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Re: Struggling to feel worthy of God's love

Posted by temoigneur on March 5, 2005, at 3:13:31

In reply to Struggling to feel worthy of God's love, posted by Chris O on January 31, 2005, at 19:52:36

> I have been trying to connect/reconnect with God for the past year. I feel like connecting with God is key to healing my OCD/GAD and depression. I have been using the Bible/Christianity as a means to doing this, making the connection. It is hard for me to approach God thru Christianity, as I have so much fear/anxiety /feelings of unworthiness inside of me already, and I find some of the passages and teachings in the Bible to be very harsh and frightening. In addition, I struggle greatly with the way Christianity was framed for me through my family, in a very fear-based, shame-based way.
> Nevertheless, I have faith, I think, somewhere inside of me, that approaching God thru Christ is the way to salvation, and I am just... trying to connect to the living, the real God. Anyway, I have a couple of issues plaguing me: First, matter what I, how I cognitively approach God through the Bible, I feel inadequate. A lot of times, when I read the Bible, it moves me toward a place of panic. This is especially true when I read something prescriptive, say, from the New Testament, that I am not supposed to feel/think, I find myself trying to scare myself by feeling/thinking it. For example, when I read in Mathew last summer that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit was an unforgivable sin, I found myself thinking blasphamous thoughts and I drove myself into psychotic like panic and into the ER--I didn't want to do this, or at least I don't think I wanted to do this, but it just seems like my brain, well, if it encounters something scary, it will dwell there, in an effort to scare me to a panic. It's like, "Oh, you can't do/say/feel that, eh? So, I'm going to do/say/feel it to make you have a panic attack." It's mostly thoughts I struggle with in this area, not actions or words.
> Another issue I struggle with is: Lately, over the past year, or before I had my ER psychosis/ panic attack last summer, I think I was becoming addicted to pornography. I don't know if I met some clinical definition of being addicted to pornography, but, at any rate, I felt really guilty about it, and I felt like, what I was doing was "wrong" and "unhealthy" even from a humanistic or secular standpoint. However, when I approach pornography through the veil of Christianity, I feel very very guilty. I'm writing this because I just had an "event", where I looked at pornography, I "gave in" to my urgers. I guess I just worry: Can God forgive me for looking at pornography? I know this probably sounds silly to some people here...but.... And then...I get confused...because I know I have so much guilt inside from my mother in relationship to my sexual feelings...I was just so repressed as a teenager (I'm 37 now), and, I don't want to use this as an excuse, but I sometimes feel that my looking at pornography is very much related to that. I can't say that porn makes me feel good; it often makes me feel horrible, but it's like a distraction. It's like a drug.
> Anyway, I have been praying a lot over the past year, trying to talk to God. Sometimes I feel a sense of peace, but most of the time I just feel guilty, or like God is angry at me. I am seeing a Christian therapist, and she tells me that my feelings seem more related to GAD/OCD than anything else, so that is of much comfort to me. I just hope God realizes that I am trying, that I love Him, that I want to be with Him, and that I wish my mental illness, or the ease with which I sin, could be taken away, and that I could do His will on this Earth, whatever He wants me to do.
> Anyway, thanks for listening.
> Chris

Hi, Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, it's so nice to know I'm not alone. I have severe OCD/GAD/PD, and I used to almost live in torment over the 'm' word issue. Every week in church there was an altar call to go up to the front, and confess your sins. I felt so strongly convicted that I should go, but never did until I was on heavy medication, I thought that I was demon possessed, and I'd go into a spastic rage if I got out of my seat to go confess my 'sin' at the altar. I would leave week after week with such crippling guilt. I was hospitalized years later, this past Nov.. While in the hospital a good christian friend came up to me and talked candidly about sex, and shared his struggles, and that of friend's. i wanted to leave you with a website - I don't know if you know James Dobson, but he said that he didn't think God would give males this powerful urge than damn them for acting on it; he's not advocating pornography, he's just saying most males do need some form of physical release, I wish I had this site when I was a teenager..

I struggled so badly to feel acceptable, and worthy of anything good, it was aweful, th only thing that has helped has been a sedating medication, - clomipramine, but there was a book I read by a renown theologan from a respected school, his name is Lewis Smedes, the book was called "Shame and Grace, healing the shame we don't deserve" I would give it 4 1/2 stars, one thing he says is one common myth that ruins so many lives is that "you have to earn joy before you can receive it" he says, "If you have to wait till you earn it, you'll never get it" Sounds so irresponsible some ways, and unfair, why do some people feel this joy, while we scrape as the shrill sound of fingernails on a chalkboard, to feel worthy to stay alive. This man is really empathetic, and wrote so much I can relate to - the different kind of people susceptible to shame, - how some of the worlds 'hero's' we're driven by feelings of unworthiness - Winston Churchill, etc.

If you can get that book, it's wonderful. Al the best,





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