“I’m in a major OCD crisis,” the young homemaker said. She had experienced contamination fears since adolescence. Now, however, obsessional doubts had struck her religious beliefs, and she was in worse shape than ever. It started when she attended a new church. The pastor had preached a sermon in which he forcefully stated, “Anyone who is not certain of their salvation probably isn’t saved at all.” He had stressed the importance of knowing for sure that we are saved, emphasizing that if we can’t say we are with certainty, then something must be wrong. Ever since that day she had been in a state of panic. She thought that since she doubted, she couldn’t be saved. Very simple. Very terrifying. She tried as hard as she could to convince herself that she was saved, to cast our the idea that she was not, and to immerse herself in Bible verses and spiritual readings. Yet her agitation only got worse.
The pastor’s teaching, often heard in Evangelical and Reformed churches, has some excellent points. It encourages people to be confident in God and bold in their beliefs. It forces people to address stumbling blocks to attaining God’s peace, such as unconfessed sins. One major problem with this theological stance, however, is that a subgroup of people exists for whom this message is a major stumbling block. These people are OCD sufferers.
OCD, sometimes called the “doubting disease,” is a disorder in the processing of fears. It involves the agonizing paradox that the more we try to overcome a particular fear, the stronger it becomes. The OCD suffer struck with a fear that her hands are unclean, for instance, is not going to be able to gain certainty that they are clean through trying to convince herself of that fact. Such efforts become compulsions that make her doubt even stronger. Likewise, in the case of an obsessional doubt of salvation, the OCD sufferer is simply not able to gain certainty that she is saved through her own effort. The steps taken by the young woman to bolster her faith were all good in themselves, yet because of her OCD they made matters worse.
The effective psychological treatment for this particular manifestation of OCD is clear: The young woman must expose herself to the fear that she is not saved and do nothing to lessen it. This will lead to habituation to the fear. From the Christian perspective, a helpful way to view this is as a specific trial of faith. It is the working out of salvation in “fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). What God wants in these unusual cases is not efforts to make ourselves believe more strongly, but patience in enduring the painful cross of fear and uncertainty. When God is ready, he will then make faith stronger than ever.
97 Response Comments
Thank you for this! So, when you say that she must ‘expose herself to the fear that she is not saved and do nothing to lessen it’… do you mean that she allows the thought to exist and just basically does nothing about it? Just trying to understand.
That is certainly a key point. According to Martin Luther, there are two things we can “do,” yet we don’t really do them through the type of effort that would comprise a “work.” They are: 1. “despair of your own ability.” In other words, salvation is a gift, and in the last analysis you can’t do anything to get it. And, 2. Put your hope in Christ. Then we wait in fear and trembling, and when God does give us the gift of faith, we know it is a gift and not something that we can get through our own efforts. What do you think?
Hi- what book can you recommend for OCD and the “what if’s” doubting one’s Salvation? Thank you
Hi Scott, The usual ones are those dealing with “scruples,” such as the book “The Doubting Disease,” and my book, “Can Christianity Cure OCD.” There is a book called “Understanding Scrupulosity” by the Catholic priest Fr Santa, which is very good. You might benefit from that even if a Protestant, but there is a lot of emphasis on confession, etc. Basically, there is not too much written on scrupulosity from a psychological perspective.
Are you saying that you agree with what the pastor initially said about those who doubt their salvation aren’t really saved? If so, I don’t think that is biblical. What about, “I believe, help my unbelief!”? I am pretty sure that God isn’t looking for perfect faith when we come to Him. Just faith and repentance, which is technically 2 sides of the same coin. What a terrible burdon to think that ones faith has to be perfect before Jesus will save him/her. God doesn’t cast you out when you come to him surrendering all and asking Him to change your inconsistant and devided heart. Our repentance and faith will never be perfect. Having doubts doesn’t mean your not saved. No one is immune from spiritual doubt or severe temptation. The Bible is full of examples of this. We follow Jesus in spite of our doubts! That my friends is faith!
I’m sorry if there was any misunderstanding. To have doubts, as you point out, definitely does not mean a person is not saved. Luther, in fact, says that many people who are doubtful are more surely saved that many who are sure.
I understand in theory what you are saying but I have a difficult time putting it into practice. It’s difficult to not ‘think’ when the fear hits. You wrote to stay exposed to the fear. I seem to fail at this without thoughts coming in my mind.
Hi Gene, Exposure is difficult to do on one’s own. A therapist can be helpful; sometimes necessary. But the idea is to keep on going back to the anxiety and fear, back to the distressing thought or image, when other thoughts come into the mind. It’s not a problem that other thoughts come, they always do.
I understand. Then, once your thoughts go back to the anxiety or fear.. what next? It seems one’s mind is always thinking… so what do you think once you go back to the anxiety?
Oh, I see what you mean. The fear that occurs in OCD is caused by an intrusive thought, an idea, image or urge. So, we’re going back to that thought. For instance, in ERP for the case described above, it would be going back to the thought “I’m not saved,” or a longer formulation of that thought that causes maximum anxiety. Then the exposure (or the cross) is staying in the anxiety caused by that thought. So, it is that thought that we are going back to, that one that causes anxiety. In ERP we might, for instance, make a tape of that thought and listen to it continuously.
Thank you. I find it very difficult to practice this but I will continue trying.
So, when I suddenly experience a horrible thought of “what if the Gospel isn’t true?,” it is OK to train my mind to say, “this is God’s business, and He will take care of it?” I don’t want to be negligent in matters of faith, yet I am suddenly struggling with this very question despite being a deeply thoughtful Christian with a deep faith, a sincere love for the gospel and for evangelism. Suddenly, I woke up one morning with that horrible thought–this world is dark, and what if the gospel is not true? I have not been able to dispel the doubt. I continue to pray, but with some fear that God will not honor my doubtful prayer. What is life without the gospel?! I have struggled with one OCD issue after another (started with health fears, then unwanted harmful thoughts, sexual imagery, fear of the devil being after me, you name it — then, after finally some victory and calm, this new one–doubts about faith itself! GGGGGH. It seems to fit the OCD pattern, but since it involves faith, I feel ever more desperate to fix it so that I can go on in life with hope! I tried your suggestion and found that it did make life MUCH more pleasant and doable for a few hours…until I wondered if I was being spiritually lazy. I am now in counseling with a Christian counselor who does not explain and identify the OCD thoughts as clearly as you do, and I have also just ordered your book.
Sorry for all the typos. I had several kids buzzing around me, so I was trying to be quick! My question was, overall, can one apply this method to doubts about faith itself, esp if they have occurred suddenly and in a VERY committed believer? (as most OCD thoughts do)? I miss my fellowship with the Lord!
Hi Ashley, Yes, the OCD trial-of-faith refers to all doubts, whether doubts that we have faith, doubts that God exists, doubts that we are saved, or any other. What we must do in those cases is willingly (though not gladly) suffer the doubts until God gives us faith and assurance. This is the cross I’m speaking about. This, in lesser psychological terms, is “ERP.” But this is not easy! It takes concentrated work, and often is simply too difficult to embark on by oneself. Perhaps you need to work with an OCD specialist in cognitive behavior therapy,in addition to your Christian counselor. Also, books on OCD are good: Brain Lock, Tormenting Thoughts and Secret Rituals, The OCD Workbook, books by Fred Penzel, Jon Abramowitz, and Jon Grayson, among others, are all good.
Thank you! This web site is such a great help, and I appreciate your time.
Hey, just thought I would share my testimony here. First, I would like to say that it is possible for true Christians to doubt. Second, with this in mind, I experienced 17 years of doubts and dealt with them by condemning myself for doubting, and pushed the thoughts out of my mind. At the end of those 17 years God brought it to my attention that I didn’t know HOW to trust him for earthly things. It felt like a trust fall, but I couldn’t see anyone behind me. Finally, I realized that I wasn’t saved, because I had been trusting in my understanding of the Gospel, my conviction of sin, and my good reputation amongst Christians, instead of the blood of Jesus like I said I was! And let me tell you, as a former perfectionist, the change was SO real and so wonderful when I got saved! My testimony has caused some to doubt, and for that I am sorry, but it has caused others to realize similar issues in their own beliefs and come to know Jesus! The Christian facing doubts WILL find peace in God’s Word if they seek His face, but the chameleon (who I used to be) will never find peace in God’s Word. I know that for sure. He will have to rationalize within himself to get by for a time and then he will face the doubts again. Read 1 John… It is an awesome book and it will tell you if you are saved!!
Can you expound upon this?
Thank you so much for your testimony. Very helpful.
Hi Taylor. Could you please describe more of your testimony?
I would love to hear more. God bless you. Or if you could email me email@example.com I would really appreciate it.
Grace abounding to the chief of sinners by John Bunyan, good read.
Probably a side note. At age 17 I had a nightmare of my life… That I had sinned against the holy spirit and will never be forgiven. Am now 43 and undergoing mental healing with medicine n therapy.
