Question:

I am a member of the Lord's church and have been since my teenage years. I am now middle-aged and have kids and a husband. For many years I have dealt with unwanted and compulsive thoughts in which they have all been pretty much related to worry and fear. I know we ought not to worry, but how can that be controlled with OCD? I can say a prayer in regards to fear and yet after prayer, the same thought will come back. Most are thoughts pertaining to my kids being harmed and any other worry related thoughts. I always taught myself to ignore those type of thoughts and worries but a lot of times it become aggravating and frustrating dealing with this. What causes these thoughts to pop up in my head when I don't want them to? UGH! When I was a young teenager I took a summer trip to New York and it was then I first starting experiencing a great amount of fear of Judgment Day. I had already been attending churches of Christ for several years. I knew the outcome of sin regarding my salvation and that if I were to die I wouldn't make it to Heaven, so immediately upon returning home I got baptized. The thoughts have leveled out since, but since I've taken on a family, job, school, I guess the stress just makes it worst. Plus I feel a lot of parents have normal worries about their kids overall well-being now and when they are older. What are some tips for Christians who suffer from OCD or any other mental issues? 


Answer:

The teachings in the Bible about worry still apply whether you have OCD or not.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34).

Most worries deal with the unknown future. You can't predict the future, so you don't know what is coming. The way to handle this is to make reasonable preparations and decide to take care of the unexpected when they come up. When you find yourself worrying about the future, remind yourself that you have enough on your plate to handle today, thank you very much. If you have a worry about tomorrow, ask yourself if you can do anything about it today. The answer is usually, "no." So you drop it because it is wasting productive time.

"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things" (Philippians 4:8).

The best thing to do when a compulsion comes is to distract yourself with something useful. Start singing a spiritual song, work on a good project, etc. It is when you allow yourself to focus on your compulsion that you lock yourself into a repetitive habit.

"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" (Matthew 6:27).

Make a distinction between what you can do something about and what you can't. If you can't change something, worry won't alter that fact. Sometimes a person with OCD has a hard time distinguishing what can or cannot be handled. If that is the case, find someone you can trust to ask if you are being reasonable or not and then listen to what they say.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

Ultimately it comes down to trusting that God watches and cares. He handles what you can't, so don't try doing God's job. You take care of the things that you can change.