When an obsession strikes, a short time is available for straight thinking before it overwhelms us and we start doing compulsions. Maybe, there are a couple of seconds in which to do something really good and worthwhile. What we must do is put the obsession in a different perspective so that its fear is lessened and we escape the cycle of compulsions.
In this critical yet brief time, many excellent ideas are available to bring to mind and make ourselves pay attention to. We can label the fear as irrational and due to a biochemical disorder in the brain, for instance. Or we can liken the obsession to a drunk who is yelling at us from across the street. Or we can say to ourselves “I’ve been here before many times and nothing bad has happened.” Or we can say, “I’m not going to let this fear control me today!”
As Christians we can move beyond such secular (although excellent) ideas, and when obsessions strike we can remind ourselves of eternal truths. These not only put obsessions in a better perspective, they turn the idea of fear upside down! Here’s one to try. The idea is that whatever situation you find yourself in, it’s the best one for you.
One of the most fundamental truths of our faith is that God is in full control of all events, and that whatever he wills to happen is in our best interest. It is a hard truth to grasp. And even if you grasp it, it’s seems extremely difficult to keep in mind, especially if you are an OCDer. Yet, it is biblical and it’s true.
Martin Luther puts it this way: “If he is the Creator of heaven and earth and Lord over every thing, who, then, could work me harm? Yes, how can it be otherwise than that all things work for good for me if the God, whom all creation obeys and depends upon, is well intentioned toward me?” Oswald Chambers says, “Not even the smallest details of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in him.”
I particularly like the simple statement of the 17th century writer Fenelon: “The best place is wherever God puts us.” He goes on to add, “The consolation of knowing that you are where you are through God’s providence is quite inexhaustable—while you have it nothing else can matter.“How we moan and groan when an obsession strikes! “Oh no, it’s here again!” “It will never go away!” “I’m one thought away from disaster!” “I’ve got to do something now! ” Yet, at the moment an obsession hits, reminding ourselves of the great truth of God’s power and mercy can have powerful results.
When an obsessional fear strikes, remind yourself: “This is the best place for me to be right now.” Although it definitely doesn’t feel like the best place, it is the best place because God has arranged it for you in order for you to work out your salvation. To remember this truth is not only a big, big perspective changer, it is the most pleasing thing you could ever do for our Lord as it shows him much you trust in him.