I wish life would have been kinder.
If you you have anxieties about doubting your salvation you probably need a doctor not a priest.
You don’t need a doctor or a priest what you need is to seek Jesus diligently with all your heart and understand Hebrews 11:6
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Learn of Him and you will find He is waiting to show Himself to you and His kindness, mercy and love will draw you and heal you. But you must dillegently seek Him even though the evil one is trying his best to keep you away from the Truth that is Jesus and the Father. He is your Abba Father and He is calling you out of the world. Seek Him and you will find. “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD,” Jeremiah 29:12 Christianity isn’t for the lazy or the faithless. Go and find your Lord and you will find He was looking for you. When the Son sets you free you will be free indeed! It has happened to me when I never thought it would. God bless…
My 10 year old OCD sufferer has taken on a new fear of doubting her salvation, even though she has accepted Christ five times. I have tried to give her assurance of her salvation, and explained that you only need to be saved once. It seems it has only worsened. How exactly do I explain what you are saying above to a small child. I have tried telling her to ignore her thoughts and forget them, and then she starts a new ritual of talking to herself “Just forget it” or “I know I am saved” or saying “I love you Jesus” fifty times a day, or repeatedly quoting a verse. Her fear is doubting her salvation, her compulsion is talking to herself trying to convince herself she is. I don’t know that I am explaining “letting the thoughts come” in a way a child can understand. Any specific way to explain that she can understand?
thanks for writing about that. a lot of people have similar concerns. i think the big thing is for her to understand that it is normal for some people to be attacked by doubt. it doesn’t in any way mean that she is not saved. it’s just that she has doubts. best way to handle them: to try not to be disturbed by them, since the fact that she cares about her salvation and desires it, is the strongest evidence possible that she does believe, even though her belief is being attacked by doubt. if that isn’t helpful, and she continues to be very distressed, and if it is interfering in her life, then she may need therapy for ocd. anyone else have a suggestion?
Catherine my heart breaks for your daughter. This is so painful to go through. I started going through it when I was only 6 and I was under heavy preaching when I should have been getting the pure mild of the word I was getting the meat of the word instead and I was terrified because of it. I didn’t have a loving concerned mama like you unfortunately. So what you need to do is to know the word yourself so you can help her battle this. Telling her not to worry about her salvation isn’t going to help. It is good that she cares. Most kids don’t. God is working in her but it isn’t good that she can’t get it under control for too long. It’s excusing. I know. For one thing you help her seen in scripture what true repentance is and tell her that if she wants to repent of something He is going to forgive her. Then she should stay away from that sin afterwords. When she gets a few successes under her that is one of the ways the Spirit testifies to us that we are His. Show her any success she has at overcoming sin. And just the fact that she is worried about it shows the Lord is calling to her. Dead ducks don’t flutter as they say. Tell her what Jesus says about little children. “such are the kingdom of God.” You must know the word so you can teach her. God bless, I hope this is helpful.
I seem to have this same issue. I’ve read through nearly all your posts, and I’m trying to understand…can I expect to overcome this doubting my salvation at some point, like Martin Luther and John Bunyan? I thought OCD wasn’t curable.
Also, I seem to struggle with intense condemning thoughts when I try to study God’s word. What do I do about this? Keep studying anyways and try to force myself to believe or read it and allow myself to feel anxious and just keep reading?
Also, is it common for someone who struggles with this type of OCD to have a distorted image of God (as a harsh and demanding judge vs loving father)? I just really struggle to feel God’s love for me. I want to keep growing in my relationship with him and to genuinely love him, but how do you love someone you fear? Can therapy help with this?
Thank you, I’ve really appreciated your blog. I never realized I had OCD until I read through this.
you ask the tough questions! i’ll try to answer as best i can, but i don’t know if what i offer will be helpful. “can i expect?”…in my experience, most people who address the issue do make progress with it. “what do i do about condemning thoughts?”…you need to treat these as obsessions, assuming that’s what they are. then there are several ways to approach obsessions when they hit. the “allow myself to feel anxious and keep reading” is one very good strategy. “common to have a distorted image?”…yes, it is. martin luther had such an image of god and the lord used it to lead him to a very close relationship with himself. remember the distorted image is from the enemy. the lord will allow you to be tested with it for as long as he wants, but remember that it is for you good, in order to bring you closer to him. these are complex questions. i think i address them somewhat in the book, ‘can christianity cure ocd?’ my guess is that these answers aren’t very helpful for you. i’m afraid i’m not smart enough to give good, short answers to such complex questions.
You are not alone! I struggle deeply with doubting my salvation and Gods love. I even fear God will withhold faith from me. Complicated doctrines like free will and election have been plaguing my mind lately. It’s all hindering me from growing in my walk with the Lord
I am having exactly the same issue. I can’t believe I found someone the same as me! I struggle to read the Bible. I too struggle to feel God’s love for me. I also can’t picture Hid as a loving father, I also just see him as harsh. It makes me so sad as I have so much love for God and I want to grow closer to him but this is the toughest battle ever and I’m a new believer.
Upon reading this when OCD was plaguing me very strongly, I hesitated to believe that exposing myself to the fear was a biblical approach to this bout of OCD! Well, accepting that I wasn’t saved led me to a place where I could literally praise God for the confidence He’s given me in His Son. God restored my faith and He’s waiting to restore yours too! It. Is. Possible.
So thankful I came across this website. What do I do with these fears? struggle deeply with doubting my salvation and Gods love. I even fear God will withhold faith from me. Complicated doctrines like free will and election have been plaguing my mind lately. It’s all hindering me from growing in my walk with the Lord. I am also a young mother of two small children and a wife. My OCD is hindering me from loving and serving them well. I am in counseling for my OCD.
i think i may have scrupulosity but I also fear that in truly not saved. I have given up. my “walk” with God has been failure after failure. in 2011 when I asked to be saved after hearing the gospel, i tried to move forward and live for God. out of nowhere I started doubting God’s existence, then the crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection. after those doubts faded I started having intrusive thoughts which I didn’t know where intrusive at the time. then I started questioning if I was really saved and i had numerous triggers for that in my life, such as a friend who was in the church of Christ and believed that was the only true church and all other denominations were false and will go to help. I had my own sins and failures, fear of witnessing to others about the gospel, lack of,the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, lacking the fruit of the Spirit that I saw in other christians. I eventually went into a severe depression with suicidal ideation. my “walk” with God has been falling, getting back up, then the doubts of if im saved return, i worry about my behavior, lack of growth, and,I fall into depression. the,cycle has repeated itself. im at the point where I have given up. the bible says that a true believer will continue in the faith. I guess I see that im not a true beliver. i see no heart change, its like im trying to live for God in my own strength. I honestly feel like it’s not worth it, ive been reaching out to God since 2011, and have only experienced his silence, depression, being misunderstood.,its not worth fighting for, i hate my life, i hate who I am. I don’t know if I have scrupulosity or if God has allowed me to keep failing to show me I really don’t belong to Him. I’ve done all I could by asking to be saved every day, multiple times, asking for more faith, being honest with God and telling him everything I wrote here. there’s nothing I can do except have faith, but Im afraid. I dont want to tell my self in saved when Im really not
That’s a devastating story, Kendra. I think there are misunderstandings on your part about the nature of faith and forgiveness. It would be very good if you could talk to a trustworthy pastor, or perhaps a Christian counselor, who could try to work with you on the meanings of these words And how they apply to you. Beyond that, you clearly have been becoming very depressed. this can often make it almost impossible to see the true light. Beyond that, OCD may be playing a part by forcing on you pathological doubt. That can be very difficult, indeed. All of these matters point to the necessity of your getting some help for these problems. Hope you are able to do that!
When I read Kendra’s comment I was floored! It was almost as if I wrote it myself! I feel the EXACT same way as Kendra…word for word as above. I also feel like simply giving up. But then, I fear Hell and eternal separation from God and love. I even cry over this dread often. So frightened. Was crying earlier because I have absolutely no joy…and very few fruits of the Spirit as well. I feel maybe I wasn’t, “predestined” by God for salvation. I’ve confessed everything I know of and repented…still nothing!
Hi Drew Baker, how are you doing? I hope yp
Hi Drew Baker, how are you doing? I hope you’re doing OK and have found some relief. I hope everyone on here is OK. I am praying for you all.
Hi Drew Baker I hope youre doing ok. How are you? I hope everyone here is OK, I’ll be praying for you all
The fact that you are going what your going through, I’m assuming if your still a christian, means you should be rejoicing! Because the lord views you as strong enough to handle something like this. Most people who go through what you and I do would fall away, but you haven’t after all these years!! That is so inspiring. I was reading the book ‘spiritual discliplines for the godly’ or something like that, and he said “do you ever feel like just giving up on this whole Christianity thing and just throwing in the towel? But for some reason you just can’t ever come to that point? That’s the Holy Spirit.” How encouraging!! Just accept the thoughts, don’t fight them. Grantley Morris at netburst.com will have the answers for you
Alot of what you have said is similar to what I’ve gone through. I am sorry you are experiencing this as well. Has it gotten any better since you posted this?
