OCD and Christianity

“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
— Jer 29:11

OCDers agonize over the disasters and humiliations that might befall them. Then they buckle under the burden of responsibility for preventing these outcomes and begin to perform compulsions. The difficulty lies with the distortion of truth that occurs at the moment an obsession strikes. For Christians, of course, the truth is Christ. But at that moment we forget about him, and we completely lose sight of the truth of his providential plan for our wellbeing.

Yet this is a truth that we OCDers, more than others, must make a cornerstone of our faith. God has an end in mind for each of us which is our eternal salvation. Every circumstance and occurrence of our life is then arranged and ordained by God as the means to take us to that end. It is all a shaping process. The very striking of an obsession represents a deliberate and necessary step in God’s plan for you. It’s what you need at that time. Furthermore, whatever happens in the future relevant to the obsession, including whether you deal with it well or not and whether you perform compulsions or not, will also be a part of that plan. What a wonderful truth!  In the big picture there is nothing to fear.

What to do then when an obsession strikes? Remind yourself of the truth: that God’s providential plan is behind all that is happening, and allow yourself to take comfort in that fact. Then take the occurrence of the obsession as a custom designed opportunity to increase your trust in God. Nothing is more pleasing to God than having faith in him, trusting in him. Make an effort give God the responsibility for taking care of the obsessional fear. You can try to prove your trust by making an effort to limit compulsions. Then just leave all the rest to God.

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