OCD and Salvation: Alina’s Story

Scrupulosity Video Post

Jaimie Eckert

Published on Feb 22, 2024; Updated on Jan 9, 2024

Today’s guest post is from Alina,* a 19-year-old who found faith during the pandemic and has since grappled with scrupulosity and OCD. She’s a fun-loving “shy extrovert” who loves pasta and coffee and studies psychology and theology in her spare time. Join us as she shares her candid journey through doubts, obsessions, and the complex relationship between OCD and salvation.

God has really blessed me throughout my life. Looking back, I can see Him working in many areas of my life years before I even knew Him or was interested in anything to do with Him. As a child, I grew up in a family that was “technically” Christian, but not really. I probably went to church at most 10 times in about 17 years of life. My knowledge of Christianity was also quite minimal and not fully accurate. I learned that there was a God, that He created everything, Adam, Eve, the earth, me… I was taught that we die because of something Adam and Eve did, and that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. In a way, I believed all of that, but I also did not really believe it.

 I remember as a child having moments of deep panic at the thought of dying. I learned to deal with scary uncertainties like that by simply ignoring them. And that is how I lived the rest of my childhood and early teenage years. I ignored the uncertainties and the scary things. I stopped caring about them, and especially as a teenager, I became very nonchalant, disrespectful, and selfish. 

There were some things, though, that I cared about, like my grades and my future, but I was very confident that I could excel at anything I set my mind to and that I was in control. I was pretty good in school, and that was proof to me that if I wanted to do something, I could do it. This led to arrogance, naivety, and pride. At that point I had only experienced a few OCD moments. For example, at the age of 10, I changed schools and this caused me a lot of anxiety. I had a lot of intrusive thoughts and developed a tic. I do not remember my intrusive thoughts, but I do remember that my mother went to see a psychologist for me to better understand how to help me. We did a trick where I would put all my unwanted and distressing thoughts in a “mental treasure chest” and keep them there until a certain time in the evening when I could talk about them with my mom. After a few months, the anxiety, intrusive thoughts, and tic disappeared. I know I had other small episodes of OCD after that, but they were so minimal that I barely remember them. 

Before Jesus: Who Do I Trust?

As a child, I put all my trust in my parents. Trusting that they were in control comforted me. I remember one time when I was 7, we were on a plane and I was scared that we might crash. I had told my mother about my fear and she told me that the plane would not crash because she didn’t allow it to. And I felt safe. As the years went by, I realized that my parents were not God and were just ordinary people like the rest of us. So I put my trust in myself. And I did not have any bad experience that made me deeply doubt my ability to handle life. I was living in a fragile bubble of naivety that could have burst at any time, but it did not…until I heard the Gospel.

Before I get into that, let me go back to my early teenage years.  When I was 16, COVID-19 hit. The lockdown was pretty hard on me because I am an extrovert and I love to see people. From March to June, we still did schoolwork and studied a little, so that gave me something to do. But when school ended, I had to find something else to occupy me. So I started following people on YouTube who introduced me to New Age spirituality. 

From New Age to Jesus: The Law of Attraction

I read books like The Why Café and became intrigued by the Law of Attraction, meditation, affirmations, etc. My self-confidence and self-centeredness grew more and more. One day I watched a documentary called The Secret. It talks about and promotes the Law of Attraction. I wanted to try it for myself and manifest something before going to bed. That night before I tried to manifest, for some reason that I forget, I went on YouTube. In my recommended videos, I saw a video that warned us about manifestation from a Christian perspective. I thought I was a Christian because I’ve been told I was one since I was a child, and because I kind of believed in God (though that belief didn’t really impact my life then). So, I did not want to do something bad in that regard. It scared me when I learned about the roots of the Law of Attraction; that it is an occult and demonic thing. So I went to bed that night without trying to manifest anything. 