Not doing well, I feel like I’m not saved because I can’t hear God, I don’t get comfort from the Holy Spirit but the Bible says he comforts, teaches and encourages believers. So I then ask to be saved so he can do this for me but whenever I ask Christ to save me and try to trust him I feel like I’m producing the trust in my head and not my heart. I dont hear God or experienced comfort or anything the Holy Spirit is supposed to do which fuels my doubts about my salvation. When I sin, instead of me just confessing my sin and moving on and accepting God’s grace and forgiveness, I dwell on my sins and keep asking God to forgive me. I feel like a failure. Eim also going through other issues in my life so I’ll try to listen to sermons to help but I end up getting anxious again because they will mention to listen to God or to open the Bible and ask God to speak to your heart and he will but it’s like when I try to do that, nothing happens. I try to listen for Gods voice but I don’t hear him audibly or in my spirit. Jesus says his sheep hears his voice, but I can’t and I don’t hear , so doesn’t that mean I’m bit one of his sheep or children, which means I’m not saved? I feel like giving up and just wanting to get to the place where I accept that I don’t belong and im nit wanted. If I’m saved why can’t I hear God, why doesn’t the Holy Spirit comforts me. In my darkest moments, I never was comforted, that makes no sense if the Holy Spirit was in me, wouldn’t he comfort me?
Kendra I’ve been going through the doubts and scrupulosity and the major theme I saw in myself and your comments was a focus on self. You are relying on feelings and your ability to trust him rather than his finished work and his ability to be trusted. It’s not about what you’ve done or how well you are able to trust or hold on, it’s about what he’s done and his ability to keep you in his hand. When you focus on him instead of you and your flaws, the doubts will fade. Also Satan doesn’t debilitate his own with these thoughts. The reason you are feeling this way is because he wants you to be unproductive and not doing things for God’s kingdom.
Thank you Brittany. You are so right in what you said. I do focus a lot on myself and it’s hard to just rest In God for me. I struggle with the fact that I know a Christian should have the fruit of the Spirit, but I lack that. This makes me question if Im r born again. But even hearing the phrase “born again” , “child of God” or anything that identifies someone that’s saved can make me anxious. Hearing the gospel can make me anxious. I always feel like I must ask to be saved. I know the trust we exercise to be saved comes from Him, and I’ve struggled a lot to produce that trust and have questioned do I really believe that Christ died on the cross. It’s hard to imagine Jesus “God the Son” coming to Earth, living here and then dying and rising from the grave. Do you or anyone else ever have doubts about this? It’s strange because I want to know of God, I want a relationship with Him, and I believe he spoke to me on June 11 , 2018, but I have doubts still. Spiritual doubts about my salvation, circumstantial doubts of wobdering why God allows bad things in my life . I keep clinging to Him but it’s like those salvation doubts are always there, and it’s scary to ignore them and not give into the compulsion of asking to be saved. Please pray for me. I’ll keep you all in my prayes too
1) Your words and thoughts are almost mirror images of what is going on with me right now, so as others have said, you are not the only person who has these doubts/thoughts/experiences.
2) I can’t offer assurance or answers for your doubts, as I am wrestling with my own. I also wonder if, in order to grow in my faith I have to confront the OCD head on first. I even admitted to my husband part of me is scared/doesn’t want to be healed because what if me having these constant concerns, worries, and thoughts about God are a good thing.
3) One thing I am learning to do is confront my doubts head on. God is big enough to handle your doubts. I have read several books recently that are helping provide some clarity “. Most importantly, please look for the book “If I Really Believe, Why Do I Have These Doubts?” By Dr. Lynn Anderson. He is a pastor that has struggled with chronic doubting. Here are some others:
The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel (addresses some of the tougher aspects of our faith)
When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper (warning, this book can trigger salvation obsessions as well)
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (same warning as above)
Room For Doubt by Ben Young
Spend some time in the Psalms, which are full of words about doubt and even anger/impatience toward God. Psalms 13, 51, 103 and 107 have spoken to me trough my storms.
4)I would encourage you to try to look t your “story”. I was trying to share with my dad )not a Christian) why I know God is real and Jesus saves and, sad as it seems, all I can offer is if He wasn’t and didn’t provide me strength I believe I would be dead. I could not endure the mental anguish that torments me and resist suicidal thoughts (I am in therapy and no active plan, so nobody worries) on my own, I am just not that selfless.
Also, in spite of my increased anxiety and doubts I have somehow been enabled to be more calm and patient and present with my children than in the past, moving past the anxiety my thoughts and body feel (literally wake up everyday with a racing heart and sadness/anxiety) and responding more calmly. Not always, but much more than I would be possible of my own strength.
Kendra Kendra! God speaks to you through His word! Just the fact that you are worried about it tells me that He is drawing you! Don’t you see? I have gone through almost the same exact thing as you are talking about. With only a few differences. But the OCD is a huge part of it. I was also devastated by the thoughts that no matter what I did He had shut me out and I had sinned away the day of salvation. I went through hell on earth searching, crying out, not eating, not sleeping, pleading, reading…reading, searching scripture and scripture commentaries endlessly. Well you know what? It was well worth the pain Because what I found was that what I was doing was proof The Lord was drawing me to Himself. That’s right, the devil doesn’t want you to get through this. The Lord wants to show you who you are and Who He is for you and your desperate need for Him and how you must and are going to trust Him for your very life and eternity. I’m 57 years old now and have spent about 51 of those years feeling that God didn’t love me or want me. Whenever I did try to seek Him I became so frightened of the bad thoughts I would get, that I would stop and go back to the world defeated. So horrible. The sins I committed because I thought I didn’t matter. You are not going to hear an audible voice Kendra. I was looking for that too long ago because everyone would say God talked to them and I didn’t understand that. He will speak to you through His word. I know this now. You need to list to some good teachers online like John MacArthur and Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. He is with the Lord now but still you should listen to some of his teaching it is so amazing and also Adrian Rogers who is also with the Lord now but these godly men can teach you so much! Take advantage of these free resources all day in your home. forget television ! Seek the Lord while He may be found!Isaiah 55:6-7 You must get quiet with Him with your Abba Father and and ask Him “Lord, I want to understand. I want to know You but I know I don’t. Forgive my ignorance and please show me. Open my blind eyes, and unstop my ears so I may see and hear.” Listen to me, think of the story in Matthew 15:21-28 about the Canaanite woman who’s daughter had a demon. She wanted Jesus to heal her but He ignored her when she called out to him. At first He ignored her. And then He even sort of insulted her. But…Read it..The Faith of a Canaanite Woman
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
27 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment. I prayed this to my Lord…”Jesus, I am only a dog, I know this and not worthy for your attention at all. But I desire it. I want to know You, I need you. Even the little dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall off the children’s table Lord Jesus. Please even just a crumb of Your grace Lord and I will be saved. Save me!” I prayed several prayers like this over the days and weeks from my broken heart and kept seeking and knocking and asking and believing without even realizing I was believing as was shown by the fact that I kept on seeking. Unlike when I was younger and would give up. The word was speaking to me. And it is God’s voice. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star.” 17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let the one who hears say, “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come, and the one who desires the water of life drink freely.” Revelation 22:!6 and… “But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life.”Ezekiel 18:27 There are so many scriptures all over the bible you have to search and find them. He is calling you to repentance and faith and He is the one Who gives it also. You think it is just you seeking and begging but He is causing you to want to know HIm. Be encouraged! Jesus is stronger than Satan! This suffering is going to bring you to a strong true faith if you don’t give up! I always felt shut out too but now for the first time in my life I feel like I’m on the inside and He did it. He made me not care about all the stupid things I used to think I had to have and He made me want to serve Him!! That is supernatural! That is the Holy Spirit showing my spirit that I am His! Now I must walk it out. And I shall with His help. The thought come and go still but they do not have the power that they had because I know He is with me and is going to completely deliver me. Now I just brush it off and say “Nope, I don’t believe that and Jesus is my Lord and my King so be gone Satan, Jesus has saved me and I am His!!” I will be praying for you. If you want to contact me I will keep looking on here to see and I will give you my contact info if you want it. Jesus wants you in His family! God bless you sister!
thank you Kelli Blaser and so many of youall for your help and encouragement. Kelli, i love the story of the Canaanite woman. its just really touching for me that it seemed like she was being rejected but she persisted and went after Jesus. alot of times i feel like God isnt listening to me but i know its not true, he can be tsting me and wanting me to have faith beyond my feelings. it is hard, but thank you for listing the preeachers. I have listened to Chuck Smith so far. Thank youso much Kelli Blaser and so many of you who commented. i pray that in 2019, we will have peace of mind, that we will grow in our faith, and not wrestle against the obsessions but just let them past. i have not been doing well at this lately, i have been responding to them which gives them more power. i truly pray that we all find relief, ocd is very difficult because it finds so many reasons to support why something is wrong with us, it isolates is, and it prevents us from knowing God’s grace, mercy and love toward us.I wish i knew why God permits it. i will be praying for you all.
