Hi, my name is Heather and I am 16 years old. Ever since I was a young girl, I have suffered from anxiety issues. I had habits, like biting my nails and twirling my hair that I would do when I was anxious. I also would have angry outbursts and tried to make everything “just right”.
When I was in seventh grade, however, I took these ideas to a new level. I saw instructions on the wall of a bathroom for how to wash your hands. I began to follow them to precision. If something was slightly off, I would feel overwhelmed by guilt and had to fix it or else something terrible would happen. I would also reread passages in books and spend hours trying to get my work “just right”. Over time, more compulsions were added as I saw more instructions and diagrams. At one point, I washed all the way up to my elbows out of the fear that I might have touched something dangerous. If I touched something that I thought had touched something else, I felt I was contaminated. Obsessive compulsive disorder ran my life!
My parents tried to fix me. My dad would physically turn the water off and pull me away from the sink to try to stop my handwashing. This only led to fighting and more fears. Every time I washed, I began closing and locking doors to prevent being seen by others and stopping them from having the opportunity to stop my washing. My mom brought me to counselors, but they didn’t help. None of my counselors helped me to conquer my compulsions, and I felt guilty because of the how expensive they were. One counselor forced me to talk to him about hard parts of my life and then gave up on me. He didn’t listen me and just commanded me to do certain things. I began to feel unfixable.
Whenever I was around other people, I began to feel inadequate. I had little to no friends and I felt like I was constantly being judged. I felt worthless, useless, and unwanted. My brother would make fun of me and tell things like, “I wish you were never born”, “Mom and dad wish you didn’t have all those problems“, and “Why don’t you just kill yourself?”. Sometimes I wondered why I was even created in the first place and if my life was even worth living.
My life needed some change. In February, I got the opportunity to meet Jamie Grace and be in her “Every Bit of Lovely” video. Her story and musics inspires me and being involved in this video helped me feel better about myself. This June, I had the opportunity to serve in Costa Rica. I made some really close friends down there and got much closer to God. I realized that life is not about money and possessions, but rather is about God’s love and spreading his love to others. They had almost nothing and yet were the happiest, kindest, most generous people I have ever met!
A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to attend the Celebrate Freedom concert. Mark Hall from Casting Crowns spoke about giving up the part of your life that is getting between you and gone. He spoke about laying it down at the feet of Jesus, and I felt like he was speaking directly to me. I felt the Holy Spirit urging me to give my OCD to God. As Casting Crowns played “At Your Feet”, I made my decision. I was going to give up OCD. I stopped doing my rituals. There was no more counting, no more wrist washing, no more guilt. God had taken it all away! Sometimes, feelings of anxiety and inadequacy try to haunt me again. But now I can fight. I have God on my side!
You too can give up anything that is separating you from God. Whether you are struggling with anxiety, a sin, forgiveness, or anything else that is separating your from God, you can give it up. Here are some of the lyrics from “At Your Feet”:
Here at Your feet, I lay this day down
Not in my strength, but in Yours I’ve found
All I need, You’re all I need
When you give up control of everything, God will provide the strength you need!
Here is the link to the whole song :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT6lFcM-Fv8
I hope my story inspires you to be a fighter and surrender your life to Jesus!
-“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. ” (Matthew 16:24-25, NIV)