Chapter 4: “Labor Into The Rest”
Labor Day weekend comes and my father, sister, and her boyfriend at the time took a trip to Ocean City. Fast forward to that Sunday, the feeling of being cursed was back on my mind. I finally prayed and asked God,
“Whenever I was disrespectful, or stressed my mom out ….that was before I was a believer in Jesus, now that I’m a believer in Jesus would I still be cursed?”
I went outside the hotel and went to the beach. We all relaxed and sat on the beach and I started reading through the Bible. I was flipping through pages and saw the passage that said “before you were alienated from God in your mind for your evil behavior and now you have been reconciled by God because of Christs physical body through death to present you holy free, from blemish and free from accusation”.
I felt like a sigh of relief and and it eventually helped me realize I was not cursed, “ any more”. I finally found the official answer to what was plaguing my mind most of that year.
After this I eventually started listening to sermons online and the preachers started to got me to realize OCD was not just a mental illness but a religion. Religion literally means to return to bondage. OCD confined me to a mental and physical bondage for most of my life. I have described OCD as the book Ella Enchanted. Ella Enchanted was about a girl who was put under a curse where she had to follow orders of what anybody told her. For most of my life I was a slave to my fears “I did this wrong, I will get cancer ” or “I didn’t pray the right way, I’m going to die in my sleep” etc.
One of the main concepts of the Bible that has helped me cope with my OCD is “Laboring in to the Rest”.
In context, God poured all the punishment for sin on Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Because of that we are now under Grace , or “mercy or unmerited favor”. Due to that we no longer have to “do stuff” to earn favor from God. We can “rest”. My OCD made me feel like God was going to punish me every time I sinned. I had to pray over and over again or else “blank” would happen. I finally came across a sermon, in which Romans 4:8 in the Bible was discussed. Romans 4:8 says “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin”. This part of the Bible was written in Greek. In Greek, the “will not” in Romans 4:8 is “ou me” which is a double negative, never, never. It is the strongest way to say something won’t happen. So with that context the Romans 4:8 is saying when you accept Jesus as your savior, it is not possible for God to punish you for sin. God poured out all his punishment for sin on his son Jesus. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Romans 8:38–8:39 says that there is nothing that can “separate us from God’s love”
What some people may not know is that the Bible is one of the first books to teach “the law of attraction”.(What we think, we attract)
The Bible says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”(Proverbs 23:7. The Bible also says that faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is similar to the law of attraction, but just believing that God will make it happen and that he is at the root of it.
I have also learned in the Bible, 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and of a sound mind. “ Fear does not come from God, and we are supposed to face our fears head on.
OCD is similar to Freddy Kruger, from the movie “Nightmare on Elm Street”, who kills people in their dreams. His powers were solely based on his victims fears. The more people were afraid of him, the stronger he got. Once people were not afraid of him, his strength was gone. Breaking the habit of OCD means to face your fears. When I was doing a “ritual” I was taking the place of God. God wants us rely on him only, to get rid of that fear naturally. Due to my OCD as well as the last two years I have had to face losing what means the most to me as as well as facing the fear of death, and it has only made me stronger.
This “testimony” doesn’t even cover the weekly battles in which God has helped me. Every time I am having trouble with my OCD, I pray to God for an answer and then will go listen to a sermon. After the prayer the sermons usually speak specifically to whatever worry or fear that my OCD is causing. Due to that , I have faith that no matter what the fear is, God will get me through because he already has on so many occasions.
So the message of the Bible is that God took care of everything we need in life already, and that we don’t have to “do anything” to get God to do something or make something happen or get rid of something. This doesn’t mean don’t do anything to better yourself but just don’t do something out of fear, or worry because usually this is how my OCD creeps in. When you try to do a “ritual” to get rid of a fear or worry, it feeds the OCD. When you feed into a fear of OCD , it makes the OCD stronger.
Within the last year or so, while watching a sermon online, the preacher spoke on the false mentality that people have, which is If I don’t do this.. this will happen”. Month’s later another preacher I was listening to talked about that same mentality. That mentality is basically how my OCD thoughts are. It’s almost like a math equation, that I plug my fears into. If my thoughts are “if I don’t do this then this will, happen”, that means it is my OCD. I’ve learned that you don’t have to do anything to get God to do anything, we are supposed to totally rely on Gods favor not on our own efforts. When I was 18 and my OCD was just as severe, my doctors upped my dosage from 25 mg to 200 mg within a matter of months. If I were aware of the concept of “laboring into the rest”, I would have never even needed the drastic increase in medicine. Every disease is different, I am not saying don’t take medicine, this is just my experience.
I am currently working for an organization as program associate for low-income women who battle chronic illnesses. During my time there, I have gotten to know some of the women fairly well. One woman there, shared with me how she was born with HIV and given away at birth. She also got cancer at the age of 20. We have talked about our faith in God, and what she says that keeps her going is knowing that “there is always light at the end of the tunnel.” On the surface it may seems so simple, but to hear it from somebody who has been fighting for her life since birth, gives me hope.
If anybody reading this is battling something, I strongly encourage you to get help. There are a few years I can not get back, because I chose to suffer in silence due to shame and fear of what my family would think, as well as being labeled crazy. Therefore it is extremely important to go get the help you need. I had been battling OCD for so long without a true relationship with God. Now that I have a started relationship with God, there is no fear or worry, God can not help me get through. If my faith has been able to help me cope with something so random and rare as OCD, I guarantee God can help anybody with whatever they are going through.