Kendra, we have the same situation, all that you said word for word is like mine
Hello. I know that this is about a year old but I read your post and I just need to say a couple things. I’m sorry that you are struggling. I know what it’s like to struggle with intrusive thoughts and doubts.
I wanted to message you because there’s just a couple things that you mentioned in your message that we’re not correct and if you understand these things correctly they may greatly help.
First of all you said that you are doubtful because you aren’t hearing an audible voice or a voice in your spirit. But the way that God talks to us is through his word. The parable that Jesus is telling in John 10 about his sheep hear him and follow him is not talking about an audible voice. Remember it’s a parable of a picture to make known a certain point.
What Jesus is saying in this passage is that those who know that he is the Christ will follow him. As opposed to those who do not believe who he was.
Also the Holy Spirit comforts us with scripture. With God’s promises. we need to take him at his word.
Now as I say this I’m speaking to myself as well because I also I’m struggling with intrusive thoughts and I struggle in many ways. We are to trust in his word.
How much do you study the word? Do you preach the gospel to yourself?
Preach the word to yourself. Look to the finished work of the cross. Jesus has paid it all we are not saved by perfect faith or perfect repentance but by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Even the faith we have is a gift from God.
Jesus came to save sinners. He is glorified in savings us. He finished it on the cross.
Let’s look to the author and finisher of our faith.
Learn how to put on the whole armor of God.
I have a few scriptures for you.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord . “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NKJV
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
II Corinthians 10:4-5 NKJV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39 NKJV
I struggle many many days. I’m on a lot of pills that really screwed me up and the tapering process is horrendous. I get lost in my feelings and thoughts but what the Bible says is to trust in God’s word not feelings, or looping thoughts. It tells us to stand fast on the gospel and to take up the whole armor of God and fight the good fight of faith.
May God bless you and keep you.
Look to His word. Believe Jesus finished work on the cross.
We have the same problem
hi Noemi, im sorry you are going through this. going to a christian counselor has helped to get the thoughts out of my head and to talk about them and help them lose their power. also knowing that God is merciful and im his daughter no matter how i feel has helped me too.
Hi Noemi I’m sorry it’s been a while since I’ve been on the site.do you want to talk through email?
This sounds like me. I’ve struggled with OCD my whole life. My earliest memories are of vomiting after church or because I had a bad thought. As an adult it’s still all off the same the same stuff but now confession and witnessing obsessions. It may be a sermon or just hearing a story and I’m terrified that if I’m not this big evangelist that God is disappointed in me and that bad things in my life will happen to my family and others. I live in a place of torment darkness fear dread and guilt because I’m not running around telling people about Jesus in my small southern town that is. It’s tormenting and heavy and I’m so very tired.
Wow! I am so blessed to have come across this article/blog/comments. I have recently been diagnosed with OCD. I am 35 & accepted salvation when I was 31. I have struggled with severe health (not germ, but serious health issue) anxiety since I was a teenager. I covered up with alcohol/drugs through most of my 20’s, but once I came to Jesus, I stopped. It’s been a battle to say the least. I got married in 2015. I struggle severely with the health anxiety still & doubting salvation. I deal with guilt & shame b/c I feel my husband deserves better than a wife in ministry who struggles in these ways, as I feel a “true” Christian should just not have these issues. Coming to this blog has helped me realize I am not alone & that the OCD/issues of faith can certainly coincide & that there is hope. I am filled with a sense of hope that God wills for ALL to come to repentance. I am & always have been fearful of what God may use to strengthen my faith, like a disease or tragedy. I assume this is part of my OCD/anxiety. I have trouble handing it over to God, so I just kind of end up staying in the same place. I know my thoughts are probably scattered, but I am very encouraged to see that I am not alone. I appreciate everyones comments on this board & I just want to encourage you to keep in the good fight of faith! God is faithful! This is my prayer for us all: “I pray that our of your glorious riches that you may strengthen us with power through your Spirit in our inner beings, so that you may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that we may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep your love is, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Amen! (Ephesians 3:16-19)
Side note-Can you please let me know what books/resources you have on this issue?
I have struggled with ocd and depression my entire life. GOD saved me when i was 6 years old. Ever since then i have doubted my salvation and still do till this day and i am now 25. I believe our doubts arise mainly when we focus on our involvement in the salvation process. For example did i repent correctly, did i believe God, did i really trust Jesus, was i sorry enough for my sins. Fear and anxiety plague our minds hearts and souls and it seems as if there is no hope. But God is not slack concerning His promises. His word tells us that Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. No ifs ands or buts about it. Salvation is a gift that we can neither earn or work up it is entirely a work of God in our hearts that we cant produce. What can a dead man do to make himself alive? When God gives you the supernatural gift of faith to trust in the sacrifice Jesus made to save your soul you are saved for all eternity no matter what you think or feel. Gods word is truth and supercedes everything we think or feel. Trust in the finished work of Christ there is nothing else we can do. Ive met many people who have gone through this and the only hope or peace we can find is in Christ. Whether you feel like it or not trust Him. There is hope you can and will make it. Ive made it 19 years through the deepest darkest valleys only by the grace of God. But on the medical side of things there are medications that can really help you. My mother went through a terrible ordeal of doubting her salvation for a long time. And her medical condition made it difficult to believe and trust God but after 6 months on antidepressants she overcame her doubts and fears and now is a great Christian full of the faith of God and helps me make it through every day. I want to encourage you all struggling with this to simply take God at His word faith and salvation are a gift that we simply accept. God will do what He said. Lastly lets all pray for one another because this disease of ocd, anxiety, and depression can make life miserable and remember the story of Job how after he prayed for his friends the Lord restored unto him everything. Love and prayers to all those afflicted with this disease.
Great blog and thanks to all for sharing from the heart! This is encouraging (and heartbreaking) to me as I have struggled with salvation doubts for decades, in spite of trusting Christ for salvation so many times! My latest struggle is with Romans 8:16 … the witness of the Holy Spirit with (or to?) our spirit that we are children of God. Sooo many interpretations of this short verse, and though I’m sure God doesn’t want me to get hung up on understanding what this “witness” means, but instead desires I keep trusting Him, leaning into Him like a child leans into his father’s (or mother’s) embrace, instead I keep wanting to pick at this question, “Have I ever experienced this ‘witness’?” Has anyone struggled with this verse? I’m sure my OCD nature fuels this analysis, but still, it’s hard to let go. I go back and forth, some days able to let it go out of exhaustion, and other days I obsess. Again, thanks everyone for sharing. It seems we are a small bunch in the Church, because few talk about these things. But, I am convinced that given our Heavenly Father’s longing for us, He runs to us the moment we cry out to Him … and we are ALL crying out to Him on this blog! Read the Prodigal Son parable for encouragement. Peace to all.
The witness of the spirit is what I’m struggling with too. Also the fact that I cannot hear God’s voice concerns me, because Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and he knows them. But I don’t hear from him at all. No matter how much I asked to be saved the doubt never goes away. Does God know what I’m going through, does he even care?
I am with you, I understand.
I have always understood the phrase “hear his voice” to refer not to an audible voice, but more to what we ‘hear’ when we read Scripture. In other words, if we want to ‘hear’ Jesus voice, we need to read the Bible. When people say, “That book or that painting really spoke to me,” they mean it left an impression on them, not that there was an audible voice.
If you are trusting in Jesus to save you, and not your own works or ‘goodness’ then you are His! He’s got you. Gaze on Jesus, enjoy Him, run to Him, fall on Him, let Him embrace your heart and your pain and fear. Rest in the knowledge that however much you desire Him, He desires you so much more!
What helps me is to meditate on the parable of the prodigal son in Luke. It is a beautiful story of God’s love for us, and how He runs to us.
You are not alone! We all can relate, but more importantly, Jesus is with you. Rest on this even if you don’t feel this is true.
I’m sitting here reading this in tears because I am again having an attack of DOUBT concerning my salvation. I’ve never had a clue that I might have OCD until stumbling onto this forum this morning in another desperate attempt to find something that will give me peace somehow. My doubts, I think, come from thinking that I somehow could ha e messed up my salvation. That I wasn’t really sincere, haven’t really changed, didn’t really believe, and will one day find out I was WRONG and deceived my whole life. Then it will be too late. I totally believe God will donwhat he promises and forgive and save anyone else that calls on him. I have a hard time believing he will do the same for me. I constantly compare myself to other confident Christians, and feel inadequate. I am plagued by thoughts that “they” have found the real thing while I am deceiving myself. I’ve never found anyone else that doubts their salvation. I’m surrounded by people that seem very confident, had a real experience of relief, and can remember every detail about the day they were saved. They seem to still have that relief and peace about it. Polar opposite of what I have. I can’t remember ever feeling a huge relief on any of the NUMEROUS times I have cried out and begged for forgiveness. Im always left with doubts. And fear. I also feel hopeless. Like God is deliberately holding salvation from me. For some reason. And the more I read to try to ease my mind, the worse it gets. I’m now even worrying I could be one of the people that are not predestined to be saved. If that’s even true. I don’t know. Why does it seem so easy and sure for most other people? It has crippled my growth. I avoid church because I feel so uncomfortable and like an outsider. If I’m honest, it even makes me resent my family members that seem so confident. I want what they have. I have no idea why I can’t find peace. Or what I should do. I have had thoughts that maybe this is just something I have to live with and if I can can keep going trying to believe when I’m scared to death the whole way, God will see my struggle and reward me one day. I try so hard to believe. I think I have anxiety problems but never thought I had any OCD tendencies, but I must. Any advice would be appreciated. And everyone please pray for me.
