In the spirit of being honest and transparent, I am resisting a compulsion right now. I want to pray that God will give me the “right” words to say during this post. I also was not going to write this today because I didn’t have the “right” feeling about it. However, I know exactly what I should do.
Write this anyway.
Even if I say the “wrong” things.
I guess I am beginning to notice a shift in my spirit lately. God began stripping away some of those OCD religious scruples when I first began therapy. A little piece at a time. And yes, I had stopped beating myself up for things I thought that God was saying to me. I stopped believing that He was disappointed in me. I stopped believing I was sinning when an intrusive thought came into my head. However, the challenge is, how do you pick up those shattered pieces? What happens when the criticizing voice of OCD starts to quiet after screaming at you for 20 years? You aren’t really left with much. You don’t really know how to relate to God after that. You want to spend time with Him, but sometimes it borders on compulsions. You want to enjoy church, but sometimes OCD tries to butt its head in again. You want to read your Bible, but when does it become obsessive? How do you pray when all your prayers have been driven by fear and beliefs that something terrible will happen if you don’t? How do you know when you should ask for forgiveness for something or if it is just OCD trying to shove you in its box again?
I don’t know.
I really, really wish I did. I wish I could tell you. I wish someone could tell me.
However, this past Sunday morning at church, I found myself reflecting (more like weeping) over Jesus’ compassion toward me. And not even because it was Easter. Not because I was reflecting on his sacrifice for my sins. But because I was thinking about how much He cares about those of us with mental illnesses. I mean think about it. Think about how many times in the Bible He stops what he is doing to heal someone who may have been mentally ill. Or someone who was cast off by society. This includes people with physical ailments, yes, but also those who may have been mentally ill as well. I am just so glad that He wanted to include those accounts in the Bible so that we would know that His love is all-encompassing. I know we say that a lot. Jesus loves everyone so much. It just means something else to me entirely when I am in that group. Jesus has a unique way of relating to everyone exactly where they are. After all,
17 For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. -Hebrews 2:17
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. -Hebrews 4:15-16
I do not think these verses are just talking about His compassion for us in terms of sin. I think weaknesses means everything that we struggle with, whether it is temptation or not. I truly believe God understands completely those who suffer with ailments that we cannot see. Whether that is anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, etc.
I came across two verses recently that I feel can also be applied to my struggle with OCD. In Matthew 23, Jesus is talking to the crowds and his disciples about the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees. He says,
3 …..but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
That is EXACTLY what OCD does. It crushes me with unbearable religious demands.
22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. -Lamentations 3:22
So take that OCD.
He is taking back what you have stolen.
You think you are winning, but you have no idea who the God I serve is.