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  • Writer's pictureKathleen Kaczmarek

Religious OCD - Scrupulosity "The Doubting Disease"

Let the Journey Begin!

Though I didn’t fully realize it at the time, religious OCD is exactly what I went through. The fear of the unpardonable sin due to scary unwanted blasphemous thoughts invading my mind, obsession with sin, the constant fear of falling into sin, the fear of being evil or of giving in and becoming evil, the fear of being unknowingly guilty of some fault, the fear that I wasn’t really forgiven, the fear of losing my faith or that I didn’t have enough faith, the fear of not knowing when or if I had done good enough, the persistent fear of losing my salvation and of going to hell, the fear of my weaknesses and imperfections, the fear of potential future failures (How could I guarantee I was not going to fall in the future?), obsession with my spiritual performance and with the need to witness with excellence, obsession with doctrine, along with all the common emotions; extreme fear and anxiety, panic attacks along with countless sleepless or restless nights.

Anything could trigger the panic attacks. I had to be so careful. Opening my Bible was a great risk to take for fear that I would fall on any “woe to you!”, “brood of vipers!” or any account of judgment or hell. Guilt and Condemnation were my all-too-familiar companions even when I couldn’t really pinpoint the wrong I had done. Going to church was also many times triggering the attacks. Any preaching against sin that sounded the least condemning—any messages could cause me to doubt my right standing with God or my salvation.

From the time God revealed to me the root cause of my fears, it took me three to four years before I could enjoy God and my Christian walk on a more consistent basis again. Now, I have learned how to maintain my freedom through trust, dependence and reliance on God, sound doctrine, the Word of God, proper spiritual warfare and through love. This page is intended to be a source of inspiration, teaching, empowerment and help—joining you and assisting you on your journey toward complete recovery from religious OCD. You are not alone. The goal is to share with you the revelation knowledge God gave me—God delivered me and literally counselled me back to wholeness. The truths included in this page have changed my life and I believe that, as you faithfully study and apply them, they can absolutely transform your life too.

Now, before I continue, please allow me to interject right here and encourage you to read through this blog as well as the next couple of blogs before jumping to the blogs specifically addressing the root cause of religious OCD. I know how desperate we can become to receive immediate relief when under the horrors of scrupulosity, but I also know how important it is to take time to digest much needed spiritual truths to build a strong and solid foundation that will help us in the future. Because there is so much to be explained and such a depth surrounding what God revealed to me with respect to the root cause of scrupulosity, I chose to reserve a couple of blogs on the subject.

Your brain isn’t stuck on some sticky tracks with no way out. No, instead, the tracks can be reshaped by the intervention of our wonderful Helper and Friend, the Holy Spirit, and by the renewal of your mind (see Romans 12:2). The solution to your freedom from scrupulosity is to cry out to God for help, depend on Him, cooperate with Him and then know the truth and renew your belief system with it by hearing the Word, believing the Word and doing the Word. It will take time and a lot of hard work, a work that is empowered by the Holy Spirit within. As you persist, your thoughts will begin to align with the truth and your feelings will eventually catch up. I also understand that the idea of spending lots of time in the Word of God may be frightening to you because, oftentimes, bible verses trigger the fear and anxiety. As we deal with the root cause of OCD, however, those fears will slowly dissipate as you learn to read the Word through proper lenses. Remember, the Gospel is the Good News, not the bad news. The root cause of religious OCD has caused you to see it as extremely distressing bad news.

In order to experience freedom from religious OCD, it is important to stop identifying ourselves with it. In a way, I am so glad I didn’t really realize I was suffering from religious OCD when I cried out to God for help. That way, I didn’t have to deal with all sorts of opinions, beliefs, theories and reasoning on the matter. Especially the part about having some kind of brain malfunction. God never showed me once about a brain glitch, or anything physically wrong with me, even though I was an extreme case. I am glad I hadn’t read anything from people saying we were born with this “chronic mental illness” and with medication and treatment, we could learn to decrease the symptoms and cope with OCD and manage it the best we can. I am so glad I didn’t have to deal with these beliefs and as a result, hinder the hope of full and complete deliverance and restoration. As a matter of fact, God never mentioned the terms “religious OCD”, “scrupulosity” or “the doubting disease”, once. He never led me to anything related to any of these topics for help, support, education, guidance or treatment. He did however, plainly revealed to me the root of my fears and provided a way of escape. For some reason, I only began a more extensive research on religious OCD after God had set me free from its root cause.

As far as what we are talking about in this page, persisting dreadful thoughts, especially when the thoughts are not directly related to anything specific going on in our lives, arise from deep seated erroneous beliefs. In upcoming blogs, I reveal the illegitimate power behind those false beliefs in the believer’s life. Additionally, these alarming thoughts can also be triggered and/or fueled by the spirit of fear. As we yield to God, renew our belief system and learn to walk in love, these contrary thoughts will eventually stop. And if they pop up every so often, just like they may for non-religious OCD sufferers, because we know and believe the truth, they will not cause us to panic and fall into extreme fear, anxiety and despair. Instead, we will learn why we don’t need to fear when they pop up and to quickly and effectively deal with them and move on, just like a non-religious OCD sufferer would.

Let us begin. But before we do, let us pray together and invite the Lord into our journey, acknowledging Him and confessing that, on our own, none of us can deliver ourselves from anything and that if we ever want to be free, He will need to do it.

Lord, I ask You to help me. I ask You to remove the religious veils from my eyes so I can know You and know the truth. I ask You to open my understanding to the truth of your Word. I ask You to give me revelations that will set me free because You said in Your Word that if I hold to Your teaching, I will know the truth and the truth will set me free (John 8:31-32). Deliver me completely from the root cause of religious OCD; from every trace, shape and form of it. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation and renew a right spirit within me that I may praise You again. In Jesus’ name, amen.

―Kathleen Kaczmarek

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