Thanks for sharing. Your struggle with doubts about your salvation sounds like what many of us on this blog are saying, so hopefully you will find some encouragement in the fact that you are definitely not alone. There may be slight variations on the size and shape of each doubt, but the end result is the same … each sucks the peace and joy right out of our souls. Hopefully you’ll also find some encouragement in knowing that the fact you (we) struggle with these doubts is evidence that you are His child. I would encourage you first of all to keep pouring out your heart and pain to God, as your loving, heavenly Father, “because He cares for you,” as we read in 1 Peter 5:7. Never stop pouring out your heart to God! NEVER! The first thing Satan wants to do is make us FEEL alienated from our Father, and so the more he can get us to focus on ourselves, by us measuring our faith, comparing our degree of trust with that of others, etc., the more he wins. Why? Because in doing so, we get distracted by the raging internal debate and our gaze quickly slips away from our loving Father’s face and turns back on ourselves. It is a painful irony indeed because what everyone on this blog desires most, hungers and thirsts for deeply, is our Father’s embrace, and yet in our futile attempt to find that peace with our Father we end up pulling ourselves away from Him and losing what little peace we have to begin with. If our Father’s peace wasn’t our desire, we would stop worrying about it all together and move on with our lives, as happens with many who have never turned to Christ in the first place. In addition to always pouring out your heart to God by taking time daily to be still, enjoy the beauty of His creation, whisper your desire for Him, as would a child, I’d encourage you to seek Christian counseling. What you described are classic OCD thought patterns and behaviors, and just like we go to a doctor when our body is in pain, a Christian counselor, psychologist and/or psychiatrist can help recognize what is likely at its source a physiological condition (i.e. in the brain). Additionally, what I have found helpful in keeping my gaze on my Father is reading biographies of other believers … Martin Luther, John Bunyan, William Cowper, to name a few. Another book that helps restore my peace with my Father is Henri Nouwen’s book “The Return of the Prodigal Son.” But above all, know that your Father loves you more than you will ever know this side of eternity. He longs for you, and wants to embrace your hurting heart, and give you rest and even joy. Just like the father in the parable of the prodigal son ran out and embraced his son while he was still far from the house, and did not let his son finish his prepared speech before kicking off the homecoming party, so it is with our heavenly Father. He wants us to be with Him, to enjoy Him, as He enjoys us, not unlike the way a loving parent enjoys their child for WHO they are and not what they have done or ever could do.
Hold us Jesus!
I feel just like you. I also know that we just need to trust Christ finished work but then when I try to trust, I close my eyes and try to do that, but then it’s like I’m trusting with my head and the Bible says to believe with my heart but I try and I can’t get it in my heart ke even get how to do that. I have to say a prayer for God to please come get me and show me that I am a sinner that needs to be saved that is deserving of hell and we’ll go to hell and to give me a saving faith and help me to believe with my heart. It’s like if I don’t say those keywords I feel like the prayer is not enough and it’s not genuine enough. It makes me feel crazy and it makes me feel like God is annoyed with me and does not enjoy having a relationship with me. Some days I feel like I belong to God but there is always that doubt and then there’s other days where I get upset with myself because I keep failing to do what is right like with not getting impatient with people saying kind things not listening to drama on social media that is meaningless and there’s just so many things that I can’t get right. Then when I send and I ask for forgiveness it’s like no matter how much I asked for God to forgive me I can’t let go of what I did wrong. I just feel paralyzed spiritually like I can never get past this like I’ve never known God. What triggered me recently is that I heard a sermon about how the Holy Spirit Comforts us. The pastor was saying that he remembers a time where he was on his face crying and praying and God brought a scripture to his heart to encourage him. Then the pastor talked about having the inner witness of the Holy Spirit which I never had. The Holy Spirit has never bear witness with my spirit that I’m saved. Also the fact that I cannot hear God’s voice concerns me. Jesus said that his sheep hear his voice and he knows them. I feel like God does not want me. I feel like God is unmerciful. I’ve gone through so much all of this pain all of these doubts has caused me to lash out and be angry and break things and of course my family that is not saved had no idea what I was going through. And I had no way to tell them because they would never understand it if they’re not saved. I feel so alone and I wonder if God even cares. When is enough going to be enough? Just God see everything that I’m up against? I went to school to get a degree and I cannot find a job? I have no health insurance to get treatment for OCD? I’m single and I feel like I’m too messed up to ever be loved by anybody there are so many obstacles in my way. My relationship with my father is broken he chose to do drugs over . he had the nerve to tell me that I need to let it go. Sometimes I wonder what Am I Living For. Why should I even get up every morning? My whole family has failed . they don’t understand me. It would be different if I can actually reach God and that if he could come and talk to me but he can’t. So what am I Living For? I’ve cried out many years so many days and nothing has changed. I thought that I was getting better once I started counseling but I see that the OCD is not going to leave. And now that I’m trying to get medication there’s an obstacle in that. You call doctors offices explaining 2 them that you don’t have enough income, and they get on the phone with attitudes as if they’re the only person that’s facing something in life. I wonder why that got even make me if this was supposed to be my life. Why am I even here?
Kendra, It sounds like you are compulsively trying to trust in God. Sometimes, God must teach us the lesson that faith comes from him and not from ourselves. This is an extremely difficult lesson! Yet, in the last analysis God is the only giver of faith, and he insists on being recognized as such. Therefore, sometimes we are faced with the extraordinarily difficult task of waiting in uncertainty for God to give us the faith that we desire. At that time, we must keep hoping, but we also must simply patiently wait in uncertainty and fear.Some of the recent blogs have dealt with this. Hang in there!
Thank you for your comment. I thank you all for showing me I’m not alone in this. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far through all of the darkness. Though I don’t want ocd, I’m glad that there is nothing spiritually wrong that’s causing me to doubt my salvation, but it’s hard to remind myself, because I’m scared that what if blamed OCD for my doubts but I was really unsaved all along
As I sit here reading all of these testimonies of doubt, I battle my own. I’ve battled OCD for a while now and only recently has it changed course to my faith. It’s almost funny how ironic this condition is. We doubt our faith so we try to prove it, which is not faith. Carrying our cross that we have been given and denying ourselves to worry and prove it are difficult, but they are the exact faith Christ gives and requires of us. Fearing that we are unsaved is a very good sign that we are as saved as one can be. Let us stand firm and know that even if we can’t make sense of the current situation, Christ is God and Lord of all. Including our wayward minds. We are in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death, but He is with us. Hang in there family.
Wow, I just came across this thread as I was looking up if anyone else was battling what I have for so long. It is refreshing to know that we are not alone. I was diagnosed with OCD when I was 8 , I’m now 30. It’s been a battle my whole life and only in the past years has it attacked my faith. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is wonderful but as the admin on here expressed, very hard to do.
I believe OCD and intrusive thoughts attack the things we are actually passionate and care about the most. Because if we were not bothered by our thoughts then that would show we don’t really care. As much as OCD and intrusive thoughts it can be, I believe and know it is also spiritual warfare in the unseen. The enemy is after us and he wants us to also think that we are fighting against flesh and blood but in fact are strongholds and evil spirits in the unseen realm. We would not be attacked if we were not a threat to Satan.
Someone above asked if its common to have a view of God as judgemental and harsh. That has been my struggle with my thoughts. I constantly hear that I think God is prideful and that I’m not truly saved and I want to go to hell and for darkness to win in the end. The feeling and anxiety that I get when that thought comes literally torments me. I go int compulsions asking God to heal that and make me His child over and over again but yet The Holy Spirit in me knows I am saved. He is the whisper in usbwhen all else is screaming. I heard a sermon last week called the war of words and the pastor was talking about how the enemy can be so deceitful that he will actually try to make our thoughts feel like they are us. And I think that’s where the anxiety comes in. We think what we are dealing with is the true us. And then in attempts to change that, and make it so we can “feel” its not really us, we end up causing more anxiety. The cycle of ocd is a ride but exposure and laying it at God’s feet is our best hope. I think feel God will abandon us if we really let go and allow ourselves to not carry this weight anymore. Like we need to prove something. But I think it’s when we actually let go and live in the possibility that our thoughts may be true and us, that God comes through and shows us they aren’t.
