Everyone has a giant to face, a mountain in their life to be moved. My greatest obstacle has always been fear: false evidence appearing real. I have OCD, and for too long, this “doubting disease” had made me afraid similar to how my former abuser did to me, controlling my mind and life. Thanks to God, things have improved immensely over the last few years. Now, I usually can manage the anxiety and discomfort effectively, even when facing a frightening obsession. In my life, OCD is no longer an unmovable mountain or a giant that cannot be defeated.
Even when I face intense obsessions, I am confident God will empower me to win the war against all my problems. Both my relationship with God and my faith in His deliverance have greatly evolved in the last few years; consequently, my success in dealing with trials like OCD has improved, and my life has been more productive, happier, more peaceful, and more satisfying to me.
This article will talk about the biggest anxiety-producing OCD obsession I have had in my life and how I trust and rely on God to help me overcome it. To those who experience similar issues, I hope this article will give you both inspiration and direction as you face your daily battles with OCD.
My Biggest Obsession Stems from My Past Abuse
When I was a child, I was repeatedly abused for making a mistake. My abuse experiences made me very fearful and paranoid of doing something wrong and then being maltreated and rejected for doing so. I couldn’t handle the shame and the fear of ensuing rejection and punishment that often comes from being imperfect. So, my OCD mind developed obsessions of me “doing something bad, which would cause people to reject and “abuse” me like how my former abuser did to me when I made mistakes in front of him.
When I am around people, my OCD mind would have intrusive thoughts, images, impulses, and urges of doing something horrific and or embarrassing, which, if it came to fruition, would definitely lead people to reject, hate, and or perceive me as no good. I would have obsessions like “blurting out the n-word in church”, raping a woman, sexually touching a child, pulling the fire alarm in public places – if I commit the act, chances are likely to be perceived negatively.
My abuse-driven fear of making a mistake and then being perceived badly also often manifests into other types of obsessions I have. Perfectionism in completing tasks and checking obsessions are both stimulated by the fear of facing a consequence from not doing something correctly, another by-product of my past abuse.
So how do I battle the fear of making a mistake and then experiencing a consequence? Every day, I simply do the best I can in everything I do, with the help of God’s wisdom and empowerment, to do all things, and then surrender the results to Him. Regardless of the outcome, I do my very best to accept myself. I have made significant progress in doing all this, which has helped me in my bouts with OCD. However, to trust in God better and to accept self unconditionally, I first had to overcome a giant, spiritual stronghold in my life: an erroneous belief that if I made a big enough mistake or committed a specific sin, God would behave, similarly to my formerly abusive stepfather, and punish me with wrath by allowing bad things to happen to me in my life.
Trusting in God’s grace and justification
There is no greater freedom than becoming a child of God and being loved, protected, and cared for by Him. Until I truly realized what justification and grace meant, I had a weak link in my faith, and I never really experienced freedom found in Christ.
According to justification principles, Christ’s payment for our sins on the cross completely satisfied the wrath of God on the sinner for every sin he would commit in his lifetime. Consequently, the Christian will never again experience any condemnation from God, regardless of the mistake made or the sin committed. Every sin of mine is absolutely forgiven by God, and thus, since we have peace with God, we are totally accepted and loved, as if we were never have sinned. Because of grace, we are perfect in His eyes, even though, in reality, we sin every day. Because God views me as just, He has no reason to behave like an abusive father when I sin or make a mistake.
God is a perfectly loving and wise Father. He does not desire me to do potentially destructive things to myself or others. So when I have an obsession like “saying the n-word”, raping a woman, sexually touching a child, or pulling the fire alarm, I believe God would definitely choose to help me not to commit the act if I ask for His help in faith. And I think He will do the same for you if you call upon His name.
According to Matthew 7:7-11, God desires to “give us good gifts” and not misfortune. This does not mean God will never give us problems for some divine purpose, such as strengthening our faith. When we start fearing life’s “what ifs”, we should still trust God’s goodness at work, and even if He does allow the “what if” to happen, we should still believe in the promise of Romans 8:28: “For God works all things together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”
Even if God does allow my obsession of doing something horrific to happen, and the world decides to reject me, even though I do not desire rejection, at least I know God will always love and accept me. God and not people is the source of all true joy and happiness.
Developing Mustard Seed Faith
When you face a scary obsession, daily ask in faith for God’s wisdom and empowerment to overcome as you trust in Him and surrender your fears to God. Remember: OCD is basically fear and doubt, attempting to lose control.
I tackle OCD with mustard seed faith. Mountains like OCD can be moved if you have mustard seed faith (see Matthew 17:19-20). Mustard seed faith starts as a little faith but grows very large when fed and tested. Daily studying God’s Word and prayer as you develop an intimate love relationship with Him are ways to feed your faith. The more you know someone, the better you can trust them, especially during hard times.
The object of your faith should be solely in the power of God. Mustard seed faith is also resilient. Rely upon the empowerment and wisdom of God as you strive to pass God’s various tests of faith (your OCD trials) that He gives you, to strengthen and mature your growing faith.
In the Bible, God used smaller trials of lions and bears to teach David how to trust in Him, evolving David’s growing mustard seed faith, with a divine purpose in mind. God wanted David to eventually defeat the giant Goliath to show the world that even an ordinary boy can defeat his personal giants through the power of God. David’s faith first overcame fear and doubt, then defeated Goliath, and the nation of Israel found freedom from the Philistines, and David later became king of Israel. That is the story of an ordinary boy, trusting and relying upon the power of God to defeat his giant.
David was victorious because He realized that the “battle was the Lord’s, and not his own”. Just like David, I am also winning the battle with my daily giant with OCD, partially because I also realize, I cannot do it in my own strength. Philippians 4:13 says: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me.”
How are we going to be remembered by others? Are we going to follow in the footsteps of David, who defeated his giant Goliath? We will have fierce battles with our daily giant called OCD. However, mountains can be moved if we have mustard seed faith. (Matthew 17:20). “With man, this is impossible; but with God all things are possible”. (Matthew 19:26)