Just wondering if some of you could share your experience. It is something I have struggled with for years, doubts about my salvation, not being able to pray the "right" way, repeating prayers over and over because I feared God didn't hear them because my heart or mind wasn't quite in the right place. I also repeatedly think about past sins and ask forgiveness over and over because I worry I didn't do it right the first time. I doubt my salvation because I always worry that I missed some crucial "step" in my salvation experience, which is ridiculous, because I believe in free grace and everything. If there was a "step" I missed, that would be a works based salvation, which I don't believe in anyway! I was very young when I was saved, raised in church, and have great Christian parents. My mom shows alot of the same tendencies that I do, though. I never thought about religious OCD until a former pastor told me I was a textbook case when I went to him to discuss my doubts.
Christianity has brought alot of piece and joy to my life, but I also need to learn how to get rid of these doubts and obsessions so I can be a more productive Christian. I often feel like "I can't do it right anyway so why even bother" even though I KNOW I believe that Christ makes up for my shortcomings. Why is there this disparity between what I believe and what goes on in my head?
Anyone who's struggled similarly, I'd love to hear from you. Just so you know "changing religions" is absolutely NOT an option to me. How do I get past the constant nagging doubting obsessions to really enjoy my faith the way other people do?????
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005
I kinda know how you feel , i used to say my prayers over and over every night, i thought the more times i said it , better chance of it coming true. I believe in God but sometimes i feel guilty is my mind says what if there isnt? then i think did God hear that and start to feel guilty. To me what i believe is right, so i doubt know why sometimes my mind things others things and this is one subject that my OCD does bother me most. Iknow he can hear the first prayer so why say more?
While I'm not a born again Christian, I can say that's a classic symptom of OCD. One which I have also suffered from. Even that I'm very much better now, I still find myself saying some of the meorized prayer repetitions in the back of my mind.
Proper OCD therapy and possibly medication has worked for many. For me, I did some major soul searching and decided that the God I believe I know is very just and compassionate. He would know my true heart and intentions, and understand human nature's mistakes and doubts and "mind-slips". I'm not sure how this idea could tie in with your faith, but maybe that will help some if you don't wish to pursue therapy just yet. I hope this helped some.
Rark, that's exactly what I believe in my heart about the nature of God. That's the frustrating thing, is why does my mind do this to me??? I believe that God won't let me "accidently" lose my soul if I'm seeking His will. I know deep down. But for some reason I still struggle with all the "what if's".
Pillow, I used to have the same fear all the time. Where "what if God doesn't exist?" would just pop into my head when I was trying to pray and then I'd think "Oh my goodness, I know God heard that!!" And I'd have to ask forgiveness about a million times. It would get to the point that I wouldn't even want to pray because I'd have these constant intrusive or doubting thoughts everytime I was trying to pray, and I felt like I was "messing up" and "missing something" everytime I prayed.
It's nice to know other people feel this way too!
DS born 07/05/2003
DD born 3/24/2005
Thats how feel about God if he knows everything then he will know where my heart is and that i have a problem , it is wierd that some of the thoughts come from no where and your like MAN what made me think that because i dont believe it. Yes i am glad there is others out there like me =) what is wierd seems like alot of everyones OCD's are the same as alot of peoples. I used to just think i was wierd and like hmmm why was i thinking that and that no could ever have the same thing as me when it came to God =/
I had exactly your problem. The only thing that helped me was medication. It took about 10 weeks to work but it was worth the wait. Once the meds start working you have absolutely no desire to think sacriligious stuff and if you do think it you realize that it's just your ocd and not really from your heart. It's hard to explain how different you feel when you star getting better.
There was a book that helped me too. It is all about religious obsessions and it's called, The Doubting Disease. I don't remember who wrote it but you can order it from any large bookstore. It mentions that Martin Luther was an OCD sufferer.
Best of luck and God bless you,
I used to be Christian, and I think the OCD is what made me give it all up. I always worried that I wasn't saved and when I'd pray for salvation, I'd worry that I had the wrong words or the wrong feelings or motives.
Then I'd pray the same thing over and over, same words each time. It was really too much for me, so I just quit. I didn't know it could be something like OCD at the time, though. I just thought my faith was weak. Now I don't know what to do, exactly.
Siren--I'm glad to hear that you realize that God would forgive you for silly notions in your mind which you neither control nor believe. I know what you mean that even in spite of this knowledge, the worry is still there. That's the thing about OCD--you realize the obsession/compulsion is entirely illogical but simply can't shake it.
Perhaps try this: Because you KNOW that you won't get in any trouble for these ridiculous thoughts...just allow them to happen. Take the "risk" that you know is not a risk. You are well aware that God will "forgive" you (though there technically is nothing to forgive in the first place, right?). It might make you a little tense and peak your worries at first, but I found that the desire to follow through with more unneeded prayer went away relatively quickly. Sadly, other obsessions and compulsions eventually continue to slide their way into my life when I'm not looking, so to speak, but I generally try the same approach each time.
Hi! I am new to this site and noticed that you were having problems with salvation. I have been struggling with this same thing and wonder if you are online right now(siren 1024). I would like to see if you have some the same problems that I do.
Siren1024, I am a born again Christian as is my husband and three daughters.
Last summer, my daughter who was 19 at the time, went through something similar to what you are describing. She questioned God so much, that she drove herself crazy wondering why she was questioning him because she knew darned well she had been saved and was a believer. Her obsession with this got so bad that she lost weight, had to quit her job and had uncontrolled fits of crying. Her EVERY thought, stemmed around religion and her questions about God and salvation. These thoughts overcame her mind to the point of near breakdown.