The second day I continued to listen to Christian videos, and it was that morning in my kitchen that I heard the Gospel for the first time. Since I was a child, I thought that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. I was told that I was good because if you do not commit terrible crimes, you are good. But when I heard the gospel, I realized that I was not a good person. I was a bad person because I had done bad things in my life, like lying and stealing and so much more. I realized that I was not in good standing with God, but that Jesus was the solution. And that realization was a tremendous light shed on my life. At that moment, many of the ideas, ambitions, and plans I had for my life lost all their appeal as I saw them being worthless. My fragile bubble of self-confidence also shattered because I realized I was not good enough by myself. Honestly, it was a bit of a stressful moment due to this new awareness of the truth, but I knew that everything I was hearing was true, so I decided to commit myself to it. It was either follow Jesus, which would lead to eternal life, or follow sin, which would lead to eternal death. So, I chose Jesus. 

The Beginning of the Battle with OCD and Salvation Doubts

I think my OCD really kicked in when I heard the Gospel. OCD attacks what you care about. Before, I had gotten through life by not really caring about a lot of things and by being nonchalant about them. The things I did care about, I was overly confident I could control, so I did not worry too much about them. But now I had my whole eternal life to worry about. So, my OCD went through the roof. I prayed a “sinner’s prayer” that a youtuber had put at the end of his video, and continued to watch more Christian videos, learning more and praying the sinner’s prayer some more. I think this might have been the beginning of my battle with OCD and salvation doubts specifically. 

OCD and Salvation Doubts: The Unforgivable Sin and Intrusive Thoughts

That same week, I was hit with the information that there is such a thing as an unforgivable sin. I struggled a lot with the fear that I had committed this sin because of my wild unwanted thoughts. I still struggle with that fear from time to time, and I have to remind myself what that sin actually is. This really intensified my OCD and salvation doubts, my anxiety, and my intense unhealthy fear of God (in this case, I am not talking about healthy respect and reverence for God, but rather about being scared of God).

After that, I struggled a lot with intrusive thoughts and images, I felt a lot of anxiety about my salvation, and I thought I had to be perfect from that point on. I had a lot of anxiety about biblical questions and I was afraid that something I was doing was a sin. This level of anxiety began to manifest itself in physical symptoms, and it also drove me into a kind of depression. 

This all happened during the summer, about a month later I started school again and it helped me to calm down a bit because I started having homework and assignments to do. However, the anxiety and fear continued even if it eased off a bit. I hated weekends because I forced myself to keep a very strict Sabbath and because my intrusive thoughts ran wild and sent me into a spiral of guilt, anxiety, and fear due to the lack of distractions. 

OCD and Salvation Doubts: Obsessing About Theological Questions

I also had a lot of theological questions and did not know anyone around me who was a Christian and could help me so, I resorted to Google for answers.  Most of the people and the resources I found were actually quite good. I believe God was protecting me, I was very vulnerable to picking up false teachings because I did not have a strong foundation to lean on. Most of the time, the first thing I heard someone say, I would take it as the truth and run with it.

I soon found an organization that offered the option to send them questions and get personalized answers. I thought that was amazing, so I started sending question after question after question. I have a 51,030-word, 113-page Word document full of these questions and the answers I received over time. Even though I love theology, looking back, I think this document is a result of my OCD. Most of these questions were asked out of fear and anxiety, and only a few out of simple curiosity. I’m happy to say that this is an area of improvement in my scrupulosity walk. Now I can watch hours of content, not out of a fanatical sense of fear, but rather because I genuinely enjoy learning more about God and how cool the Bible is. I love to see what it teaches us, how the heart of God is revealed through it, all the implications of the historical context and the intricacies of the original words in Greek or Hebrew, etc. 

