Misconceptions: OCD doesn’t involve lack of faith
Warning: the next article is not meant to attack ERP therapy in it’s total context or to mark all therapists as liars, but to study on some aspects related with faith and OCD that usually are being ignored due to the spiritual nature it involves (and not so seen in the world of psychology, which usually focuses on the mental nature but not in the spiritual one) This article doesn’t encourage people to leave their ERP or CBT therapy, it encourages to people suffering OCD to pay attention to their spiritual lives through the times of suffering the mental illness.
I have read some articles and people who study OCD claiming faith problems or spiritual problems are not the cause or are not involved with OCD. I don’t know if it can be a cause of OCD, but the truth is it can be something involved in the mental illness.
At this point some will say “What? You silly, you are not a professional, or psychologist or even a student of OCD and mental health” and not only non-believers studying the topic but also believers, because in many aspects or fields there is the secular threat (in the sense of things against God, or have the lack of recognizing HIM) and usually people are not judging or separating things but trying to find connections between the Bible and worldly philosophies, that is an usual problem (taking in mind a lot of the people who influenced psychology from its roots are atheists, anti-theists and even pagans (yoga can’t be separated from its pagan roots?))
Of course! Who speaks about GOD in psychology? very few people “OCD is just a mental problem, is not related with faith” that statement is like trying to deny spiritual life and physical life are not connected, is like saying an atheist and a Christian have both the chance of getting OCD and the case could be the same, it is saying the Christian has no difference with the atheist, is taking people who believe in any religion, whether it is truth (Bible) or lies (no Bible) in the same team, saying all of these people has the same probability to get cured and is saying the Christian has no difference in his/her probability to get cured, it is saying that in one aspect of life there is no difference if you believe or not in GOD, with this structure exposed we see how faith can be affected, to the point there is the threat of making believers things like doubting if GOD exists (I’ll show you in another moment of this same article a situation I show as evidence, I am based on that fact) but I don’t condemn them, rather, I want them to realize this, is not their fault, the lies of the enemy are subtle, I don’t condemn my Siblings in faith and neither you should, for ELOHIM forgives us through Mashiach, no one changes that, the argument to doubt is GOD asks us to believe and saying there is nothing wrong if we don’t know, “that’s okay” is what anyone could say (Well HE asks us to BELIEVE HIM and to Seek Wisdom from Heaven, maybe we are not asked to know everything now), but we have to remember the Word believe has 2 meanings (maybe more) one is “accept, recognize, be sure of it even without evidence” (i.e someone cooks something and tells you “I cooked it” and you say “I believe you” and you are totally convinced, as if you had evidence even if you don’t have evidence) and the other one is “maybe, is a possibility” (i.e I believe today will be sunny, a probability, you don’t know), and let me remind you people, the one of these two meanings who matches with the definition of faith is the first one. Maybe someone can say “But I believe I will be cured, I have faith” the question is, where is your faith? Who do you leave your faith in? In medication? In therapy? In medication and therapy? In secular methods “extracted from paganism without a religious background”? In a doctor? People, seeking therapy, treatment and medication for your OCD but not worrying about your spiritual life, is covering a wound but not healing it ✝️❤️
I am not here to judge people, but concepts. I have seen cases of people suffering because OCD is affecting their lives as Christians (or Messianics or Jews). It is hard to see people searching for ways to be healed, not only about OCD, but other situations, where lack of faith can be involved, “Oh but you see” – Someone can say – “I have faith, so there is no lack of faith” but again – I ask – faith… on what? Do you think if you would have faith you would be in a situation worrying the same way secular people do? Do you think faith has a limit so when someone says “you need more faith” your answer is a “you have a misconception” or you answer rejecting the porpose? My point is to make you watch your spiritual status. Having more faith won’t destroy you, faith will move you, to seek GOD, to seek his TRUTH, and will set you free, maybe it will take time, maybe it will be soon, but you will get changes, and not changes in a secular mind like “Oh this doesn’t work so I do something different” but to ask GOD what is HE telling you to do, how to live your life, how to be spiritual, how to be in HIS WAYS.
Here is what I usually read about advices to people with OCD:
– Seek therapy.
