It is extraordinary how much OCD sufferers are controlled by fear. Consider how often your own decisions are based on it. If you think carefully, it is probably most of the time. For some OCDers, it is practically all the time. One business man told me, “It’s difficult for me to see how I could make any decision at all without being pushed by fear.” A stay-at-home Mom, struggling mightily with her OCD, explained, “Doctor, the only time I don’t have a terrible, awful fear on my mind is when it is replaced by an even more terrible and awful one.” This is not the way our lives are supposed to be lived. Fear is a warning system that is meant to be set off only occasionally, much like the feeling of pain.
What is supposed to run our lives? Our desires. We are built to seek what we desire. That comes naturally to everyone but OCDers. People with OCD must make a deliberate every day to turn away from fear, and pursue what they want. This approach is emphasized in the currently popular OCD therapy called “ACT.” Individuals are instructed to compose lists of their deepest values and goals, and to pursue them with determination. Here is a fact about OCD sufferers: If we are not moving forward toward our desires, we will be stuck in our fears doing compulsions
Fortunately, as Christians, we have been told where our deepest desires are fulfilled: It is in the praise and service of God. Happiness is found in our calling. As put in Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Recently, a nurse explained how her OCD was brought under control once she fully invested herself in praising and serving God through her work.
I have a wonderful career helping others. As it says in Second Timothy, God gives me the power and free will to accomplish my calling, and that’s what I’ve found. In my OCD, what I have the most difficulty with is refocusing. It’s very hard for me to stop mental compulsions. It’s much easier to resist them when I feel I am pleasing God by doing something important to him. Serving God is the best motivation. For me to do good, I have to get out of my head and use my free will to fulfill my purpose. I’m loving what I do more than ever. God is good.