Thursday, July 11, 2013

This Disease Called Perfection

Hey Friend,

Today, I am writing to myself because I am struggling.  Though this is a sort of therapeutic journal writing, I hope you can listen in and perhaps glean something from my ramblings?!

I have mentioned that I suffer from ocd (an anxiety disorder).  When most people think of ocd they think of people who compulsively clean or wash their hands.  In some ways I wish that were the case because my house would be a lot more tidy than what it is.  Instead I have a form that attacks the very thing I care about most - my relationship with God and His precious word.

I was reading a devotion yesterday that spoke about not worrying and not being anxious about anything.  These are definite "trigger" words for me.  My inner dialogue went something like this: " Oh no, I am not able to follow God's word on not being anxious perfectly.  I get anxious and do worry at times.  God must be disappointed in me.  I have to try harder to follow his word to the tee.  Others don't worry and cast their cares on the Lord...why can't I.  I'm never going to be able to get this right..."  And on it goes until my heart is racing, my blood pressure rises and I am scared out of my mind because I am sinning. And the really insidious part is that these negative thoughts obsessively repeat themselves over and over again in my brain and I can't stop them.  It really is torture!

You may be reading this and think...that's really crazy Bev.  Well, yeah it IS crazy.  Thus the reason it is categorized as a mental illness.  The neurons in my brain are not firing the right way and I get caught up in obsessing about thoughts that others are able to let roll off their backs.  It's a vicious cycle.

The first step is to Acknowledge a few things.  First, there are so many verses written in the Bible about fear and anxiety, not because God is going to condemn us if we fear or are anxious, but because God knows that we are going to be fearful and anxious at times.  He created us with the ability to experience those feelings.  He does, however, want us to "cast our cares upon Him". He also knows that we will not be "perfect" at casting our cares.  We may give them up for awhile, but then we often take them back to mull over them again ourselves.

For He himself knows our frame.  He is mindful that we are but dust.  (Psalm 103:14)

In essence, God knows our constitution.  He knows we are going to screw up and miss the mark.  After all He created us.  He knows us better than anyone.

He also knows that we are going to sin.  We will do the things we don't want to do.  But God, in his loving way provides a solution to our sin problem.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (1 John 1:9)

When I do feel like I have screwed up and have sinned...God provides a way for me.  I feel my heart beat a little slower when I realize that even if I have sinned, God tells me if I confess my sins, then He will purify me. I don't have to be perfect.

I also take comfort in the fact that I am not alone. 

We have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.  (Isaiah 53:6)

I am not the only "dumb sheep" that has gone astray.  I am in good company.  Maybe it's "miserable" company, but I know that I am not alone. 

The second thing, I believe, God would have me know is that I live under Grace not Legalism.  If I could do everything perfectly on my own, I would have absolutely no need for a Savior.  Every time I read scripture and feel a rush of condemnation, I need to remember that is precisely why I need a Savior because I can't follow the scripture perfectly on my own. It brings me back to a dependence on God and the grace poured out on me through Christ's blood.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God..." (Ephesians 2:8)

My heart calms a little more when I realize that I am under Grace and am not tied to the old covenant of the law.  Even better...the faith in God's grace is not something I have to muster up on my own; it is a gift of God.

Last of all the biggest "cure" for the condemnation that comes with perfectionistic thinking is grace in knowing Christ as my Savior.  This last verse is my mantra at times.  When the condemnation of the ocd weighs heavily on me I may often have to say this verse many, many times to combat the hundreds of times the condemning thought goes round in my brain.

Therefore, there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  (Romans 8:1)

I feel the anxiety diffusing.  It's not gone, but it's better.  Thank you for letting me write to myself this week.  I pray that there is something? you can take away from my struggle.  Though I hate this illness, I am grateful that it always brings me back to an utter dependence on God which is where he would have me be.  Grace and peace to you my friend. You don't have to be perfect...God loves you just where you are.




  1. Hi, Bev--I "stumbled upon" your blog from today's link on Holley Gerth's post. (I'm SO glad that God orchestrated my "stumbling"!)

    Your "ramblings" regarding your struggle with OCD, especially as they relate to remembering that, through God's grace, we are totally forgiven and declared "righteous" in Him, is my biggest challenge also!!

    This past week, I too, have felt depressed--unworthy, misunderstood, and emotionally far from God's grace and those closest to me who are unaware of my heart's cry--or simple don't care.

    Thank you for helping me refocus on the TRUTH of God's Word! The passages you quoted are favorites of mine--why, oh why, does the Accuser attempt to drive them away from my memory at my time of biggest need?!

    Together, we overcome with Jesus, who has already proclaimed Victory for you and for me! I join you in praising HIM!


    1. RoseAnn,
      I'm so glad, too, that God orchestrated your stumbling upon my post. Your words so encouraged me and lifted me up! You are indeed a gift to me today my new friend! Together, let's proclaim our worthiness and righteousness in Christ and put the enemy in his place!

    2. Thank you, my "new" dear friend! Isn't it wonderful how God brings us together in one family from so many locations and perceptions--often with baggage that we are not willing to "leave at the curb" and throw out completely. I often set out my emotional "trash," only to pick it up again" whenever the going gets tough. For me, it usually begins as the "blame game" which, according to my misguided rules, always begins with me being "IT," accepting the blame for any and all misfortune--leading to the pit of guilt!