- Take medication
- Stay strong (I usually gave this in a sense of “Have faith” but I am exposing it in the sense of “trust in your own strength”)
- Believe in yourself (Believe in yourself? You are not GOD, in secularism it is a popular idea that you are your god, that is the god of secularism, the “me”, “my likes”, “my preferences”, “my concepts”, you are not a god, you are a person, a creation, you don’t create, you get it?)
But where are this advices?
- Seek GOD
- Consult HIS WORD
- TRUST HIM
- BELIEVE IN HIM
I am not saying you should quit therapy, but to give priority to your relationship with GOD, we all need to set that as our priority, then HE will reveal you what to do through His Word and His Son and His Spirit. Then what about therapy and medication? Ask GOD, I have seen people who took those and got cured, others are not cured at this moment, and I have seen people who had faith and didn’t get cured, while others did, so if you are not cured yet, you have to increase faith and maybe add something else to action, pray to know what that something else is, and be sure to don’t be against what GOD commands while doing that something else.
Now let’s see, some people claim OCD is not caused because lack of faith, well, maybe it is, maybe not, but lack of faith DOES affect OCD, how?
O.C.D or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder usually puts in their victims intrusive thoughts, these in difference with the common ones are identified as thoughts that can’t be easily removed UNLESS the victim makes an action, the action comes with the thought, provided by the anxiety as a “solution” to the problem, we agree until that, right?
– Wait wait, who do you think you are to think you know what our mental illness is, you dont know what we are thr…
– Because at the time I am writing this article I had OCD
– That is what I thought, let’s continue
So the thing is, I dont see OCD is not very different from what we see in other situations, we have a problem, we get scared, and more scared, and more scared, to the point we make a desperate decision, then we feel calmed, but what next? I want to focus in that part: SCARE! Why? When we are scared, guess what, we are being moved by fear, FEAR, our faith is affected, dont you remember Peter? He got scared, he started falling, and what was YESHUA’S answer? Let’s see on the Matthew’s written register of the Gospel, chapter 14:
Orthodox Jewish Bible:
29 And Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach said, Boh! (Come!) And having gone down from the sirah (boat), Kefa walked al pnei hamayim (on the surface of the waters) and came toward him.
30 And seeing the strong wind, Kefa was afraid, and having begun to sink, Kefa cried out, saying, Azreini! Adoni, hoshieini! (Help! L-rd, save me!)
31 And immediately Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach, having stretched out (his) hand, took hold of Kefa and says to him, One of little emunah, why did you doubt?
King James Version
29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
There is one way that even OCD advocates defend to fight OCD back, is not medication, is not therapy, sounds easier, but takes effort, but don’t be scared for Mashiach is with you, Brothers and Sisters in faith, the method is: avoid the compulsion.
If you are walking in a rope from one building to another one, usually the uncertainty will come as “What if I look to the floor” the response is “I will not look to the floor” and the fear fights and fights to make the person look at the floor, this is similar to Peter’s case, he became afraid because of the wind, the situation made him doubt, when there is doubt, now avoiding the compulsion requires strength but remember, don’t hold on your strength because who are you to trust on your own strength instead of GOD’s strength? So have faith, the anxiety might grow, the feeling for the compulsion might appear, more, and more, until you do it, but there is the point, don’t do it, trust GOD, don’t follow the emotion, don’t follow the anxiety, choose from now on, will you have faith on GOD, or are you going to surrender to the obsessions?
The sentence “what if” is being completely out of your position, sometimes it is good, when you are in bad ways and open the possibility to embrace what is good (notice it is written what is GOOD, not “what humanism thinks is good”, not “what secularism thinks is good”, and not “what you think is good” there is ONE who establishes what is good), sometimes the sentence can be bad, when you doubt about the possibility you are doing something good, and it can lead to something bad without even know it.
