- Series: Resources for Changing Lives
- Paperback: 32 pages
- Publisher: P & R Publishing; First edition (March 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0875526985
- ISBN-13: 978-0875526980
- Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.2 x 7.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #327,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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OCD: Freedom for the Obsessive-Compulsive (Resources for Changing Lives) First Edition
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About the Author
Emlet is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
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As a sufferer with OCD, I have spent much time trying to conquer, understand, live with, work through, etc...this illness. I daily wrestle with anxiety, as well as questions about my own personal role/influence on the disease. After over 10 years of suffering, I confidently believe that OCD has a biological basis. Many conservative Christians believe that if you acknowledge the biological basis of OCD, you remove the role of human responsibility and sin. This is an oversimiplified view point that does not take into account the very nuanced struggle that OCD sufferers endure.
Much of what Mike Emlet mentions as heart issues surrounding OCD are accurate: perfectionism, fear of failure, black and white thinking, and the need for control. Yet, these heart issues are reflections of my intrinsic sin, and OCD exacerbates them, not causes them. Does OCD create these desires and sinful tendencies in me? No. I own those completely. Does it compound them by producing brain chemistry that discourages me from letting such anxieties go? Yes. The fact that OCD has spiritual implications does not mean that OCD is a spiritual problem. Like all illnesses, OCD has emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects that play on our tendency towards sin and desire to "leave the God I love".
It's the sufferer's response to OCD that can lead to either the indulgence in or the active fight against sin. And when I say sin, I mean rebellion against and rejection of God's truths. Do I respond to my OCD anxiety with more anxiety, despair, distrust, doubt, and fear? I often respond this way, because let's be honest, it's REALLY hard not to. Emotions are real, even if the source behind them is false! Or do I do my best to live in the anxiety and trust God despite my worry and fear? It's taken me years to even understand that I have this choice. I must daily remind myself that He knows what I struggle with, that He loves me through it all, and that He can even use OCD as a gift for His glory.
Can I better manage my OCD by growing in love and dependence on Christ? Yes. And, can I do this while acknowledging that OCD is biologically based illness with very real spiritual challenges? Yes. I hope that those out there who are struggling with OCD can take comfort in the fact that that there are Christians who understand and sympathize with an illness that is a part of our fallen and imperfect world. I know that as time goes on, many more Christians will learn that illnesses of the brain--a physical, bodily organ, just as prone to illness as the liver, spleen, or heart--are just that, biological challenges that spiritual, emotional, medicinal, relational, and myriad other sources of encouragement can address. And I don't mean cure, though that may very well be possible someday, whether at the hands of a doctor or those of God. Rather, I mean sources that can aid, show compassion for, and by God's mercy, soften, what is a very real and important struggle for many people.