It is a blessing to hear and read all of your stories. One book that has helped me tremendously in the past is “He Loves Me” By Wayne Jacobsen. God assured me of His love and that He is the one that ultimately carries us. Not our abilities to try and hang on.
Bless you guys, we are in this journey together
Good morning all,
I just came across this blog as I was casting about for some answers. I don’t know why I haven’t Googled this before now but I’m sure glad I have. Just this week I met with my pastor and told him about my decades long battle with doubting my salvation and he referred me to a Christian Counselor. She told him that his call about me was her second call this week about this problem. He asked me some questions about my past in terms of exposure to “legalism” and such works-based belief systems. I’m sure he (and the counselor) are both thinking OCD is part of the problem and that it got triggered in my teen years. In fact, I have a memory of something that may indeed have been the trigger.
At any rate, I can relate to everything I’m reading in this blog and it blows me away – and gives me some hope, too. I hate that others struggle with this awful doubt, fear and anxiety. At the same time, it makes me feel a tad better to know I’m not alone.
I have no answers yet. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on. I’ve talked to pastors and others – to no avail. I have prayed for salvation hundreds of times. I have walked away from my faith a few times — the pain just gets too much and I get tired of thinking about it. Of course, these “wanderings” lead to sinful actions which in turn make it even harder to believe you are saved. And round and round you go!
And yet, I do believe God’s Word is living and true and that his promises apply to us all. I have, at times, felt His presence and seen His hand in my life. Of course, I end up doubting that this was “real” later on but the experiences help me cling to the hope that I’m His. Yet my great fear is that I will go to my deathbed in this doubting and fearful state. How awful that prospect is!
I will continue to check in with you folks — I pray the we will all continue to cling to the hope of God’s peace and that He will grant us the faith we need for assurance someday.
God bless you all — we are truly in this journey together and there is help in that. I will keep you posted on my therapy. The notion of OCD has not occurred to me but I have often thought that I might have those tendencies . That is certainly something I’ll explore with my new counselor!
I am concerned about using this sight because it is not secure as shown at the top left of this page. I hope you change that so I can keep coming back? https://www.digicert.com/blog/not-secure-warning-what-to-do/
I don’t see that. Where is it? Anyone else concerned about this? If I can find it, I’ll look into it.
That is my problem too. God has many promises and the thing that I cant claim one of that promises is that I am not sure if I really trusted Jesus as my savior which is the only foundation of all. It seems like when Im trying to fight the thoughts in my head, I’m just the one who is fighting and I don’t have the Holy spirit to comfort me. I want to trust in Jesus but I dont know how to do that and there are so many problems in my life that i cant see myself bearing the fruit of the spirit. I dont have the conviction to share the gospel to other people because im thinking that i cant share things I dont really have and its so very hard. Have anxiety and tension headaches, chest pain, back pain that never leaves 24 hours, loss of sleep
God is not hard on us like we are on ourselves. It is you anxious mind attacking you. if you were not saved these things would not botheryou. im praying for you
Thank u kendra i appreciatw that you reply, plus there is a sin that i’ve comitted that i cant confess to any people it bothers me so much like im keeping a secret and i cant reach God because He’s telling me to tell it i dont obey Him. How about that?
is God really telling you to tell others about the sin you committed? or is your mind telling you that? i believe that God would only tell you to share an area of struggle with someone you can trust and who can actually help you and hold you accountable.i dont think he would tell you to confess it just to do it. we confess our sins to God. and when you do that you are not keeping a secret, because God knows everything.
Noemi, im praying for you. One thing thathelped is going to a christian counselor and voiicing your anxieties and getting them out of your head. the torment of these doubts circulating in the mind gives them power, but voicing them and having them challenged by a counselor is helpful,they can do cognitive behavioral therapy. have you been diagnosed with OCD? cognitive behavioral therpay and medication treat OCD successfully. as for your relationship with God, God is not hard on us like we are on ourselves. it is our anxious mind and need to have control that does all of this questioning and self examination. Faith in God is a gift from God, just be honest and tell God exactly what you have written in the comments. God is faithful, bigger than Obsessions and compulsons and he knows why you think the way you do, he sees your sincere desire to be saved and he has not held that back from you.
Can I be sure that I am saved if I have doubts. And i cant feel God’s presence within me. And i compare to my churchmates that they are certain of their salvation and they have a promises of God to be kept. And its not like me. Its hard for me to be certain for any other aspects of my life if the most important thing in my life im not certain. Very anxious
just because you have doubts does not mean you are saved. there are people who on the opposite spectrum are certain they are saved and they are not. God understands your doubts and if you know that you have asked Christ to save you and all you have to do is tell him, you want to trust Him for salvation but your mind makes you keep questioning if you really trusted him, God is understanding to that. I dont feel God’s presence either and that doesnt make you unsaved. Feeling God’s presence can be made into anything by anybody. God tests our faith and makes it stronger by not letting us have signs and wonders and feelings because true faithis trusting God when there is no evidence. I thought that God would never speak to me until one day he did, and i was not expecting it at all. but you would think that after that happened i would not doubt anymore but that is not the truth. i still question if im saved for various reasons. but i believe true faith is taking God at his Word, and holding on even when there seems no reason to. even today i wanted to give up, but i keep going. i believe a site called netburst.net will also be helpful in addition to this one. it is by Grantley Morris and if you search his site for the topic of scrupulosity you will find helpful info on how to deal with these salvation doubts. i know how you feel that if you question your salvation how can you be sure of other things like, is God really with you etc, but that is what makes this form of ocd so powerful because you question something that is the most imp0ortant to you and that is why i feel that you have this particular obsession, because your salvation is so important to you, which is a sign you are saved. unsaved people are not worried about their salvation and some of them actually think that they are saved and dont think twice about it. i know people like this.
i meant to say just because you have doubts does not mean you are NOT saved
Its just like you dont know specifically what is the will of God in your life. You are lost.
im currently trying to figure out God’s will to, God knows that you dont know is His will for your life, and that you want to know. Just pray and ask for his guidance. He says in Psalm 32:8 i will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, i will counsel you with my loving eye upon you.
Thank you kendra for the encouragement. Thanks for your prayer. I will pray for you too by God’s grace
I have struggled with cod for most of my life. It helps me to know others struggle as well. John Bunyan’ s book is a good help. Grace Abounding for sinners.
I have struggled with OCD since I can remember. My father had OCD, and my mother suffered periodic bouts with severe depression. My oldest brother has severe OCD, and my other two siblings have moderate on going depression. The genetic factor is pretty obvious. My first debilitating episode with OCD was when I was 24 and pregnant with my second child. When she was 3 months old, I was hospitalized. This was 1968. Mental illness was a disgrace and anyone who suffered was simply labeled crazy.
Having been raised in a legalistic church which did not teach eternal security, my problem centered around sin, going to hell, God being mad, etc. There was also a jealousy component. I accused my husband of all sorts of unfaithfulness. He’s a hero. We will be married 57 years in June.
In August of 1969, after over a year of figure God out, I was exhausted. I said, “God, I don’t know you, and I can’t find you, but I am going to sit down right here (spiritually speaking) and let you find me.” I believed that Jesus died and rose again, but I had never connected on a personal level. One week after I sat down, the gospel was explained to me. The word “saved” in John 3:17 flashed in my mind like a neon sign. I asked Him to save me. No flash of light, not even a deep sense of relief. I told my husband what I wanted to do and I spoke these words. “It’s so good to know I don’t have to worry about it.” The relief and joy came. Still, I couldn’t figure it all out. I went to the front of the church and the preachers during a revival. Nothing. The preachers cafe to the house and explained some more and prayed for me. Again, I said, “Save me.” And, this sweet quiet thought (voice) floated into my consciousness: “I already did.” I told the preachers that “He already did.” and they were so relieved. They were about at their wit’s end. I was baptized and joined the Southern Baptist Church with my husband. And I lived happily ever after, right? No-o-o! The focus then became, among other things, was I really saved? Had I prayed right, or did I believe right, did I repent enough? You see the picture. I would go for periods of time when it didn’t cripple me, and then I would hear something that some preacher said or other triggers, and I was off and gone again. I was hospitalized again in 1991. At that timeIi started taking Anafranil and it was very effective. However, after a couple of years, feeling I could cope and disliking the side effects, I got off all medication. I broke again in 2001. At that time I began taking Zoloft and Clonazapam and was pretty OK until a couple of years ago when my pastor started riding a hobby horse about lost church members. He actually said, “If you doubt, you are probably not saved.” A few weeks later he talked about how worldly it was to take pills and talk to “gurus” and that the answer was to “get in the word and trust the Lord.” I have not been back.