Now, in OCD, the sentence “what if” opens possibilities, when you avoid the compulsion the sentence could be there, and then your position of being totally sure you don’t need to do the compulsion changes to a position of “wait, what if I actually need to do the compulsion” in that case, the shield has been dropped, the defense, now is your choice to wait for the attack or to hold the shield again, are you going to say doubting and listen and surrender to the voice of OCD is not lack of faith? Let’s see, do you remember the example of the shield and defense, right? Do you remember the case of Peter, right? Now, take a Bible, go to the Book of Ephesians, go to Chapter 6, read it, then tell me, what is the shield? The shield of what? Mmm, see? Well the context is about temptation of sins, that can play with faith, but also do obsessions so… If you listen to the “what if”, if you drop your defense, if you are afraid of the strong wind, what is happening? Brothers and Sisters, let’s judge ourselves and be careful, let’s move pride in one side, let’s recognize we are sinners, and we may repent, let’s recognize we need to be zealous, let’s recognize we are weak, and we can’t trust in our strength, let’s recognize we need Yahshua/Yeshua HaMashiach, let’s recognize we need more faith, let’s recognize there is no limit to have faith (except if we take it out of context), let’s recognize the case of those who have faith and those who have not won’t have the same result (I don’t want people without faith to be condemned, instead to be saved, but I am not the one who saves, but my King Yeshua, I want unbelievers to come as believers), what do you think having faith in GOD means? Reality? Or just a mindset of “Uhhh maybe but you know… I have not seen, I think, but I am not sure” Remember Brothers and Sisters in Mashiach, faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
The obsessions and compulsions in OCD reflect an example of what spiritual battle involves, including faith, just replace obsessions with temptation and compulsions with sin, is not always the same case taking in mind sometimes compulsions can include to do things that are not sin, like touching a wall, but just watch the example, in the spiritual life we are tempted, and the temptation comes with the sin, the specific one, and the voice of temptation tells you to sin, you try to avoid it, and, sometimes the temptation is big, and bigger and bigger, moving you from your strength in GOD until you are week and sin, there is the fall, and when we try to fight the obsession by rejecting the compulsion until we can’t and then, we surrender, there is another fall. And sometimes there can be the idea of “I sin this time, but I won’t do it later, I do it this time but I will be strong enough next time to avoid it” I know that, in fact, I have had that thought, but the thing is you have to cut sinning, you are not going to stop sinning through sinning and procrastinating the time you stop that sin with YESHUA’S power, and in OCD there is a similar case “I will do this compulsion, but I won’t do it later, I do it this time but I will be strong enough next time to avoid it ” but obeying the compulsion leads the illness to control you easier, maybe someone can say: But we cannot erase a trouble by ignoring it so how avoiding the compulsion is not ignoring the trouble? Well, it is important we learn to judge everything very well, and in this case, we are not ignoring the trouble, we are trusting in GOD and holding against the voice of fear, ignoring it can make someone do the compulsion almost immediately, without battle, ignoring having OCD can set a mind in a comfort zone of OCD, a mindset of not determine a position against OCD, basically, giving up, is obeying obsessions and doing compulsions without complaining.
If you don’t think having more faith can improve your mental health, if you don’t think you need more faith, I ask: what is wrong with having more faith?, There is nothing wrong with having more faith, and if you have faith, have more faith, the statement “everything in excess is dangerous” is not acceptable for faith, except taken out of context for bad purposes using the name of GOD to act wrongly. If you have faith, why do you doubt?
I invite you to do another thing, a very important one, pray to GOD for discernment, so you can identify when something means a false threat, an anxiety attack or a true threat, to avoid acting in a way before a circumstance different from the one you are thinking, there is a way to act before a false threat and a true threat, to learn how to act properly ask GOD what to do in every situation and let HIM show how you to judge if the threat is false or true, OCD is a stage where judgement is very affected (a reason why alcohol can affect at some point OCD, knowing a certain amount of alcohol fools judgement, and even more if the person has OCD, where judgement can also be fooled, and with alcohol it could be even more fooled than it is.) maybe you will say – My judgement of something being a false threat or not is not wrong – So, if that is the case, why are you responding to a false threat (an obsession) as it would be a true threat? Maybe you could say – Because the obsession and the anxiety is too strong – So I tell you – Exactly, so don’t you think that is a chance to be stronger in faith?
The thing about judging is because we need to judge emotions and feelings, usually it is said to avoid the compulsion, well I just did some lines before, but where is the judging part? What if someone with OCD avoids a compulsion and then in another scenario avoids an action before a situation because of the feeling it could be another compulsion but is not?
