Vandalia United Methodist Church

From the Pastor's Study

Regular activities at FUMCV are cancelled when the schools close because of weather.

Being Obsessed with God

I am obsessive/compulsive. I was diagnosed with it twenty-one years ago but have lived with it all my life. Medicine has brought a lot of the symptoms under control; however, I still deal with a lot of the issues that come with the disorder. I no longer have to immediately straighten all the pictures on the wall, but my shirts are still arranged by color in the closet.

Being obsessive/compulsive means that I can eat too much, talk too much, and worry too much. I can be pretty hard on myself when I let God down. One way to cope with the disorder is to bring structure into my life. Practicing spiritual disciplines keeps me connected to God and helps push the compulsive habits away.

Spending time in the Bible helps me focus on the proper use of my time. Instead of wasting my time on electronic devices, I can use my time to connect to God by reading his Word. When we read scripture, we are opening ourselves to the presence and power of God through his Holy Spirit in a unique and powerful way.

Days of fasting keep me connected to God through prayer. A major focus of fasting correlates the hunger pains with a reminder to pray. I usually focus on one particular need or individual each day that I fast. It has been my habit to fast one day a week during the winter months.

Listening to contemporary Christian music has brought an uplifting focus to my life. I initially fought the trend of bringing praise music into worship services. However, once I started listening to it, I found that the characteristics of contemporary Christian music lifted me out of the doldrums that come with my disorder.

Spending time with study groups connects me to the body of Christ and opens my mind to different perspectives. My strongest relationships have come out of the groups with whom I spend time in study and prayer. Other people have valuable perspectives and experiences that help us grow in our relationships with God.

Worship is a specific time to give to God all that I am. Worship by definition is “giving to God.” Every worship service is meant to be a time where we give God our praise, our burdens, all that we are and all that we hope to be. If I don’t get something out of worship, it’s because I didn’t put anything into it. Our “regeneration” comes as a result of our giving to our Lord. God desires that we connect with him weekly through corporate worship.

Tithing has truly helped me to trust in God’s providence. Especially when I have not had it to give, but gave anyway (with a joyful heart), I have never been for want. God has always provided. Everything I have is a result of his generosity, so it is only right that I return a portion to him.

One may not think of it as a spiritual discipline but taking walks has been an important part of my life for forty-two years when I started my senior year in high school to lose weight. Each journey outdoors is an opportunity to view God’s creation and express my appreciation to him for its beauty. It’s a time when the stress melts away, and I return feeling renewed.

I guess my approach to dealing with my obsessive/compulsive disorder has been to replace my bad habits with good habits. I found that being obsessed with God is a good thing. There are many other disciplines that we can use to keep the presence of God in our lives. The approaching Lenten season is a time to reconnect with God through the use of these habits. That is the nature of being a “Method-ist.” Won’t you join me in re-connecting to God this Lenten season? Lent begins on Wednesday, March 6, Ash Wednesday. We will be having a free soup supper that evening followed by worship.

In Christ’s amazing love,

9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School

First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684