However, there is good news. I heard a sermon on TV bu a Southern Baptist pastor about God’s covenant with Abraham. He told the meaning of Abraham’s vision of God ratifying His unilateral covenant with him. These words lit up my heart and mind: “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness.” I began to meditate on that. I could go days without doubts. Then I’d hear some comment and go crashing again. Finally, I said, “OK, Jesus, saved or lost I’m just going to lean on you.” I’m pretty sure I heard him lovingly laugh at me.” I giggled, too, You can’t lean on Jesus and be lost, right? Right! I have had a couple of “regressions” recently, but I can turn it away by remembering that I am right with God through a faith like Abraham’s wherein he nor I did one thing to obtain it. And, if I didn’t do it, I can’t undo it. It’s all His business. I am being still. I have peace and assurance. I was so glad to read here that “doing nothing about it” is the solution. I so appreciate knowing I am not alone. I don’t know if my OCD is
healed. But, I don’t have to know. I have learned how to turn the doubts away by His mercies which are new every morning. I have everything I need. Thanks for hearing my story.
I don’t want to be deceived that I am saved and I started questioning my salvation in bible school. This brought on anxiety and fear. Then I learned about the doctrine of election and it seems to have changed my view on God. It came to thinking F God, F Jesus, F the gospel, and horrible things about people. Condemning them to hell, and having thoughts of hell or me in hell. Seeing weird sexual thoughts, or thoughts of Jesus sexually or thoughts that said are they elect? And it led to worse and worse thoughts and now I can’t read my bible without thinking F God, Jesus or any Christian thing. Don’t seem to have control over it. I don’t think I am saved but do you think it is OCD or I just need to get right with Jesus or both?
Chance, I struggle with election too. I am having to wrestle with God and a biblical counselor about it. I can’t tell you if this is OCD but it may well be. Please get help, talk to someone in person if you can. If you are genuinely mad at God about election you need to talk to him about it. This sounds more like fear of your own badness, which I think is OCD.
I have struggled with these doubts since I prayed to be saved at 13. Actually I prayed the first time at 7 but I couldn’t remember it except being Baptized so I did again at 13 and was baptized. I’ve prayed several times since then. I actually seem to have less anxiety about being saved when I’m not going to church regularly. It seems to trigger it. I’m trying to work through it. From your feedback does this mean I’m not saved now and God is still working it out through me? I’ve felt and seen God work in my life I believe. But I get obsessed with these thoughts and of death and those I love dying and then me also going to Hell because I was never able to accept and trust.
Chance, as far as uncontrollable blasphemous thoughts go, Grantley Morris has some encouraging things to say about that. Google “grantley morris scrupulosity.”
Chance, Kathy and everybody: I have the OCD and doubt of salvation problem, too. I have been seeking salvation full time for over ten years. I give my life to Christ, supposedly: all day, every day. Sometimes, like just now, I get to where I say to Jesus, “On Your promises, I stand.”
The election thing has bothered me, too. What I’ve learned is, don’t worry about election. Election and free will are both sides of the same supernatural coin. We can’t figure it out, any more that we can figure out the Trinity. The advice I’ve read is to forget the election side of the coin and concentrate on the free will side of the coin. On the free will side, God says, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” He also says that He is willing that no one perish, but that ALL come to repentance. He says, whoever believes on Christ (that is, repents of their sin and turn their life over to Him) will NOT PERISH, BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.
Now, I have a theory about election. I propose that, in eternity to the past, God had a sort of “conversation” with each person He was going to create, and each individual accepted or rejected God back then: before they were ever created! But don’t fret too much: if you’re concerned about salvation, keep seeking and you will find. After you’ve been saved, you can figure that in that eternity-past “conversation,” you accepted Christ.
Hi everyone. I’m so glad I found this page. I have also been diagnosed with scrupulosity. I never heard of it before and I realize now that this ocd has been in my life for a long time. I got saved at a young age and grew up in Church and really believed. I remember waking up in the middle of night when I was younger with the paralyzing fear of being left behind. I was able to push it back but it keeps popping up off and on my whole life. The past 3 months have been the most difficult. With all the end time prophecies coming true and Jesus returning soon, it paralyzes me to my core. Every day I’m constantly asking the Lord for salvation and I know that you only have to ask once, which I believe I did as a child. I constantly doubt because right out of high school, I left Church, got addicted to drugs, alcohol and porn. I am now sober from all that. I believe God pulled me out of that lifestyle. My mind goes to, Did God pull me out or do I just stop because I want to righteous by my own merit. I have so many intrusive thoughts, such as, it’s not my fault I was horn, it’s not my fault that God allowed forbus to be born into a sinful nature, why should i have to ask for forgiveness, and the simple answer is because He wanted us to have a free will, but then it seems so extremely hard to understand faith now. Like another writer wrote, I keep viewing God as a dark, ominous, being whi just wants His wrath on me and judge, i cant seem to view Him as the Loving Father He is. So when I pray, that’s how I keep viwing Him and it scares me to death. I hear pastors say, you arent truly saved if you willfully choose to sin habitually like I have, but I turned from that lifestyle but now I’m constantly doubting was I really saved or just professing to be. I dont have a desire to go out and sin anymore, I want Gods peace and love. I keep holding on to the fact like others are saying, that its proof of my salvation that I care so much about being right with God and I’m trying my best to seek Him. I got back in the Church 5 years ago and I’ve been serving ever since. It’s so easy for people to say, just trust in Christ and His finish work. That’s my desire but my mknd just cant seem to understand that. I have anxiety and depression now and it just feeds my ocd and intrusive thoughts. I believe I have felt His whisper in my heart several times in my life and that I have faith but I question every thought I have. Has God giving me eyes that can bot see and ears that can not hear, am I not capable to understand again. The first commandment is the love God with all your heart, mind and soul but how can I do that with my mind the way it is, so I feel like I dont love Him, but then I have to remember my thoughts dont define me. It’s a vicious cycle. I’m so glad I’m in Christian counseling now and seeing a physiatrist. Plus on medication but I just my heart back in the right place with God. That’s my desire. It’s so hard to live with these thoughts every second of every day. I have to get reminding myself that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
Hey Randy, hope you get to read this!
I’m just coming to terms with some of my OCD and some damage that causes… I’ve learned a few along the road that have been greatly helpful.
First, we always come to Christ in our brokenness; not the absence of it. In our broken state, we learn to love and adore Christ; only when we begin to ignore our own creaturely realities do we begin shortcutting authentic relationship with God. If helps you think, we aren’t simply trying “stack-the-cards” of our lives just right and then we are right before God, rather we come to God with our deck of cards messy and strewn.
Second, our grounds for election (being Christian) are always and ever by looking to Jesus; not through endless self-introspection. We are only Christian because Jesus was the Holy One of God, when we look to ourselves for validation, we can never find it. We can never come to a point by navel-gazing and say, “ahh, that’s the final conclusion! I finally know I’m saved because… whatever box has been checked…” Rather, we look to Jesus and breathe out, “Thank God that you are the Holy One of God. On my own I could never do this, but through your love you include me”. So, we look outward and not inward only.
Thirdly, many times emotional issues skew up right belief. We don’t often believe because we don’t realize the great measure of God’s love. Most of us are like Will from Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams Character has to tell him “it’s not his fault” enough times till he receives that on a heart level. Search it if haven’t seen it, I think it’ll make sense. Though, coming to terms with the emotional things, I found the most helpful thing to ask what is God’s motivation for me, His child? Is of condemnation and hatred like an abusive family member, or compassionate delight and love. We have to change the script we tell ourselves because often we don’t realized it’s playing through our mind (and it’s kinda hard to trust someone you don’t think really loves you).
Hope you can have some relief!
Like I said, these are simply things that I have learned, mostly from the difficult way lol.
But do remember the nature of ocd and anxiety wants you to know immediately and really hates grey areas. I would have thoughts like “what if I am…” and fill the blank of any nebulas type person. I would base one slip up or thought and project that on future, while ignoring the reality that vices and virtues or more like plants in that they grow and develop over time. They aren’t instantaneous. You choose what type of person you are becoming and what direction you are heading. So much of anxiety/ocd is visualizing future life and events by current circumstances–i.e, I sinned this way, so now I’m desperate because I can only ever see myself this way going forward. That simply isn’t true. Christ has done a redeeming work and the only basis we have for the future rest upon His truth. Like one wedding vow I heard, “by faith, we will remain faithful”. By faith, we don’t project our current fears and anxiety onto tomorrow, but walk into the truth and light of Jesus…
If you are choosing God, you are His. That was the miracle that Jesus brought, that we would call upon Him. I got so consumed by trying to understand the grounds of my salvation, looking to past to figure out my “state-of-mind”, feeling, (whatever you want to call the ocd itch haha) etc. to understand my faith before realizing that my faith is actually what (or who, actually) I choose to believe now and for the present. I believe God now, not because I can replicate some past experience of it. It’s tempting to find security from validation of previous experience as a believer, but that’s not how faith works. Walk by faith not sight (2 Cor. 5:7) and sometimes it’s alright to simply alright to say, “yes, I’m a Christian. I believe God. The Bible is right, etc.” and go on your day doing whatever you do. OCD is destructive, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. It produces a radical loss of trust in oneself. But once you start to make decisions, even when they seem arbitrary (do I eat here or there, do I wear this or that?), you begin to develop self-confidence. When you begin building this confidence, you begin to understand faith as choosing to believe what God has spoken is truth. My faith isn’t because I can perform any number of compulsions, but because what He has spoken (and done by Jesus) is true. Take heart, Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33). And He has done everything to touch and redeem your humanity. Don’t project inward introspection that produce fears and anxiety, but find peace in looking to Christ as the only One who can inform our past, present and future. Only He speaks the true and sure word of God, even beyond the throes of ocd.
