• Kathleen Kaczmarek

Night before Dawn

Religious OCD was not a representation of my beginnings with God. I was born again in 2001. Prior to my conversion, I was a professed atheist. However, the moment I chose to give Christianity a sincere chance, I believed! Literally, peace and joy flooded my soul. Within months, God called me into the ministry. I was on fire for God, and I was so hungry for Him. I loved Him. Everyone at work knew I was a Christian. I would witness to my family members, my friends, my colleagues, and even strangers. As time went by, however, I began to lose the joy of my salvation over the sterile quest of a perfect spiritual performance.

Some messages I heard at church made me feel guilty. I wanted to please God and to do what was right. Over time, I became burdened with my weaknesses and with my need to improve. As a result, I felt I had to try harder to be like Jesus and eventually found myself

obsessed with my sins, my failures and with all the “Christian standards” I felt I had to measure up to. More and more, I began to lose my joy, but most importantly to me, I began to lose my peace, until the day came when I found myself in one of the darkest pits I ever thought existed. This is when I hit rock bottom. I became literally terrorized by torturous and obsessive thoughts day and night. As time went by, I grew worse until fear, anxiety and panic attacks became my constant companions. Guilt and condemnation were abiding. I suffered from countless sleepless nights as I obsessed over my fear to sin or as I tried to make sense of the grace of God. Church messages such as “Repent!” “Live holy!” “Get right!” made me cringe. The torment I was under was excruciating. Oh, how tormented I was over all the dos and don’ts I thought I had to keep in order to be acceptable to God: “What will happen if I die while experiencing jealousy?”, “What will happen if I die just after giving in to pride but don’t have time to repent?”, “What will happen if I die the moment I lose my temper?”, or “I must be a good witness!” were the familiar records playing in my head.

I remember one night, the Lord showed me the condition of my mind. In the dream, I saw myself and the assistant pastor of our church. Then, I saw my head . . . but really it was my mind that I was seeing, or the condition of my mind. The entire area was red, like with fire. This was when I said to the assistant pastor, “Unless God saves me I cannot be saved.” That was the dream. Through that dream, God showed me my entire mind was sick and only He could save it. Only He could save me. It was a very troubling dream. After all, just consider for a moment being told by God your entire head is sick with not even one tiny spot of it being right. This is how the apostle Paul put it in 2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” I certainly was a helpless case apart from Him. But that is exactly it, apart from Him. The next day, I fell on my knees and cried out to God, for God Himself had declared me a helpless case, unless of course, I was going to trust Him to deliver me. That day, I asked Him to have mercy on me and to save me. I am not referring to my being born again, for I had been born again for many years by that time. Nevertheless, God had said that unless He saved me, particularly referring to the condition of my mind, I couldn’t be saved.

What had happened? Why had I lost the joy of my salvation? Where was the childlike faith and innocence I once had? What was the root cause of all this extreme fear and anxiety that mercilessly plagued my life? Work became hard; church became hard; home became hard. . . life became hard. Nights were horrible.

In the next couple of blogs, I will elaborate in detail on the root cause of religious OCD and the illegitimate power behind it. In the meantime, rest assured that God loves you and that He has your deliverance all planned out.

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