For my daughter, one of the biggest helps, was talking to us about it. Her obsession became OUR obsession. We were determined to help her through this time and we did this with lots of prayer. In addition to prayer, there was a book, which was also in cassette form, that was recommended to her, that she listened to that helped her TREMENDOUSLY. I know I can't post the name of the book here but if there is some way I could write to you privately, I would be more than happy to give you the name.
Please know that it is not God's will for you to have this OCD. Remember, the enemy can infiltrate and distort our thoughts. He's a LIAR and will tell you you are not saved even though you know you are. He will tell you that God didn't hear your prayers just so that you will doubt yourself. Be strong, use scripture against him as Jesus did when he was tempted by Satan in the desert.
Remember, Christians have the God given authority to tell Satan to get lost. When I find myself turning from things which I know are not in line with my Christianity, I just say, "beat it, Jesus is my savior, not you" LOL, and for any of you unbelievers out there, don't knock it until you've tried it. It really works.
I believe you are allowed to post the name of the book and Author and your personal comments on it but nothing more.
Also, how is your daughter doing now? Is she on medication?
My son, at 16 year of age had very severe problems like your daughter about things concerning God, Salvation, consant questioning, doubting, needing reassurance constantly, praying endlessly, crying , depression and we went into Church and had to undergo counseling at which we were referred to a Christian in the Psychriatric field who got us the help we needed. We use some meds and a course by Lucinda Basset called "Attacking anxiety and depression" and have had tremendous success.
These types of thoughts are due to a chemical imbalance and that is something that is very hard sometimes for Christians to understand. The devil is not really a part of it any more than he is a part of diabetes. That thought alone to one who suffers from OCD can actually cause greater obsession. What you have to be concerned about is the affect on the physical body. When my son had OCD obsessions and anxiety/stress his Blood pressure would shoot UP and I am sure that other sufferers have their own symptoms to be sure. When we got everything under control it dropped into optimal ranges like 110/70.
This is not to scare anyone, I pray, as OCD just tends to be this way like any other condition.
OCD is a medical condition that needs help and it CAN be treated successfully.
I hope your daughter is O.K., conditions like this are very hard on families. They can literally consume everyones time and energy and are very trying. I have more compassion than I ever had for others now that I experienced this in my own family.
Also I wanted to say that we took the praying route at first. And I mean I would lay my hands n my son and pray for him during some of his obsessional struggles. Did it help? Yes and no.
It helped short term. I would have him get up after I prayed and literally try to "kick" the thought out in a karate type motion. This DID offer him momentarily relief for perhaps an hour or two but then I was right back at it again, and again, and again.
It wasn't until he looked at me and I saw the tremendous fear in his eyes when he cried that I got him professional help.
He is now 100% MOST of the time. And that means 99% of the time. We now go to Church again, in peace and confidence.
All it took was 75-100 Mg. of Anafranil before he goes to bed and the course I mentioned and some thought rearranging (therapy), like recognizing these thoughts as "junk mail" and refocussing.
He loves his guitar as well which is good therapy.
I consider myself a Christian, but my OCD causes me to have lots of strange thoughts. Sometimes I have horrible thoughts of things to terrible to mention. I think I might cause someone to be injured or killed, but I know in my mind that my thoughts can't make that happen to someone, but I can't stop the thoughts. Anyone else like this? Please let me know!!!
I have thoughts like this also, and I would love to talk to you more.
Are you referring to me? If you are what could I help you with? I am by far not an expert but I have learned a number of things these these past nearly 2 years.
My son had the same thoughts as you as wanting to hurt someone or himself or of things to terrible to mention. The medication helped him get control of the "symptoms" and thus the thoughts were not nearly as severe or almost become non-existant.
The course I mentioned in an earlier post has helped him with the "What if" thinking and negative and intrusive thoughts. But everything combined has restored him to nearly 100%.
Relaxation tapes that you can get from the library can help as well.
Are you seeing a doctor or taking medication?
Now, as to these "intrusive"thoughts what you want to do is recognize them for just that. Have they ever hurt you before? Nope.
How can they hurt you now?
My son often has said "Oh, those are just some internal thoughts" and then he refocusses on something else and does not give those thoughts power. After a bit they just pass naturally.
Recognize and picture them as "junk mail" if you will to be cast into the trash and focus on good mail.
Sister3, I would be interested in the name of the book. Everytime someone mentions a book that could be helpful I try to take note.
I consider myself a Christian, but my OCD causes me to have lots of strange thoughts. Sometimes I have horrible thoughts of things to terrible to mention.
I feel like this too. I sometimes have reoccuring sacrilegious thoughts. Sometimes I think to myself, well obviously I thought it at some point to get it into my head? Then I feel guilty about it and it seems like it decides to be on replay every so often. I mean sometimes I have some bad thoughts that started years ago. It's really annoying. I feel like I need to reprogram my mind to have never thought it to begin with. I try to tell myself to think of other things, disregard it. It's not always easy, especially with the guilt associated with thinking it to begin with. I know your thoughts may be different, but I know what you mean about feeling embarrassed about mentioning them.
I am happy to say that by God's good grace, she never had to go on any medication and she is completely well now. However, we were prepared to seek professional help if something hadn't changed in her soon.
When telling her about this particular post the other day, she mentioned to me that, from time to time, the thoughts and questions come back to her mind but that she is SO much stronger now to resist falling into the trap again.
Jackolantern, the book which helped my daughter is called, "Battlefield Of The Mind" by Joyce Meyer. I suggest you do an online book review and read what some people who have read this book, have to say about it.