Usually, Thanksgiving is the time of year when we express what we’re thankful for. But, for this post, I decided to be different and discuss a few things I’m not thankful for. Sound depressing? It is…and it isn’t!
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, also known as OCD, affects many people. Some forms of OCD include pulling out hair, ensuring appliances are turned off, checking that doors are locked, washing hands extra carefully, putting away dishes in a particular order…the list goes on. Basically, OCD is about ensuring perfection—ensuring that everything (or one specific thing) is done absolutely perfectly.
Many of us struggle with OCD because we don’t have perfect lives, so we feel like we must ensure one area of our lives is perfect. OCD has manifested itself in lots of ways in my lifetime, and it’s so annoying. I feel a strong urge to fix something, change something, or do something. But no matter how many times I fix it, change it, or do it, the same feeling comes back again and again.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB)
We don’t have to give in to OCD. It’s always a choice. Every time you want to check the oven to make sure it’s turned off…every time you want to grab the scissors and snip your hair…every time you want to re-check the front door to ensure it’s locked…you have a choice. The choice is this: give into OCD and be trapped in obsessive behaviors for your whole life—or cast your anxiety on Him. Because He cares deeply about His child.
I’ve talked about my stress level before and how my stress isn’t going to end until I’m in heaven. I feel stressed by my busy schedule, class assignments, and growing to-do list. I feel stressed by the future and what I’m going to do after college. I feel stressed about a lot of things. We all do.
Like OCD, stress manifests itself in different ways. Some people cry, withdraw, overeat, get angry, or have panic attacks when they feel stressed. We can experience stress because we fill up our schedules with too many activities or because we have poor time management skills. But it’s likely that we experience stress simply because we’re failing to rely on God. Even when I don’t have many assignments during the week, I choose to stress. I fail to trust God, and I feel exhausted by stress.
For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV)
To give full disclosure, this verse is about order in the church as it relates to prophesying. However, I think it can apply to other areas of life, including our stress. God doesn’t command us to be busy or have full schedules. Rather, we choose to be busy and fill up our schedules. We cause unnecessary stress by doing these things, and we always look to ourselves to handle it. But God is the God of peace, and He wants us to trust Him.
3. Satan’s lies
This is, by far, the thing I’m least thankful for. Ever. If Satan wasn’t such a talented liar, OCD, stress, and a plethora of my other issues wouldn’t be issues. It wouldn’t be as hard to believe God loves you, His character is perfect, you belong to Him permanently, and your worth comes from Him.
Thanks to Satan’s lies, I’ve hurt my relationship with God, my family, and myself. I almost ruined my life. We can’t resist the devil because we’re too weak. Instead, we consume his lies like candy and feel defenseless in fighting them. Satan tells me the same lies day after day after day.
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10 NASB)
It feels like the devil has been tormenting me for an eternity, but I can smile when I read this verse. Satan—who has been lying to me and making me absolutely miserable—will literally be tormented “forever and ever.” Eternity. There will be no escape for him and no end to his suffering. Jesus will defeat the devil and his lies once and for all.
This Thanksgiving, there are probably several things you’re not thankful for. But, in your frustration and sadness, don’t forget the promises of God. Don’t forget who He is and what He has promised you. If you focus on that, it can be a happy Thanksgiving.