Saturday, March 26, 2016


One of my huge OCD struggles is scrupulosity, also known as spiritual OCD.  I was taught from a young age the importance of having a relationship with God through Jesus, and my faith is extremely important to me.  Someone once told me that OCD is a paintbrush that could touch any part of your life at any time, and it usually affects those things that are most important to you.  So, here we are.

My trigger thoughts include lots of things:

  • What if I made God angry?  
  • Or misinterpreted Scripture?  
  • Or doubted?  
  • Or thought a cuss word during a prayer?  
  • Or what if I'm not really saved?  
  • Or didn't ask God's forgiveness for a sin?  
  • What if I didn't end my prayer correctly?  
  • What if I read my Bible without praying afterward?  
  • What if?  What if?  What if????  
It's so exhausting.

The compulsions vary as well.  Asking for forgiveness over and over and over and over.  Journaling prayers.  Resisting the compulsions to pray, but consequently compulsively thinking about the intrusive thought.  Have you ever been told NOT to think of something and it's the only thing you can think about?  Yeah.  It's like that.  Actually, it's exactly that.

Scrupulosity gets tricky sometimes, because in order to get better, the person with OCD sometimes has to do things contrary to normal spiritual behavior.  An example of this is limiting Bible reading and prayer while still continuing to do both.  For instance, right now I am (at the suggestion of my therapist) reading through the New Testament 1-2 chapters a day.  I'm doing okay with prayer right now overall, but in the past I've only allowed myself to pray three times per day.  I've also had to put boundaries on myself (especially when the compulsive praying is really bad) to not pray again until a specific later time - like at lunch.  The goal is to keep learning and talking to God while also preventing compulsive behavior in response to the trigger thoughts.  Not easy, but I'm making it (by God's sustaining grace)!

There are so many things in the Bible that my mind could latch on to and run with, and I've found it very beneficial to focus on the basics of my faith.  Colossians 1:21-23a has really helped me do that.

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel."  (emphasis mine)

And so, I choose to continue in my faith, even when it seems impossible.  Even when I'm so scared that I've wronged God and that my relationship with Him is in jeopardy.  He has reconciled me to Himself and sees me as holy, without blemish, and free from accusation - from anyone, including myself!  I am covered by the blood of Christ, and HE has made me righteous.

If there is one thing (and there are actually so, so many) that I've learned from having OCD, it's that no matter how hard I try, I am fully unable to be perfect.  And in order to have a relationship with God, He requires perfection.  Righteousness.  And so, I have to trust that Jesus covers me with His righteousness.  I am reconciled - holy in His sight, without blame, and free from accusation.  I choose to have faith and to trust in that Truth.

And if God is not condemning me, then why am I condemning myself?