Alex, thank you alot. Its definitely a struggle and I beat myself up every second because everything you said, I know. It’s like I cant distinguish what I know to be true and apply it to my heart. I want to so bad. it’s haunts me all the time. I want to be back in right fellowship with Jesus. I’ve turned from my sinful lifestyle I was in and now it’s my mind that’s the true battlefield. I read certain Bible verses like the last 4 versus of matthew 24 and I apply it to me and it just makes me doubt more. See my attitude back then was, the rapture wont happen for awhile, I’m already saved so I want to live in the world for awhile. But as you see in Matthew 24 Jesus said those people will be in hell, that maybe they werent really saved. I know and believe that you can never loose your salvation but my mind goes to did I genuinely get saved. At a young age, j really didnt have a life to repent of (do you know what I mean) I wasnt drinking, and doing drugs, etc before age 7. I know everyone sins even after salvation, we have a sinful nature. I just keep thinking maybe God has blinded me and now I cant see the Light. A friend told me, when I backslid from the Lord, it was a process, it didnt just happen overnight, the same can be said about getting back in right fellowship, it is a process, it will take time. Like you said, I have been unfortunately trying to figure things out, trying to use past assurances to confirm my salvation, which I dont think is a bad thing because I remember being convicted by the Holy Spirt, expiercing His joy. Like you said I have to keep reminding myself that it’s not based on feelings or thoughts, it’s about what He did for me. The thing that has me all worked up now is the way this world is going. With the virus and I’ve been seeing all sorts of evangalist and preachers saying this year is a great chance of the rapture, because of the pestilence and Israel peace treaty is underway, and so much more prochecy being fulfilled. What scares me, is that I feel terrified of the rapture. So it just adds to my doubts because I keep thinking, how can i be a Christian and be scared of His return. We are suppose to be happy and excited but I’m complete opposite and it terrifies me. My perspective on who God is has been so distorted for so long, I feel like I can never see Him for who He really is and I’m so scared. I know no one knows when Jesus will re tr turn except God the Father. All I want is to just give everything to God and rest in His promises. That’s all I want but I cant seem to do it and I dont know why. It’s really like I have lost all sense of reality and I’m living in a vegetable state of existence. Thank you for listening
OCD is really tough!! I struggle. The more I read about my salvation the more I struggle. It helps to know that others are going through the same thing.
I have had OCD since I was 6 years old. It progressively got worse as I have gotten older. My OCD in all these years have ranged from imaginary, body dismorphia (part of an OCD issue), Counting, alway checking etc. I think I also have some paranoia also to go along with this. I was also a recluse for 7 years and stayed inside for fear of someone seeing me as I had a major paranoia body issue. I overcame that by the grace of God! Then I started going back to Church and they was having Baptisms and I thought what a great way to make a fresh start for the Lord. Then after my baptism is when the fear started. I had a dream that very night that I had committed the unforgivable sin and then I started questioning if I even believed correctly. That’s when I was attacked with intrusive thoughts, fear of going to hell and now I feel like my faith is not the same as before my Baptism. My Baptism was back in January and it’s now June. I don’t have the intrusive thoughts anymore (at least like they were)…but now it’s more about my faith. It’s like it’s now being attacked even more. I don’t even think I have the holy spirit anymore. But God has still answered my prayers which is why I don’t have some of the other intrusive thoughts anymore. But it’s like when I finally start to have faith again he comes back even harder and it’s usually at night..because I will wake up in a panic attack and try and see if I have my faith and sometimes I do and this last time I didn’t. I am just not sure what to do anymore. 🙁
Hi belle. Well first and foremost. God makes it clear that we can never loose our salvation. Once you have come to Jesus and ask Him to forgive you of your sins and come into your heart and thag you believe He is Gods Son who came to earth and died on the cross in your place, to wash away our sins and believe that He rose again from the dead 3 says later, once you believe that and ask for His salvation, that’s it, you’re saved! You’re going to Heaven, Amen! No one can pluck you out of the Fathers hands. I have struggled alot with some of things you’re going through. I once thought i was blaspheming the Holy Spirt but I wasnt. The fact that you’re on here and have these issues, shows that you care and you want to be right with the Lord. A person who blasphemes doesnt care about God. I know it’s hard to have faith but it’s something that grows when we feed it. You can never loose your faith but it can dwindle down to where it feels like you dont have it but it’s there. Reading the Bible and praying is the only way to grow in faith. I hope I was helpful. We all will get through this
I have struggled with a little bit og everything from doubting salvation to existence of God. I have ocd. I need advice. I desire God. I want Jesus so bad and want to live for him. However I keep obsessing about his existence. I know there is evidence and I agree with it. However, everytime I go to pray or read my bible my mind burst in “come on do you really believe this” and a whole bunch of other lies. I refuse to give up. My doubts dont seem to go away. My mind tells me “maybe you really dont believe” all I want is to believe.
Yep. A lot of the same OCD probs here are those I have. Hope to find a counselor soon amidst all this Covid isolation interference. I pray for God to hold us all with warm hugs through our lives.
I arm myself with scripture as is recommended here, to focus on God’s love and goodness, not my faults. Look at the biblical accounts of when Jesus was willing to help and forgive and heal people. He is using our weaknesses to keep us at his side, (as so many of the GAD and OCD sufferers have said.) Just hold on o the promises of God and “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8. I have an overactive brain and it is hard to do this, but remember that it is GOOD and GOD’S WILL that you turn to him and his word for comfort. THAT is a medicine to take every day. That is your recommendation from HIM: to LEAN ALWAYS ON HIM!
Many times The LORD tells us “FEAR NOT,” “I AM WITH YOU. I WILL HELP YOU” I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU” “I HAVE LOVED YOU WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE”
What helps to overcome fear and depression? COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS with a grateful heart and praise God from whom all blessings flow. HERE’S SOMETHING TO PRAISE HIM ABOUT:
1 Peter 1:3-5:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. ”
That article above helped me a lot!!
Iso struggle with doubting my salvation to an obsessive degree. My compulsion is to just keep asking Jesus to save me over and over, when i try and stop doing that, i get what i think might be a backdoor spike of OCD, where my brain’s like “what if this struggle is going to cause you to walk away from God?” Sometimes even images of people pop up in my head that i know walked away from the faith. Which pulls me back into my compulsions. I just need some suggestions and help.
At its core, your struggle is no different than the doubting struggle so many of us on this blog have, which is born out of our OCD disease and fed by our compulsions to keep asking Jesus to save us. Fact is, He saved us the first time we asked him to. We can trust (whether we feel it or not) that this is true because His word says so. Read these words from Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Notice he doesn’t say that we need to keep coming back over and over and asking him to save us. Just once is all it takes. 🙂
Another passage that I find encouraging when I struggle with salvation doubts is to read the short exchange between the repentant thief and Jesus while both hung on the cross, in Luke 3:39-43. After acknowledging to the other thief that they both were deserving of death but Jesus was innocent, he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Again, Jesus heard and responded to the dying thief the first time. He hears us the first time when we cry out to him, and turn to him for salvation, even when we do so imperfectly for we are broken souls until we come to Him. What we need to do more of is thank him for saving us, instead of asking him to do so, over and over.
I find analogies help. Imagine a child that keeps coming back to his mother or father asking repeatedly “Am I yours? Will you protect me?” Imagine how tender a loving parent’s response would be. “Yes, you are mine! Yes, I’ve got you!” If the child keeps returning with the same question, the parent would continue to reaffirm what’s true, and might even start writing it down on little note cards left around the house, in the child’s bed, etc., in order to help reinforce what’s true. I think that’s what Jesus’ word is to us today. Reminders of His love for us. He knew the enemy and our warped minds would try to give us reasons to doubt His love for us. So He encourages us today through His word, and of course, through His Church.
Regarding your images of people who have walked away from the faith or the concern you might become one of them, that’s all fear, which does not come from our loving God. He wants you to rest, and He promises this rest if you keep clinging to Him. As His child, you have all you need to enjoy Him forever, even when the enemy and your OCD disease are trying to tell you otherwise. Rest!
I have been struggling to believe in Jesus’s Lordship resurrection and His existence as well as the necessity of his sacrifice. I’m not sure if this is doubt or unbelief. I am very concerned and troubled by this. How do I know the difference between doubt and unbelief?