      Reality check needed pronto: God has already "won the game" of life for us! Because of HIm, we already are "WINNERS" whose prize is eternal life with Him AND peace and joy, on this earth--and here's the caveat--AS we allow God's Spirit to saturate us with the WORD, proclaiming "Victory in Christ."

      To truly experience this, I'm realizing that we must rid ourselves of perfectionism. (Hmm...I still struggle with this! For instance, after proof-reading my earlier reply, several times, I now notice that I meant to say "simply" instead of "simple" in the third paragraph!) Why does a "single letter mistake" make we feel so inadequate and frustrated?!!

      And then I hear God's "still small voice" lovingly say, "It's OK, my child, I love you just the same in your imperfection as I will when you are living free of sin in heaven in eternal bliss. Wow! Now that's a beautiful truth to cling to--and when needed--throw in the Accuser's face!!

      Thank you, Bev, Lisa, and Kristen for helping me on our mutual journey of living "under Grace and not Legalism"!


    3. RoseAnn,
      Sounds like we both struggle with a lot of the same issues! I can so relate to what you have to say. With regard to Guilt, you need to go back in my archives to a post on Feb. 28 entitled, "Guilt- Not So Special Delivery". I'm great at being "It" in the guilt blame game, but God would have us do otherwise. Let us all stick together and live under the umbrella of grace! ((Hugs)) Bev

    4. Thanks, again, Bev! I'll try to read your February 28th post as soon as possible. Today has been one of those "catch up" days! :-/


  2. Bev,
    As always, perfect timing in your writings! This week for me, too, has been a struggle....and for many of the same reasons! Thank you for writing these words and redirecting me to God's WORDS on this subject. They are all such helpful verses! And, i agree with you and RoseAnn, let's put the enemy in his place!
    We don't have time for him and we ARE victorious in Christ, alone!

    1. Lisa,
      Thanks girl for your unconditional love and support. We shall persevere together and tell the creep to get lost! I second that we ARE victorious!! ((Hugs)) Bev

  3. Love your truth telling here, Bev. You always keep it real, and in return we really want to keep reading.

    I think there's (at least) a little of this in many of us. I'm dwelling on these words tonight:
    "God would have me know is that I live under Grace not Legalism."

    Amen. And thank you.

    1. Thanks, Kristen, for your encouragement to keep it real...I don't know how else to be! I know we all struggle with these concepts to some degree. Glad you found a nugget of truth to dwell on. With love and thanks (and one of these days I'll figure out how to get your "Out of the Blue" banner on my post! Bev

  4. You are not alone my friend! I've been thinking of you since reading this the other day but didn't have the chance to comment at that time. I love your honesty and I love your knowledge of scripture. I want to be able to have these verse come quicker for me in those times when sin is enticing me. Thank you for this reminder ---> "You don't have to be perfect...God loves you just where you are."
    Bev, I'd also love for you to guest post at my place if that is something you would be willing to do. You can email me at
    Love you. (((hugs)))

  5. I'm at a similar place in life. My anxiety issues were gone for awhile - I went off Celexa in November after much prayer. No withdrawal symptoms at all. And now, here it is August and I find myself making an appointment to talk to the dr. about going back on the Celexa. No amount of prayer, praise, self-talk, etc. has helped me get through it. It's not as bad as it was 3 years ago when I first found myself in that state of awareness where I knew I'd had a problem all along. It's been hard for me to combat feelings of being a spiritual failure this week and just say - God I need help and this right now is how I am seeking it. In addition to praying and praising and talking to fellow believers.

    I'd appreciate your prayers. I don't want to be making a wrong decision. I don't want medication to be a crutch. I'd love to be free of it and not have to use medication but right now I have to admit I'm not there. Boy is that hard.

    Thank you for your honesty and transparency. You are helping minister God's grace and healing more than you know.

  6. Karla,
    I hope you read my response to you on my "Fear Not" post. I can't reiterate enough that needing medicine is not a crutch and it doesn't mean that you are a spiritual failure. I can appreciate how you feel that way...I too, dealt with a lot of those feelings until a Christian counselor reminded me that God can work to heal us through doctors and through medicine. Our brains are lacking a key chemical component that "normal" brains have and I have come to learn to thank God that there is something that can restore my brain to a normally functioning brain. Not that I don't ever have flare ups, I do, but I feel like I am living life as God would have me "have life and have it to the fullest". Be easy on matter to God and to me!

  7. I hadn't seen your response but will go look now. Thank you for taking the time to respond so quickly and lovingly.

    I did go to see my doctor today. He's an amazing gift from God to our family and all of his patients and I'm grateful he serves the same God I do.
    He said the same thing you did - it's a good tool and we need to use the tools we are given when we need them. I got my Rx after work and will take my first 1/2 dose (for 2 weeks then up to the regular) tonight at bed.

    It's funny because I feel hopeful again for the first time in awhile. I'm printing these posts and replies for future reference.

    Blessings to you my new friend! I am eager to read your blog and see all that God does in and through you. I believe He led me here "for such a time as this."

    1. Karla,
      I wrote to you at my "Fear Not" post...See you there!
      Bev XO


I would really LOVE to hear from you!! Your thoughts, opinions, suggestions and prayer requests mean a lot to me.