There’s no simple way to put this. I have OCD. Most days I have OCD, and some days it feels like OCD has me. The thing that sucks about OCD is that it’s become an adjective. People will say “I’m so OCD about my books,” or they’ll say “I’m a little OCD sometimes.”
It’s hard to talk about, because most of the times people say really offensive things and try to relate and I end up feeling like a steaming pile of crap because nobody understands the struggle. I have one friend who does, because she herself has OCD. Like actual OCD. The first time I heard about her, our mutual friends were asking about OCD because their friend Jess had this THING about matching socks and it was driving them crazy and they were so annoyed they were thinking of wearing mismatched socks just to make her mad. and I almost drove my car into oncoming traffic because I realized that my friends – people that love me and cherish me – had NO IDEA about the monster that I live with.
Some days I really wish that OCD had some sort of physical manifestation, you know? Like people would say “oh your arm is looking awfully green today,” and I could say “yeah that’s my OCD, it acts up sometimes.”
Well guess what. There actually is a physical manifestation of my OCD but it’s grosser than a green arm. I think it is, at least. Scabs. On my legs and on my scalp. and I’m going to let you piece the rest of it together because I hate the messy details of compulsions. It makes me feel like I should be on MTV’s True Life: I’m a weirdo.
This past summer my aunt noticed my legs. She asked if I had a lot of mosquito bites. I said no, stared at her blankly and then changed the subject. Super awkward, but I felt like the bravest person in the world just because I didn’t lie.
Last Thursday, one of my friends noticed my OCD and suddenly I had one of those “my OCD has me” days. Which sucks because you know what happens when I get overwhelmed? I want to hide in a dark room and engage in compulsions (the C part of OCD) until I feel I have some sort of control over my life again, and then I want to cut out everyone who might have caught wind of my OCD and then start fresh with new people who still think I’m okay because they have heard of my OCD but never gotten too close to it.
I cried. A lot. and I listened to If You Can Hear Me, the Ben Rector song that is always my prayer from the bottom of the OCD pit. and I started down the path of the dark room/compulsion/cutting someone out of my life idea.
and then I remembered what I had been thinking about all day. The day before, Wednesday, I’d read the part about Adam and Eve and the fig leaves. In the margins of my Bible I’d written (in regards to the fig leaves) “man’s poor attempt to deal with the shame of sin.”
The immediate response to sin is SHAME. GUILT. COVERING. HIDING. REJECTING. I mean, not only did Adam and Eve cover their gender bits, they then HID. So they covered AND hid. and then God – our merciful God – came for them, like he always does. They had a talk about what had happened, and then.
THEN COMES ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DISPLAYS OF MERCY THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED. Seriously, when I read this in my Bible I get overwhelmed.
God clothed Adam and Eve. He did away with their fig leaves and made them new garments. I think the sin thing sucked and then the double hiding part double sucked. So he at least did away with the hiding part. Like.. yeah you sinned. Stop hiding, because I still want to be with you.
Cut to me sitting on the floor of my bathroom, wishing I didn’t have to remove someone from my life because they had noticed the most shameful part of who I am. and I realized…. I don’t have to. God never undid the sin part. He never made Adam and Eve unsee their nakedness. He just dealt with the shame of it and comforted that part. Shame is the part that pushes us away from people. Shame is the thing that keeps me from God. Isn’t that why we’re always trying to clean up our mess before we approach him? God doesn’t want me to hide behind the fig leaves of shame. He wants to engage with me and then cover me.
So I decided to stop hiding. From my God and from my people. I had shared this whole struggle with Mary-Keith, and then I prayed about it, and immediately made the phone call because I knew if I didn’t present myself in God’s garments of bravery, I’d quickly change back into the fig leaves of shame and lose someone important to me over something so dumb. I prepared myself for the worst, because even though God clothed Adam and Eve…. they still had to leave the garden. God didn’t undo the sin, remember? I prepared myself to be told that I’m a huge weirdo or for me to weenie out before I could be brave. But it ended alright. I went to sleep early and thanked God for caring about me enough to help me deal with the parts of me that send me diving behind every bush I can find like a scared rabbit.
I guess the question is – what are the shameful parts that you’re covering with fig leaves? and God WANTS to clothe you and will send you somewhere – where is it that he wants you to model the garments of mercy he’s made for you?