Maybe I Can Be a Little Obsessive Sometimes
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and saved them, and watered their flock. Exodus 2:17
It’s my nature to be a little obsessive about some of my pursuits. Years ago, when I started running with a buddy, we didn’t sign up for a 5K, but rather for a marathon. If I start eating donuts, I don’t eat just one. I eat the whole box. In my opioid addiction, this meant that the drug consumed my entire life: faith, family, and career. Now, in recovery, I don’t simply dabble in journaling. I had to write a daily blog and a book. I don’t just go to gym a few days a week like normal people. Rather, I go seven days a week and twice a day when I can. I see my writing and my physical fitness as healthy directions in which to channel my energy. It’s not that my fanaticism is necessarily good or bad. It becomes good or bad, depending on where I point it. If I simply let my nature take its course, I can easily pursue the unhealthy. If, however, I daily point my life at God, then he can use my enthusiasm for good.
This reality was revealed in Moses’ life. In today’s passage, Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a helpless Hebrew because it was in Moses’ nature to stand up for the helpless. Unfortunately, this led to murder and so, Moses had to flee Egypt as Pharaoh wanted him dead. Escaping to the land of Midian, we’re told how Moses rested at a well where he encountered seven daughters who came to water their father’s flock. Some local shepherds tried to run the women off, but Moses didn’t tolerate bullies. So, though he was outnumbered, Moses defended the women, driving off the terrorizing shepherds. This event led to Moses finding a home, a wife, and family. Moses could apparently be quite ferocious in his pursuit of justice. That wasn’t necessarily a good or bad thing. Channeled in the wrong direction, it led to murder. Channeled in the right direction, it led to defending the helpless.
Most of us can identify with this. Most of us have traits that can be assets or liabilities. For instance, we all desire joy, purpose, and meaning. It’s not wrong to want to be happy. We go right or wrong in how we go about seeking joy. If we try to find satisfaction in the immediate gratification of our self-destructive appetites, we’ll fail every time. If, however, we point our lives at God, seeking his will, we’ll find that our deepest needs are fulfilled. We all have traits that can be good or bad, depending on where we point them. Our way is disaster. God’s way is life.