Finding a Christian Community

My first year as a Christian with OCD was hard. I had no one to talk to, I was anxious, possibly depressed, scared, and confused. It was my last year of high school, and I knew there was a Christian club at the college I wanted to go to. So, I prayed that the following year I would find a community of Christian friends in that club. What I was looking for was someone to fix me, someone who would sit with me for hours and listen to my life story, all my doubts and fears, and then would address everything and fix it. I know now that this was an unrealistic expectation, but it is what I really longed for. I was afraid of God and did not feel comfortable going to Him with this. So, I put that hope and expectation on fellow little humans. The following year, when I joined this Christian club, I realized that they could not heal me, but that sticking with them helped a bit and was also quite fun. One of the girls there invited me to her church and her sister’s discipleship group, I joined an additional discipleship group at school during the week, and I went to the weekly club meetings. These meetings with other Christian youth nourished me and helped me in my faith. I still had a lot of anxiety and OCD symptoms, but I think being in that environment was a good step for my faith journey. Still, I wanted more. 

I wanted us as a club to do more and be more, so I asked to become a club leader. And so, I, a little broken human, anxious and still unsure about her salvation, became a club leader after my first semester. I realize that throughout my faith journey there have been times when I wanted something and I did not get it, so I tried to make it happen for me and for others. I wanted a community of people who would help me, but what I got was an opportunity to try to do that for others, and in the process, I also received healing. (A similar thing happens in the Scrupulosity Academy. You get a lot of help and information, but you also get to serve others through the forum, which I think provides a unique kind of healing for both you and the other person).  I also started discipling people and leading Bible studies to keep people connected to God, to help them in their beginning as a Christian, to answer questions, etc. I realized that I was better at helping other people with their questions than I was at helping myself (which I think is a common thing for people with scrupulosity). 😅

My OCD Currently

Over time, my relationship with God evolved to a healthier level. It sounds cheesy, but I slowly fell more in love with God. My intense fear of Him turned into a deep desire to know Him and live in fellowship with Him. I also gained a better understanding of biblical truths over time, which helped me not panic so much about spiritual questions. However, even though my relationship with God has improved in many ways, I still struggle with my OCD and salvation doubts, my anxiety and my numerous “what if’s.” I worry about if I am “genuine enough,” if I am a “fake Christian” and deceiving myself, if I really believe, if my relationship with God is healthy, if I am in the “legalistic zone” or the “lukewarm zone”…

I also struggle quite a bit with OCD in my friendships; I often feel the urge to apologize unnecessarily, to seek reassurance, to make sure I am not a burden or annoying and that people still like me.

I also have a bit of OCD about health and safety.

I am not yet completely healed, but I have to admit that I have made some progress since the beginning of my faith walk. My doctrine is much more sound now, which helps me stay in my sound mind (see what wordplay I did there 😆). My relationship and love for God has grown stronger, which helps me to go back to Him and seek a true relationship because I have experienced how beautiful it can be. He taught me and showed me that He is faithful and doesn’t waver, that my OCD works in cycles and that bad phases are temporary. I am trying to learn to remember His goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and grace rather than what my OCD portrays Him to be: scary, unloving, out to punish me at the smallest misstep.

My blasphemous intrusive thoughts are very rare now, which is wonderful! My biggest struggles now tend to be about the combination of OCD and salvation doubts, my faulty image of God and my struggle to let go and let God. But as I grow in my relationship with God and learn more about what OCD is, how it affects my life and my relationship with God, I’m hoping that in time, God will lead me to a place where I have completely disentangled the OCD from my faith, and where I will be able to enjoy a powerful, vibrant, intimate, and beautiful relationship with the One who created me and died for me.

A Little Message for My Fellow Scrupulous Brothers and Sisters

If, like me, you struggle a lot with the combination of OCD and salvation related doubts, I want to encourage you a bit! One night, I was struggling a lot with my salvation doubts and I wanted to reach a point where I “felt” saved and safe enough to go to sleep. Honestly, I think, for me, these are some of the worst OCD moments; when you are so tired, but won’t allow yourself to sleep until you figured it out, but you can’t even think properly because you’re exhausted. I shared this with a friend a following day, and he told me that, in that moment, I just need to go to sleep because that in itself can be a way of exercising faith. Giving up the task of trying to figure it out, giving it to God and going to sleep. Even if it is uncomfortable, giving it to God and going to sleep, is a way you can exercise faith. 

