A thought-out, committed, and unswerving belief in God’s providence is absolutely necessary for the Christian who suffers from OCD. This bible-based and universally accepted part of our creed is, strangely, often deemphasized nowadays. The OCDer, however, must keep it in mind at all times. God is in control of all events. He arranges, engineers, and ordains all circumstances, every single occurrence, in our lives.
When struck by an obsession, the OCDer is thrown into a state of turmoil as the intrusive image, idea, or urge sets off an alarm in the brain: “Danger ahead! You need to do something about it, you need to correct this situation or something terrible will happen!” At that point, naturally, he or she assumes full-on responsibility for putting things right, and charges into performing corrective actions. Now, this is pretty good…to be driven to take care of a bad fear…except for the fact that obsessions are by definition irrational and the actions they incite, compulsions, are useless, time consuming and embarrassing.
When an obsession hits, rather than taking responsibility for the obsessional fear, the OCDer needs to give to God whatever it is that she taking responsibility for. Maybe it is making sure that a fire doesn’t start, or that she must put a bad thought out of mind, or that she must prevent herself from acting on a repulsive urge. Whatever it is, put it into God’s hands. Thus her attitude becomes: It’s up to you, Lord, as to whether a fire starts, whether I have this bad thought, or whether I act on this repulsive urge.
Although we have every reason to believe that the obsessional fear will not be realized, it is still very difficult to transfer responsibility when an obsession hits. It’s not so much that we don’t trust God (we know that we have every reason to be hopeful in his mercy), but that God disappears at that time. Therefore, tremendous anxiety generally occurs when we transfer responsibility and resist performing compulsions. This torment must be combated with faith in the power of Jesus, faith in his merciful providential will. He has told us “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Give the fear to Jesus and cooperate with him, rather than going it alone. Jesus will arrange it so that whatever happens is best. We don’t always know what is best for us, anyway. When an obsession strikes, just LET JESUS DO WHAT HE WANTS.