Red Herrings

     This song is about temptation - not so much the major temptations that may seem obvious to us, but the temptation to overthink things.  For almost as long as I can remember, I have struggled with what is nowadays commonly referred to as "OCD" (though I don't care much for such terminology).  There are more descriptive titles that people have given to this difficulty:  "what if" thinking, paralysis by analysis, extreme perfectionism, and so on.  But whatever you want to call it, you can certainly consider it to be largely counterproductive.  I believe it's good to avoid rushing into decisions and to think before acting.  And since I'm a Christian, I have a desire to do things well, and even to be perfect (someday).  But there's a point at which the thinking should be finished and action should begin. 
     Jesus told a parable about three servants who were given "talents" by their master, with which they were to trade while he was away.  The first two servants used what they had been given to turn a profit, but the third allowed his fears to keep him from using his talent.  When the master returned, he called the unprofitable servant "wicked and slothful", and had him cast into outer darkness (Matthew 25:14-30). 
     It's also interesting to consider obsessive-compulsivity in light of some of the actions of the Pharisees whom Jesus frequently rebuked.  They were apparently very hung up about certain rituals for washing and keeping their own standard of cleanliness, but were a self-indulgent bunch of religious hypocrites who didn't seem to do much actual work.  It's reasonable to assume that those guys could have been diagnosed with the aforementioned disorder, but Jesus didn't seem to think it was a disease.  He certainly didn't make any excuses for their behavior.    
     Many great people have made some mistakes on their way to achieving greatness.  But if one is going to make a mistake, that's the way to make it:  in the midst of the process of doing your best to use what God has given you.  It's certainly much better than making the greatest mistake of all:  that of not using whatever talents you have because you're afraid, or because you're waiting for just the right moment.  Funny how that moment never seems to come!  
     And it's funny, also, that when you go into action, oftentimes the concerns that you were using as justification for procrastination turn out to not be such a big deal.  As Tom Petty once sang, "Most things I worry about never happen anyway."