Judgement, the Holy judgement is necessary, I found out that in many situations, in one of them was this one: I was talking with someone and suddenly I felt something – an intrusive thought! – I thought, so to overcome it I acted against the thought – I am avoiding the compulsion – I thought, but later, the same thought came once and again and once and again, but I kept rejecting it by not letting it make me fear and I did what the thought told me to not do, but the thought never gone, very suspicious, later in meditation (Biblical meditation) and a moment of an encounter with GOD I realized that thought wasn’t an obsession or an intrusive thought, because the content of that particular thought I had is, in fact, a commandment of GOD, I wasn’t avoiding the compulsion, I was sinning, the Bible exposes the particular action I was doing as a sin. Maybe you will say – “Oh so when I rejected the compulsion I sinned, didn’t I?” probably not, the point is to judge, maybe you felt a sin as an obsession, or maybe you felt an obsession as a sin, it is necessary to judge so we can separate and organize things, just as GOD created and gave everything a purpose, not judging can make someone reject obsessions and anything that looks like an obsession and doing bad without even knowing it. Now it is important we take this in mind specially on therapy, I was looking for things related with exposure therapy and I found an article saying this:
“And there are as many forms of ERP as there are people with OCD. A sufferer with religious obsessions could be asked to curse or desecrate religious objects.”
I am not going to attack ERP therapy completely, taking in mind some of the methods are helpful and some exposures are not sinful, but this, what you just read, breaks the line, and I am surely going to attack it, “A sufferer with religious obsessions could be asked to curse”, what? So you are telling me that I am going to be free from mental intrusive thoughts through doing what I fear to do, and not an irrational fear, but a rational one? So you are telling me that if, for example, I don’t want to betray GOD, and I have intrusive thoughts about it I have to actually betray GOD to stop fearing betraying GOD? How insane is that? Is like: You fear taking drugs until you actually take drugs, and then what? Are you going to stop? Are you going to draw a limit? If there is no judgement, when are you going to stop? so you lose with the exposure the intrusive fear of cursing, but who says you won’t lose the normal fear of cursing? I don’t want to sell my soul to the devil and I will never do that, but then what if I get obsessions about it (and I actually had)? Someone will say: sign a document saying you sell the soul to the devil, and then you will be free from the intrusive thoughts about it (Never ever try to do this, read the P.S at the bottom of this article)… do you have intrusive thoughts about getting punched in the face? Do you want to get an exposure? I will be happy to help 😃. Maybe someone will say – “Oh but, there can be another method, for example being in front of the document and not signing it, or being near to sign it and stop” My answer still no, not in a case like that, sin begins not in the sin itself, but in the willing to do it, many believers in YAHSHUA/YESHUA know that. What are you going to do? tell the patient: be in front of it but don’t sign it? What if the person’s anxiety continues to the point you would suggest signing the document to erase anxiety? No!
Putting a limit on faith but not in therapy? I know someone will say- But, what if it is something easier… let’s say… steal, you do it one time and then your fear is gone – No, no, I don’t want to sin, I know stealing is not an irrational fear, there is reason to avoid it, it doesn’t matter if I do it once just to be free, you know what that implies, is like saying to GOD I would prefer to disobey just once to be free and then obeying normally rather than suffering a lot because of hard obedience (Probably there are Brothers and Sisters who have done this, I won’t condemn you, but at least make a reflection) How long are we going to believe excuses to make sin acceptable and not feeling guilty about it?. Someone can say: But GOD can see our hearts, and we don’t have disobedience in our hearts, we have the purpose of being free, just that” – Someone could say- Okay, okay, that might be true, but remember the heart is deceitful, and if you got a new heart from GOD, pray to know what is right.
I guess someone could be thinking on telling me that if I do an exposure involving a sin it will set me free and I will realize it wasn’t so bad after all and I have nothing to worry about because probably the person did that and didn’t feel anything wrong spiritually, let me remind you: JUDGE – YOUR – FEELINGS, you know what has told a lot of people is not so bad when you try it and some people actually tried it and then “realize” it “wasn’t sooo bad”? Sin (I am not saying to reject all kinds of exposure, some are in fact not bad when you do them because they don’t have bad effects spiritually, you can recognize this even if you reason in them before the exposure).
