OCD, or Obsession Compulsive Disorder, has both spiritual and biological components, and no one wants it. Ever. Here’s help to understand OCD and help your counselees.
Written by Jeff Temple, a former counselor and trainer at Biblical Counseling Center, now serves as the Care Pastor overseeing counseling at Crosspoint Chapel in Saginaw, MI. While at BCC he compassionately counseled individuals and families with the timeless truth of God’s Word, encouraging them to act on it, all the while recognizing that biology figures in to many emotional struggles. OCD is a both/and problem — both spiritual and biological. Our Creator God comforts and helps people with OCD, providing certain hope.
On the verge of tears, the young teen described her problem to me. Every day, 400 to 500 times an hour, she confided the intensity of doing battle with relentless thoughts of being contaminated. Imagine having terrifying thoughts that invade like an army, wave after wave, and you being the only one to stop it?
OCD is both spiritual and biological. Obsessions are thoughts, impulses, or images that are relentless. When we think about obsessions we tend to think about something we desperately want — “I’m obsessed about cars” or chocolate or getting good grades — but this is not the case with OCD. These obsessions are unwanted and are viewed as threatening.
Compulsions are repeated behaviors or mental acts that are intended to prevent or stop the debilitating anxiety or worry the obsessions produce. These obsessions compel action, but the actions taken are not necessarily rational behaviors or mental acts that correspond to the obsession.
For example, if you have ever experienced the flu with its symptoms of fever, aches, nausea, vomiting, and lethargy you may have responded with something like, “Just kill me now.” The interpretation from the heart as being unbearable establishes the desire to be dead, perceived relief. The more one contemplates how bad he feels the more the symptoms become exaggerated.
Likewise with OCD, a cycle of thoughts based on how one feels begins with the symptoms being exaggerated, until temporary relief comes through compulsive behaviors. This is a simple illustration of how the person struggling with OCD cycles.
The Spiritual Side of OCD
The crux of OCD is rooted in having to be 100 percent certain. This means that there is a trust issue. Where there is a trust issue there is a control issue.
Directing attention to God and his sovereignty is going to be the battle. With unrelenting compulsive thoughts, it’s difficult to switch one’s focus on God, but not impossible. Remember, the Word is living and active and has the power to demolish strongholds.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Believing God’s Word and acting on it offers hope and sets people free from their OCD.
How have you dealt with repeating thoughts? What have you done about it?
COUNSELING: In a tough place? Need someone to listen and help you, based on God’s Word, for your good and his glory? Read about counseling at BCC in person or by Skype.
TRAINING: Is God nudging you to help the hurting? Consider training in Biblical Counseling. Get the details on our online, self-paced training options.
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