Monday, October 20, 2014

A little struggle I call OCT (Obsessive Compulsive Tendencies)

This past week and a half, I have been extremely motivated to complete an application for Teach 4 America. After nearly applying to teach with them over three years ago when I first got back to China, I felt the nudge to apply with them again.

So for the past 2 weeks, I have been researching and writing, and reflecting to complete my application. Although the application is not due until this Friday, I had made a goal for myself to finish it by last week-end to save my own sanity and allow me some time to rest this week. Now that the application is completed and submitted though, I am having some second doubts. "Did I write a coherent answer for that specific question on my application? Did I include enough about my experiences teaching in China? Was I consistent between my resume and the drop-down boxes that reflected each component of my resume?" And so on these worries go. Usually, I am pretty thorough with forms and applications. But sometimes, I just want to be done.

However, now that the application is submitted, and I won't find out about it for another 2 weeks, I am starting to worry.

It is in these moments that I am keenly aware that I have some mild obsessive compulsive tendencies. I first noticed these tendencies when I was in grade school. I didn't really know what I was experiencing at the time, but I did feel extreme paranoia about some relatively small things. For example, if I went to a store and picked up a toy to look at it and then put it back on the shelf, I would return to that shelf at least 2 times to make sure that I had placed the toy correctly on the shelf instead of placing it near the edge where the toy might fall off and shatter. I also checked light switches several times to make sure I had turned them off. As I got older, I started to obsess about conversations I would have with my friends on the phone. If a girlfriend did not say good-bye to me in what I considered a friendly way, I would either obsess about it or call her back and ask if everything was okay with her or if she was upset with me.

When I played basketball, I used to replay every bad pass, turnover, missed shot, and literally beat myself up over it. I wrote poems to deal with my guilt of playing a bad game. As I got older, the obsession moved to different areas of my life. . . superstitiously painting my nails, keeping a detailed journal of what I ate and recording my weight every morning and evening, obsessively running everyday, re-reading over emails three or four times before sending.

And now still, sometimes these tendencies creeps in. No doubt Rob has seen it manifest itself almost every time we leave the house.  And one of the only ways I have successfully been able to deal with these obsessive tendencies is to stay busy. Whenever I start to get obsessive about a conversation or an unanswered email, I have to get moving.  I call someone or go somewhere.  I fill my plate with activity because in doing more activity, I obsess less. This is probably one of the reasons that I often hold multiple jobs --it keeps me from having too much time to fill with obsessive thoughts.

So in those slower summer months, or during those winter breaks, there is a battle going on in my mind, and I struggle.

Whenever I want something really bad, like this Teach 4 America opportunity, I struggle.

While I was dating Rob, I struggled. Even though he gave me so much affirmation and reminded me often that he wanted to be with me, in my head, I only worried that somehow, someway, I would mess it up. I would put that toy too close to the edge. I would have a turnover. I would lose control of my weight.

So now with my current worry, I am trying to see my hasty submission as a sign of growth. It is okay not to check a document three times before uploading it. It is okay to answer the question one time and move on.

Ultimately, the result of this application is not in my control; it is in God's hands. I am trying to let go of worrying about it and trust that God has good plans for my future. But as this blogpost reflects, I am still struggling with letting go and trusting Him.

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