Thursday, April 28, 2016

Size One in Obsessive-Compulsive: If You Have Walked a Mile in the Shoes of Slavery

The classroom is small and personal. About a dozen desks are arranged in it. It honestly takes on more the appearance of a high school classroom than a college one and it is certainly no lecture hall. But it is what I am used to- a small community college where I have gone to school for the past three years. I have taken psychology in this class room before too. Psych 101. With a teacher who enjoyed showing movie clips to cement knowledge into our heads. But for this psychology course I have a professor that actually lectures and teaches us the material. But he is not here today and instead the older gentleman who has substituted for him once before is at the front of the classroom. Today we are going over psychological disorders. The gentleman makes a few humorous statements. Apparently at this point in the class, many students may begin to believe that they have a psychological disorder. The book has a small handful of them. For someone like me it's honestly fairly interesting. I want to work with people, you see, and learning how people work is quite fascinating. Among the disorders there is one that sticks out- obsessive compulsive disorder.

This particular disorder sticks out because, in a way, I feel a connection to it. It's not that I have ever been diagnosed with OCD. But it is like I can relate to it. This one I feel I can begin to understand. It's like I know a little bit about it. It's like I've walked a few miles in shoes that, if not quite the same size, are closely related.

I cannot profess to have a particularly good ability to remember childhood memories. But I do remember them. The good ones. The sunny days. But also ones that were overshadowed by what I could perhaps not put in words at the time. The description of intrusive, obsessive thoughts rings a bell. Deja vu. I think I've been here before. I have to do it, or else. Just one more time and it will be done. Just one more time. Just one more time is rarely just one more time because if it does not feel perfect, who knows what will happen. And then follows the compulsion. Light on. Light off. Light on. Light off. Wash hands. Repeat. Floss teeth. But did I forget to floss those teeth? Floss teeth once more. Is the door really closed? Really locked? And then it breaches another barrier. It's not just making sure you did it. It's stopping things from happening. It's keeping yourself safe. It's control. It's me trying to be in control of my life. Trying desperately. And I am not really controlling anything. It just feels like I am. And I make myself miserable in the process because it is addictive. Because if what I did could have possibly made me feel secure once, then I have to make sure I continue to feel secure. Yes, it's addictive and it's slavery. Slavery to fear. Slavery to destruction. Slavery to death.

Control is a funny thing because it feels as if when I am trying my hardest to be in control is when I am spinning out of control.

The solution? Jesus. And I mean it. Because He is the one who knows what is going to happen. He wants me to tell Him my worries and then rest that He holds me. See, He died for me (and He rose again! He is alive!!) ... And while I cannot even fully comprehend this, I begin to feel it. That I am His little girl. That He made me. That He redeemed me. And that when I decide to ignore Him for a bit, He is still there. Because He has given me permanent salvation. I am truly adopted and wanted. And He has washed me clean. I can rest in Him.

But do I always rest? Oh of course not. Not even close. I may be redeemed but I am still in a fallen body. But if it weren't for Jesus, who knows where I would be. But He has got me. His little girl. And while He is all I need, He has also given us weapons to help us. The other day I wrote some out and plastered them to my mirror- hoping this would help me to remember them. And maybe these weapons, so readily available and yet so easily forgotten, can help you too. Going off of Ephesians 6:10-18, allow me to share with you a few.

Truth. The truth is, whatever leads to destruction, fear, and death, is not of Jesus. My God is the God of life, truth and peace. 

Righteousness. I am righteous in God's eye because He sees me through Jesus' sacrifice. Jesus has perfectly redeemed me, so I am at peace with God because I am right with Him. 

Faith. Faith that God holds me, loves me, calls me His daughter. I am only secure and only free in God. Whenever I drift about, I begin to lose that security. That freedom. 

Salvation. I am permanently saved. I have a promised eternity with Jesus. I am His little girl.

Word of God. There are verses which can help with a struggle.

Prayer. Thank God. Pray for people. 

And when it all comes down to it, remember you are free. God has set you free. You are no longer a slave to sin, fear, and guilt.

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forever more.
-Psalm 16:11

(By the way, I do not think if you need outside help, you should avoid it. God gives us people in our lives who can often help us through things. If help is needed for something that is a real struggle, reach out! I am by no means recommending that you do not seek the help of competent individuals or professionals if you need it.)


  1. This is wonderful, wonderful, Anna! Thank you for sharing what God is showing you. :)