, what is really going on inside.

So how does this:

Become this:

I'm not talking about size, of course. I mean, how does that blank gaze into all that lovely new world become a focused stare at the chosen goal of life (look at the eyes of the last shot; even a side view can pick out the laser beam stare!)?

I get my lads to focus on what I teach them is important. I also discourage them from chasing the wrong goals in life. In Maximus's case this was rabbits, in Gunnar's, sheep. I do this because I know what they are bred for, what is latent in their very being, what they are designed to excel at. I also know what will be destructive for them, and what will be truly fulfilling for them.

And I purposefully make them obsessed with pursuing that goal.

Is it wrong of me to inculcate a desire to do one thing above all else, to spend every waking moment (and many of their sleeping ones if you watch them at night) in pursuit of one goal above everything else? Some say it is, forcing my dogs into being hunters when they should be allowed to simply run and play and dash around the fields.

At the risk of seeming opinionated and even blunt, I have to say that that is wrong. It is incorrect, erroneous, fatally flawed and in all, complete mumbo-jumbo. Taking a creature that is specifically bred for a purpose and then not allowing it to fulfil said purpose, indeed, frustrating its innate characteristics by not honing and perfecting their behaviour in order to fulfil its potential, is rather like taking an Aston Martin Vanquish  and using it to tootle down to the shops twice a week to collect groceries, never getting into 3rd gear and absolutely never exceeding the speed limit.

It would be just plain daft. When something is bred and designed for a purpose it should, nay, it must be allowed to realise that purpose, even to the point of seeming obsession.

What are we all designed for? What is our purpose?

As one who follows Jesus Christ, you must know my answer to that by now. We are designed to bring glory to God, to worship Him and Him alone, and to live lives that reflect the life of Jesus Christ to a lost world as He flows freely through each of us, by His Spirit

How are we pursuing that purpose? With total dedication? With absolute commitment? Here is the acid test for those who claim Christ: are those around you, especially those who are unsympathetic to your faith (and I hope there are some of those around you) calling you obsessed? Do they sneer and say you are taking all this Christianity stuff too far? I hope so.

Paul said, "for to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21) I don't care how you fudge it, that was an obsessed man. What does it say in the great letter to the Hebrews? ...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..." (Hebrews 12:1-2). Those eyes must be locked in laser beam stares, just like my pup.

Obsession for a Christian is total dedication to the One who died to set you free. He endured the full wrath of a holy God against sin, and that demands a total commitment to Him. Nothing else matters. It really is as simple as that.

The world will certainly call you obsessed. Unfortunately, so will most of the church, may God forgive them. But the Lord will call you blessed. He will also call you home when you have fought your fight and run your race.

And finally, and I write this with tears, the angelic host will applaud you in to your eternal reward, and as Bunyan wrote in his great work, The Pilgrim's Progress, as Mr Valiant-for-Truth crossed over the river, "all the trumpets sounded on the other side". Great blasts and proclamations of congratulations, of celebration, and of absolute true, eternal joy and satisfaction.

I will teach my lads to be obsessed about what they are designed for. My Saviour will train me in being obsessed about what I am designed for, so that I can achieve all that He has set out for me to do while I am on this race on earth. He knows what is best for me, and I trust Him to fulfil all of that through me. My obsession with Him, is through His dedication to me, and only those on the same race will ever understand. Where do you fit into this?