Living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) isn’t fun. It is not something that can be reduced to a basic desire to be clean, tidy, and organized. Those desires are not characteristics of a mental disorder, that’s called being an adult. For the last 10 years I have lived with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; the real OCD and not the fake stuff that we see posted on Instagram and Twitter after we organize our bookshelf. Rather than keeping the dishes washed because that’s the grown up thing to do, the OCD I struggle with is more of washing my hands 5 times after I use the restroom, which for a man with a bladder the size of a walnut is very unfortunate.
Growing up in the Church, I have heard several different sayings that sound good on the surface but really have no biblical merit. I am sure that if you have spent a significant amount of time in a church setting then you know exactly what I am talking about. The most frustrating one that I have heard, one that I have come to loath, is this: I am too blessed to be stressed.
Too blessed to be stressed? Well aren’t you just a special little flower. You mean to tell me that you have never in your life, in all of your years of existence, had a moment when you were so overcome with anxiety that you were unable to process things? Yeah, get out of here with that nonsense. We all struggle with issues of anxiety. There is a reason that the Bible speaks on this topic as much as it does: Because it is a daily struggle for all of us. We all have moments where we get anxious, nervous, sad, depressed, etc. Some of us just deal with this on a higher level than others.
The big reason that I have such an issue with that phrase in particular is that it essentially dilutes the struggles of millions of Christians with legitimate psychological disorders. It says that if you have an actual issue then you are not focusing on the right things. It’s like Joel Osteen decided to become a therapist and start handing out terrible advice.
“Oh you feel the need to check to make sure the stove is off 38 times? Well, brother, you obviously do not have faith in the Lord.”
I have faith in the Lord; that He will protect us from the unlikely event that the air conditioner will kick on and blow a scrap of paper onto the burner, thus igniting the kitchen into a big ball of fire. I also have a chemical imbalance that causes me to worry about that. That does not mean that I do not have faith, or I am not blessed enough, that simply means that God, in His eternal plan, saw fit to give me this particular issue to bring honor and glory to Him, for whatever reason.
I have struggled with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder for the last 10 years. For the first several years after I began noticing symptoms I did my best to deal with them in my own personal way. That all changed when I had stayed awake all night making sure that the door was locked. I knew that it was locked, and I knew that I needed to cast my anxiety onto the Lord, but for some reason I could not help but check the door. I was up for eight hours straight. That was the catalyst that made me realize that I needed to seek professional help in dealing with my problems.
I was under this idea that Christians did not need to seek the help of a professional therapist; that all we needed to do was to cast our cares and worries onto the Lord and that everything would be okay. When I began going to therapy, though, I noticed a change. It seemed like for the first time since I developed symptoms I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The more I went the better I felt, and the better I felt the more I was able to cast my cares and worries onto the Lord. It was what allowed me to finally be able to open up to those that were close to me about what was really going on. Yeah, they knew that I was sad and had a few quirks, but they did not know just how bad it was.
There are countless passages that we see in Scripture that tells us to cast our anxieties onto the Lord. But that is easier said than done. In Psalm 56:3, David writes to the Lord that he will put his trust in Him when he is afraid. David wrote this when he was captured by the Philistines in Gath, so the guy had an obvious reason to be worried. And when we think about our problems compared to the struggles of the Apostles or David, we realize that our problems really aren’t all that bad. But that does not change the fact that they are still problems that cause us worry. And as believers in Christ we recognize that we have Someone that we can go to with our worries and struggles. But sometimes we need someone to help us with that. Some may be too blessed to be stressed, but there are millions of us out there that feel we are too stressed to be blessed. There are millions of brothers and sisters in Christ that have very real problems that they need dealt with.
Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear one another’s burdens, and Romans 12:15 tells us to mourn with those who mourn. It is important that we remember that. Had I not sought out help from a fellow believer, then there is a very real chance that my struggle with OCD and depression would have caused me to take my own life. A fellow believer, who helped bear my burdens, was instrumental in bringing me back from that place in my life.
The Bible says for us to bear one another’s burdens and to mourn with those who mourn because there is power in that. Maybe you are struggling with an issue and you don’t know what to do. Maybe casting your worries onto the Lord isn’t the whole answer, and maybe you need someone to help bear your burdens until you can. If that is you, then please seek help. Trust me when I say that it is not worth it going alone. Talk with your pastor, a friend, someone. It does get better.
Maybe that’s not you. Maybe you are reading this, and you really are too blessed to be stressed. If that is you then I beg you, come along side someone and bear their burdens. You have no idea just how much it can change a terrible situation.