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God doesn’t love me; a lie I let my OCD tell me

“…nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God…”

Romans 8:37-39

 

Hi friends! We all have had moments where we felt love. Maybe it was the day our best friend bent down on one knee and proposed to us, realizing we got to spend the rest of our life with someone we truly love. Maybe it was the day you unlocked the door to your new home and started decorating to make it your own, falling in love with the idea of having your own space. Maybe it was the day you stepped off the plane and ran into the arms of your family after being gone for a year abroad. Or maybe it was a day you sat, curled up on the couch with a blanket, book, and a hot cup of tea and felt total peace. There are so many times we feel love and happiness, whether it’s in big events or simple everyday things. These feelings of love are so pure, but the purest type of love is the one that comes from God. I mean, He literally is love.


“God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16


This love is something that we strive to feel, but what happens when we start to feel like we don’t deserve it? This has been something I have struggled with for the past few years since I starting toying with religious OCD.


For those who may not know, religious OCD is a form of OCD that is related to religious or moral values. There are many different avenues to it, but mine includes having blasphemous thoughts towards God. These thoughts make me extremely uncomfortable, and because of it, I pray a lot throughout the day to ask for forgiveness. I have been having these types of thoughts for about six years now and they have stayed pretty consistent. Because they have stayed consistent, I started feeling like I didn’t deserve to be happy because of the thoughts I was having towards God. Like I wasn’t worthy of His love. And that was a whole new level of anxiousness for me

When you grow up in faith and you start having this type of OCD as you’re older it can feel like your own personal hell some days. You start questioning your faith and asking yourself questions like, “How loyal am I to God?” “Am I really a good person?” and the ultimate question of, “Do I even deserve God’s love?” These questions circle in my mind all because of some random thoughts that pop in my head that I don’t even want in there. But the thing is, if I would just look down deep into my faith, I would realize the answers to my questions are already there. Other people will have different questions within themselves when they have this type of OCD, but I am going to try to answer my own here.

 

“How loyal am I to God?”


This is a hard question to answer, because we all want to think that we are extremely loyal to God, and don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people out there who are. But I will fully admit that I could be better. I grew up going to church on Sundays and going to a Christian school, but the older I got, the more I started slipping on some things. I wasn’t going to church as often, I probably wasn’t praying as much as I should have been, and I started questioning more things regarding my faith instead of putting my full trust in God. Once this OCD latched on to my faith at a vulnerable time in my relationship with God, it has been even more of a struggle to remember the basics of my faith. To pray with my full heart to God and give Him my worries. To go to church and worship Him with my family and neighbors. To just know He’s in my corner no matter what. I want to work on this part of my life, because I truly believe, if I went back to the basics of my faith, it would relieve a lot of anxiety I have with my religious OCD.


“Am I really a good person?”


Reading this question and realizing I ask myself this way too many times makes me feel sad. As anyone knows who has OCD and intrusive thoughts, sometimes we start questioning if we are good people because of these thoughts that pop in our head, and it can be hard to remember it’s just a thought and means nothing about our true personalities. Honestly I have to remind myself this almost every day. It’s gotten to a point where if someone compliments me, I have a hard time accepting it or feel awkward about it. But I need to remind myself that the OCD thoughts have absolutely nothing to do with me as a person. Nothing at all. And nor do they have anything to do with you as a person if you have them. They are a totally separate entity that just happens to be inside our minds.


I picture him at the edge of my bed

Listening intently to my problems

He’s nodding, showing He’s listening.


I continue ranting on and on

And He still is there.

I break down and my eyes start glistening.


I feel comforted

As I feel His hand on my shoulder

Showing me, He cares.


I couldn’t ask for a better Father

One who loves us in every form

I love you, Lord, thank you for being there


One way my therapist has helped me separate my OCD from who I am is by literally writing it out. Writing out on separate pieces of paper different thoughts versus how I actually feel. So, an example of an intrusive thought could be, “I hate God”, so you would write that down and put that under the category ‘OCD’. Then you would grab another sheet of paper and write, “I love God”, and put that under the category of “Me”. If you’re visual like I am, it helps to see that out in front of you, because if you saw that piece of paper and read “I hate God”, you would be like “That’s ridiculous. I love God”. Thus, you know where your true feelings lie.


So, when I start questioning if I am a good person or not, I just have to look into my own heart and remember I am trying to be a good person and my intrusive thoughts have no control over how God views me.


“Do I even deserve God’s love?”


This is a question I need to go back to the basics of my faith on. If I’m being fully honest, most days I do not feel like I deserve God’s love at all because of my intrusive thoughts. I have a very hard time saying the words out loud, “I deserve God’s love”, because of the constant negative thoughts I have. When you’re growing up in faith, you hear a lot about God’s love and forgiveness, but we also hear a lot about sin, which can make us feel not so deserving. But one thing I thought of that has helped with this is by remembering that even if we don’t feel we deserve it, God chose to share His love with us. That’s how much He loves us. It’s a gift He gave us that we need to accept and embrace because feeling the full affect of God’s love is something that is impossible to describe. But how wonderful of a thing to know that someone as wonderful as God, who actually created love, wanted to share it with us. God created unconditional love and He shows that every single day.

 

When I have days where I am struggling and my OCD is “running rampant” as I like to say, I picture God as a version that comforts me. What I mean by that is, when we were growing up, I pictured God as this tall, strong man with a long white beard who is powerful. That can be very intimidating. Especially if you are constantly having unwanted blasphemous thoughts about him. Instead, I like to picture God how He was seen in the movie “The Shack”.


Side note for anyone who hasn’t seen that movie or read the book, it is VERY good and gives great insight into our relationship with God.


In “The Shack”, there is a scene where the main guy, Mack, is having an honest conversation with God, and Octavia Spencer plays Him in the movie. She is an actress who seems to have a very motherly presence, so Her version of God in this movie was very heartwarming and real. She is very warm towards Mack when he is throwing out all of these concerns and doubts at her. That’s the version of God I like to think of when I am struggling with my OCD and my intrusive thoughts. I like to think of a warm figure who is with me and makes me feel safe even when I feel scared during those times. Someone who can sit there, hold me, and say, “ignore what’s in your head, because I know what’s in your heart”. Someone who sees the real me and ignores all the unwanted thoughts. And honestly that’s what God is to me. He is loving, caring, and wants all of us to flourish in His grace and love. He is the definition of unconditional love and understands that our unwanted thoughts are exactly that, just unwanted thoughts. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me. Stay tuned, friends.


Photo Credit: https://www.first15.org/12/09/the-depth-of-gods-love-for-us/

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