There is a spiritual nature (could be divine or evil), and for believers is hard to understand it completely, we haven’t discovered it completely yet, so what makes you think therapists know it completely to suggest something, and make you just assume there is no spiritual activity behind it? They are not focused on that, their job is not focused on treat you spiritually, but mentally (Let’s be honest, or did I offend someone? No? See?). My concern is you in your spiritual state, because you need spiritual care, with OCD or any other circumstance, even when you feel no difficulty.
Someone might be thinking – So, if I have an obsession and that obsession has a compulsion but rejecting the compulsion in the situation will be done in a way I am doing something sinful (for example you think you have obsessions about saying gossips and to do an exposure or reject the compulsion you say a gossip, and saying gossips is in fact sinful) then what do I do? Should I sin just once as an exposure, or avoiding sin, doing a compulsion and having more anxiety? That is a very good and complex question and I have been through that situation, here is my answer, you need to do the right thing with the right purpose, so, first of all: pray, it is very important, in fact if GOD wants and establishes I will talk about prayer in another article, pray to have strength in the moments of difficulty and to set you in a position of not sinning, to be totally convinced you are rejecting doing a sin because it is a sin, for example: cursing, I suggest to pray to avoid cursing firmly and being totally consent of it, the exposure could be to curse, but in this case you reject it, not because you have anxiety about doing it but because is a sin, you know is a sin and you are totally sure of it, pray to GOD to change your fear of sinning as an obsession to a fear of sinning because you want to avoid sin, this worked for me with my soul obsessions. If you are going to do an exposure, consult GOD before your therapist to find out if the exposure method is good or not, if is good how to do it and how to not, therapists may have good intentions but some of them may not know how spiritual things work.
I know some OCD advocates won’t like this and even will hate me, attack me, or saying “Oh you are creating misconceptions about OCD” No, no I am not. I know this is true because I have been through situations like these, and I also had OCD when I wrote this article, you know what am I doing? I am being neutral, not totally defending what people know as misconceptions, and not attacking every misconception, I am judging and separating things, I am speaking about the part of OCD that not a lot of people want to talk about, you can say I am making people avoid therapy, but as I said, I, at least for now, am not totally against therapy, I encourage people to judge based on the TRUTH, or who says people are not making excuses to sin through some methods of therapy? Because I have seen cases, and not only about OCD but other cases. That makes me remember of the cases of people who must take medicinal marihuana, and there they go, happy and joyful about it, clapping sin, ohhh but tell them something and what do they say? “Oh is for medicinal purpose you know?” and you may wonder – Is smoking a sin? well written like that I haven’t found it in the Bible, but the Bible speaks about common sense and that we belong to GOD and not to ourselves, having those concepts in mind I know I can’t put smoke on my lungs, that in fact don’t belong to me but GOD, so in conclusion: is wrong.
This makes me remember, there is an advice that if you have intrusive sexual thoughts you should share them with someone, I agree… partially, well technically I agree, but I would like to give an extra advice, if you are going to share the content of it, first of all, pray to GOD and tell HIM the content of those thoughts, then pray to find someone if you think it is necessary to share those thoughts and receive some help, maybe from a therapist, not anyone, not the first person you just met or you think you can share that content with, why? Because, in a short explanation, you don’t know the other person very well, who tells you that person might not be a pervert? So you could say – But these thoughts are not my own, they are intrusive – Okay, but if I say a bunny is eating a chocolate what comes to your mind? A bunny eating a chocolate, when we talk about something someone can take a picture in his/her mind of what we are talking about, so when you share your intrusive sexual thoughts with someone, you have to know that person is probably getting an imaginary image of the content you are sharing, and who says you can trust that person? So, another advice would be: If you look for a therapist for these cases, find one with your same gender (If you are a man, look for a man. If you are a woman, look for a woman), but first of all, again, pray to GOD to know who HE chooses.
