Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

There is a story untold. I am not sure why. To be fair, I don’t think about it often, but today I did. I have made a promise that I will tell my stories with the hope and prayer to bring others freedom and solidarity. So here it goes…

Growing up, I had some quirky things about me. Odd, I would venture to say. For example, for a period of time this thing would happen where everything around me sped up. The television, conversations, noise around me, and music. Music was the worst. I will tell you the same thing that I told my pastor, when my mother brought me to see him, “I was not taking drugs.” I had every test done. It wasn’t seizure activity. What is was… was very scary and I am blessed to say that it no longer happens. It just stopped happening.

I was also pretty particular about neatness. I loved to do things like organize the cabinets. I was given my own bedroom, as a teenager, because I couldn’t handle the mess my sisters made. If you asked my college roommate what my dorm room looked like, she would tell you that I had a place for everything, especially 0n my desk. I color coordinated my clothes in the closet, my bed was always made and I was the only one, on my floor, that owned a vacuum… which I used daily. So what? I liked being neat. Did I feel that my life was in order if my room was spotless, yes. Do I still feel that all is right with the world if my kitchen floor is clean? Yeah, what about it? Is this Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Not sure.

In my 20s, I was married and things may have gotten a little worse in this department. I found myself re-bleaching things over and over. I hired a cleaning lady who actually told me that she felt guilty taking money to clean my house. Bless her heart. Haley was barely able to play with her toys and I was obsessed with having vacuum lines on my carpet. You know what I am taking about. Is this OCD? Never could tell.

I went to see a therapist because I promised my husband I would. She suggested that I start taking a drug called Luvox, which I did.  She further suggested that I sit on a chair and allow others to make a mess around me, to which I wouldn’t clean up. OK, CRAZY LADY!! Who needs the help? You or me? I broke up with that lunatic and considered cleanliness next to godliness and carried on. I also stopped taking my meds.

Fast forward to having my sons. I began having (what I know now to be) irrational thinking and imagery. I would have awful thoughts that I would harm my baby. Not the kind that comes from sleep deprivation and non-stop newborn cries, but the kind that would come out of nowhere and scare the crap out of you. The kind that you wondered if you should be left alone with your child? Thank God for my mother and other people who could speak into this horrifying time of my life. Back to the therapist I went. Thankfully, she didn’t call protective services, she diagnosed me with OCD. I also started to do research about others who suffered from OCD and their stories both encouraged me and tore my heart into pieces. One gentleman left his family, that he loved with all of his heart, in fear that he may hurt them. I also learned that no one ever carried through with their irrational thinking. It is a chemical imbalance and torturous for those that suffer with it, but harmless to others. So, if you are reading this and have carried this fear with you, it’s time to lay it down.

I would have to say that although annoying, I got used to getting out of bed a million times to make sure Haley was still breathing, the stove was off, I didn’t leave any candles on, there wasn’t any sharp objects left out for a murderer to kill my family with (because they don’t bring their own weapons), the doors were locked, etc. But the irrational thinking was a tough one to deal with. After Ben was born, I had to have the cleaning supplies removed from my house because as I was feeding my baby his bottle, I was sure I had somehow put Mr. Clean in it. There was a period of time that my mother would prepare Ben’s bottles for me, so I could be assured that I wasn’t poisoning my sweet baby.

In my 30s, I decided that enough was enough and I wanted to be healed, set free. I found a scripture that said… “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of SOUND MIND.” (2 Timothy 1:7). This scripture became my war cry. Every time I wanted to double or triple check something, I spoke these words. Every time, I wanted to retrace the road I drove on, to make sure I hadn’t run someone over (yup, welcome to the world of OCD), I spoke these words. Every time, I had irrational thinking, I spoke these words. And guess what? I was delivered. Thank you, Jesus. Healed. Set Free.

I have done a lot of research about OCD and it is genetic. It plaques my family and I pray for their freedom as well. I believe in the power of prayer and that God’s words can and will transform your mind, if you allow them to. We have the mind of Christ, we are not meant to suffer with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. Does it mean that all followers of Jesus are free from those things? No. I also believe that God has provided us with medications to help our chemical imbalances. I have a prescription for Prozac, for my depression, to prove it. He has provided doctors and therapists with knowledge and wisdom to help us. He has provided us with family and friends who understand and support and love us unconditionally. People who pray for us. Most importantly, he has provided us with a promise that he will walk through this valley with us and his steadfast love can be trusted.

