OCD and Christianity

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.























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5 Response Comments

  • Nick   at

    Thank you for this wonderful blog post. This clarifies the essence of ACT therapy, in spiritual and biblical terms. So very helpful! Today I will serve the Lord and focus on my deepest desires to fulfil my life’s purpose. Amen!

  • D.G.   at

    I would like to thank you too! In my most difficult moments, I come to this site and read the blogs and comments (some of which are very helpful too) over again to stay focused.
    If you don’t mind, I would like to share with others two books that were helpful as well, Heal Me or Kill Me: My Road to Freedom from OCD by B.J. Condrey and Be Still and Know: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by P.A. Kennan.

    For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Isaiah 41:13

    God Bless.

    • Nick   at

      Hi D.G. Thank you for the book recommendations. I will check those out!

    • Scott   at

      D.G., I read Heal Me or Kill Me and it was very helpful. I will check our the other book you recommended too. Thanks


  • anonymous   at

    Fortunately, as Christians, we have been told where our deepest desires are fulfilled: It is in the praise and service of God.

    “‘Serving God is the best motivation.’”

    I don’t remember the last two paragraphs to have been a part of this article at the beginning of current year. If they really weren’t, I’m glad to see that you’ve added them. Because not all desires are good (perhaps even most of them aren’t) – you know, the seven deadly passions (including that for the praise of people, or vainglory, which leads to immoderate self-esteem, or pride).