Back to the topic:
There is someone I really appreciate in my life, and I have had intrusive thoughts about that person that as normal thoughts they could be sinful, but I am not going to do an exposure for that case, I am not going to mentally dishonor that person, not even to “be free”, there are things that need a limit, faith is not one of them (unless it makes you do sinful and anti-Biblical things), but ERP therapy… be sure it needs a limit, there are cases when some methods of ERP therapy shouldn’t even be in the list of possibilities, they may not be the proper treatment. Don’t call the intrusive thoughts by your own if they are not attacking you, don’t go after your own strength (In case that could have helped someone, let’s remember we can’t open a little door for pride), intrusive thoughts are not from you but intrusive, so if you think those thoughts when they are not there, in that moment they are not intrusive, but from you, for example an intrusive thought about a mouse with cheesehead, may be intrusive, but if in a moment the thought is not there you think in a mouse with a cheesehead, in that moment, the thought is not intrusive, is yours, and don’t wait for the intrusive thoughts to attack you to identify them, at least for now I think that could be used as a compulsion without even know it, so identify them when they don’t attack, so when they attack, you know, you are prepared and you have drawn the line, don’t wait for a war to wear the armor, do what David did before Goliath, David found his strength in ELOHIM, remember HE is with you.
I don’t tell you that if you have more faith you will wake up tomorrow without OCD because I don’t control what happens, but that is a result that comes soon in some cases (In fact, there are people who got cured from OCD in a Christian praying service) or later, depending on the case. But just don’t lose faith, okay?
I found someone in an interview who said this at the end: “ I agree with what — said: I had to embrace doubt in order to defeat my OCD. I had to say to myself, “Maybe God isn’t real” or “Maybe you actually will go to hell,” and in those acknowledgements came freedom. I know it sounds backward. I would have never believed that it could work except that it does, and ERP has opened OCD prison doors for people left and right. Even today, I am comfortable with saying, “I don’t know everything regarding my faith, and that’s okay.” I don’t have to know everything with 100% certainty. That’s where faith comes in!”
I don’t know at this moment everything either, but I do know something, GOD exists (HE exists whether someone believes HE exists or not), do I have all the evidence to prove it making everyone believe it? Not yet, maybe one day I will show it, or a part of it, or anyone else, whatever GOD decides. I don’t want to doubt or open the possibility to think that GOD “maybe exists”, even if that brings a pseudo freedom and pseudo feelings saying there is nothing wrong about it. And faith, well, it comes by hearing, and hearing from the Word of GOD, and comes in when we are convinced.
There is one time when I used to think that GOD “maybe” was real, when I was secular. And that is not okay, we cannot act like agnostics, they are the ones who believe GOD “maybe” is real.
There is the statement that we must accept we don’t know everything, and some psychologists and patients are celebrating their “freedom” while saying this, but let’s recognize, the line is not being drawn with GOD, it is also celebrated when the phrase about doubting if GOD exists comes out, I can smell a spiritual situation behind that, let’s stop doubting even that, because is a threat, don’t doubt the fact GOD exists.
Again, I suspect about this a lot, and very rationally, I mean, I don’t find a coincidence on this, psychology has been influenced with people who rejected GOD, and now believers in that field are in the danger of doubting their conviction that GOD exists, evil is subtle.
Brothers and Sisters, I love you all and to you I write this article, let’s remember the shield of faith protects us from the darts of fire of the enemy, if we move from a position of being convinced that GOD exists to a position of “maybe” don’t you think that is starting to don’t hold the shield as hard as you used to? Be aware!
I am here to judge concepts, not people, not you, we are meant to examine ourselves, and our hearts, our hearts are deceitful and all we can do is pray to GOD to receive a new heart, pray for healing, pray for wisdom, not the one from the world but the one that comes from Heaven, pray for discernment, for faith and strength in ELOHIM.
Test everything with the GOD’s Word, even your emotions, feelings, judge, not by appearance, but with righteousness.
Faith is when there is a total army against you, and all the possibilities say you will fail, but you believe you will win, again: remember David the key is to know where, or actually… who you put your faith in.
The question is: do you believe, or do you think?
P.S I got rid of some of the worse obsessions I have ever had, thoughts about selling my soul to the devil, and I got rid of them thanks to GOD, believing and staying in faith in HIM, I didn’t do an exposure, I always refused the idea for that case, my position about ERP therapy is neutral, rejective in some cases, in others, I listen to it, at least for now.