Faith and Airplanes

I personally am quite afraid of flying in airplanes. But I know and believe that they are one of the safest modes of transportation. I mean, the most dangerous part about taking the airplane is driving your car to get to the airport in the first place. Yet, I am still anxious about flying. However, I do not let that fear stop me from taking the plane.

If someone said that they believed 100% in the safeness of airplane traveling, but… still decided to walk the distance, then they are not exercising faith. Even if they felt more confident than me, they did not make the jump of faith. You see, faith, in that case is to get in the airplane, put your life in the hands of the pilot and flying even though you feel uneasy and anxious. I know it is safe, I know the pilots are very well trained, and based on that knowledge and belief of it, I decide to put myself in that airplane regardless of my feelings. And I think that this analogy can translate well in our faith walks. It is okay to not always feel 100% confident, but that does not mean that you still cannot walk in faith.

Thank you, Alina for sharing your story about OCD and salvation doubts. May God continue to bless you as you grow closer to God through your OCD.

To my readers: if Alina’s story resonated with you, please feel free to leave a comment below.

  • Has anybody out there struggled with a full submission and trust with the Lord? Like Alina I have grown up in the church environment but didn’t have a full understanding or healthy relationship with God. Other factors come into play like my view of God, daddy issues, living in unrepentant sin for a prolonged period. I also haven’t been to church, bible study, community group, worship in around 2 years. I’ve had physical symptoms like burning sensations, anxiety, vomiting, sleeplessness, headaches, nightmares of hell, intrusive and blasphemous thoughts and terrified of God. I believe He is furious and disgusted with me and has already made up his mind to send me to eternal torment. I have a unhealthy relationship with my father as well and trust issues with him.

  • It took me a while to read your story Alina, in fact, the reason I read it, is because I have been struggling a bit lately, in fact I’ve been dealing with similar things such as the ones you described in your story. I actually think the Holy Spirit led me here to your story because I can really relate to it and it has helped and comforted me. God bless you and thank you for sharing this blessing with us!

  • Thank you Alina. I am 66 and struggled with scrupulosity since I was 11 and still struggling. My image of God is how you stated. I am afraid of Him. I am encouraged by you and all the precious others that commented. God is good I know that and He will see us all through this to Victory over it. Thank you Jamie; I look forward to all your emails which helps greatly. Thank you lovely child Alina.

  • Thank you, Alina, for sharing your story. I struggle a lot with salvation doubts. I love the analogy of getting in the airplane and trusting the pilot even when we are anxious.


  • This is so on point! Are you my 19 year-old self??? Hahaha

    Kidding aside… I’m glad you are moving forward bit by bit, girl. Of course, God is able to do a quick fix. But i believe the slow renewal of the mind is part of the faith journey too.

    Thank you for sharing your story. This helps more people feel less alone.

  • I really enjoyed this story. This also started with me at the age 10. I had noone to talk with. I saw Jesus as angry and ready to send me to hell. I have epilepsy and thought for years that I committed the unforgivable sin ,that epilepsy met that I was devil possessed. This made my fears stronger.

  • I am currently a 16 year old with scrupulousity OCD, and I think I’ve been dealing with some tics. I have to raise my eyebrows and say “I give my soul to Jesus” multiple times. The intrusive thoughts are so demonic and evil. Please help me.

    • Hi, Kaila. It really sucks that you’re going through that. 2cents that i hope encourages you: You can rest. Jesus is able to be patient and bear with you while you figure things out.

      And i’m sure he doesn’t want you to do the eyebrow thingy. It could really be a formed habit. Care to replace it with goofy faces maybe and some funny songs?

    • You are not alone Kaila. Those thoughts are probably the same ones I’ve had to, but God knows your heart and that the attacks are because you love God. They’re not your thoughts. What I’ve found that helps, is to not fight them but to just let them be and eventually with time, they diminished more and more. They are called intrusive because they come unwanted and that is a fact. They’re not your hearts thoughts and never will be and God knows that and always will. Trust Him, He will help you.

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