Obsession Confession

Vintage shoes & flowersOften, while writing, I’ll click onto the Internet to look up something whether it’s information on a town my character’s visiting, Bible scripture or (gasp) the correct spelling of a word that my pesky spell-checker underlines in red. My Internet default page is set to Yahoo!, so I’m often captured by one of their headlines. There I go, down a rabbit trail. However, there are times when this off-track foray will spark a book or blog idea. This happened just last week.

On my way to Dictionary.com, I was distracted by the story of a 58-year-old woman, Darlene Flynn, who made the news because she’d apparently been murdered by her 29-year-old boyfriend. As sad as that was, it wasn’t what had me delving further. It seemed Darlene had been on the reality show My Collection Obsession for her collection of almost 15,000 shoe-related items. This obsession earned her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

On the short video clip that accompanied the story, Darlene shows off her modest home, jam packed with every conceivable shoe item you can imagine from figurines to furniture. She proudly tells how she worked 60-80 hours a week, yet still found it difficult to pay her mortgage because so much of her income went into her obsession.

After getting back on task, I couldn’t get Darlene out of my mind. To spend her life focused on something so…okay, I’m just going to put it out there…ridiculous. Working obscene hours, living paycheck to paycheck and for what? Then to have her life end so tragically. How sad. I’d like to say I’m not judging, but that would be a lie. I wonder if God had something wonderful planned for Darlene—and if so, where did it go so horribly wrong?

The truth is, many of us are obsessed with temporal things, too. It may not get us in the Guinness Book of World Records or land us a spot on My Collection Obsession, but it’s not any more God-honoring than Darlene’s shoe collection. How many hours do we spend obsessed with food, or exercise, or traveling? What about electronics, or hobbies that take up much of our time—time better spent doing God’s work? I know I do. And as I sat in my office, judging poor Darlene, I wondered what areas of my life could be put to better use.

I know God’s called me to a purpose, and yet I’m not always good at staying on task. Obviously, I wasn’t on task when I came upon Darlene’s story. It can be challenging to be disciplined when working from home—just one more game of Free Cell and I’ll get back to work. This is the reason I don’t visit Facebook very often. Hours can be wiled away on the lives of people I don’t know well enough to pick up the phone and call.

But God is pretty good at giving me a reminder when I need it. Just this morning, I opened up In Touch magazine to read today’s devotional—Living With Purpose. If that isn’t a reminder, I don’t know what is! Dr. Stanley wrote, “The only way you’ll fulfill God’s purposes is by setting goals that align with His will and taking specific steps to achieve them…from the Lord’s perspective, spiritual passivity always results in a squandered life.” I want more than anything to face God in heaven and hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Your turn. Do you find yourself challenged by frivolity at times?

2 thoughts on “Obsession Confession

  1. Oh yeah! I wouldn’t be human if I said, “No.” I’m often running down distraction road and then glance at the clock and realize how much time I’ve wasted. And then I promise I’ll do better the next day. Uh huh! …I do! But I don’t.

    That’s why I need grace and redemption. Thanks for the gem.

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