I have been incredibly blessed to walk along side of so many people suffering from OCD (including my son), not as an outsider, but as someone who gets it. I know that God is capable of healing and I also know that he doesn’t always do that. Why has he healed me from having OCD, but I continue to fight depression? There are somethings, this side of heaven, that we won’t understand, but God is still good. I also know that there are worse things than needing my house to be clean. I am working on my priorities, but a spotless kitchen floor is still gold.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warrior Boots

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14

As Christians, we walk through many seasons. Maybe you are being called into a season of rest and restoration. What a sweet season, where Jesus calls you into his presence to be healed and refreshed. Lovely Psalm 23:2, “He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.” Maybe you have broken places that need to be healed in Jesus’ loving arms. Do that. Rest. Be still.

Maybe you are in a season of confession, repentance and getting right with the Lord. Acts 3:19 instructs us, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that the times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Be encouraged, correction comes from the love of your Heavenly Father. He loves you far too much to let you stay in sin. Sin leads to death…every time. Death of relationships, death to your sound mind and health, death of peace and freedom.  Mind you, this is not a fun season. Honestly confessing and turning away from your sin is difficult, but necessary. You were created for greater things to waste your life living in sin and ungodliness. You were called to be set apart for the Glory of God. I have walked in this season. Being held to the fire feels torturous, but in the end, you walk closer with Jesus in freedom. Closer to who you are created to be. We are called to be mothers, fathers, husbands and wives, brothers, sisters, leaders, workers, friends and role-models. These are important roles. If you are walking in sin, you are not going to honor the Lord in these areas in your life. This season requires you to ask the Holy spirit to search your heart. Psalm 139: 23-24.

Maybe you are in a season that requires putting on your warrior boots. This is the season the Lord has called me into. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’ I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) So, my friends, I am in the season of the battle. I have replied to the Lord, “send me.” My weapons… the armor of God.

If you are in this season and feel that the battle is against another person, it is not. It never was. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). Fighting this battle means praying for those who hurt you. It’s about dying to yourself and feelings and being obedient to what the Lord has called you to do. We are not going to hate anyone into the kingdom. Did you hear that? We are NOT going to hate anyone into the kingdom. God calls us to forgive and pray for our enemies. NOT easy or my favorite. Hence the battle. When Jesus commands us to love the Lord God with all of our heart, souls and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves, he is not making a suggestion or referring to only the neighbors who are our friends. This dying world needs a Savior and you know Him. Who are you sharing him with?

So, this is the battle… to fight against the lies of Satan. The battle may begin within ourselves. The tools to win that battle are the truths of God’s Word. Spend time searching what the bible says about who you are in Christ and his everlasting love for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to seal those truths in your heart. Let the truth of who you are in Christ replace every lie that Satan has spoken to you. Then spread those truths like it’s your job. Because it is. Spread the Gospel and what Jesus did at the cross to this dying and deceived world. They need to know what Jesus told the woman at the well, they need to know that he is the Great I Am. Saturate yourself in his word and then ask him for opportunities to share his chain breaking, life transforming truth with others.

BE PREPARED. Satan does not like to be exposed. He will try and come against you. He always does. Satan knows that Jesus alone is the answer so when you tighten your warrior boots he will be watching. DON’T BE AFRAID. You know the truth, you have been in training. You know what 1 John 4:4 says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the on who is in the world.” Amen!

Some battle tactics. Pray. Battles are won on our knees. Seek wisdom. Share the Gospel. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.” Luke 4:18.

Give testimony to what the Lord has done in your life. Share your story. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107:1-2.  Ask the Lord to be used to further his kingdom. To spread the Good News. Ask for opportunities to share your testimony for his glory.

Every season is preparation for the next. If you are in the battle, put on your armor of God, (Ephesians 6:10-18), grab onto Jesus’ hand, and march on. The God of Angel-Armies is with you.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Head up Soldier! Tighten your boots. You are fighting from the victory of the cross.