I confirmed my faith on Palm Sunday some 30 years ago, and then had first communion on Good Friday. OCD can infiltrate every aspect of your life, and the term for religious and moral obsessions is scrupulosity. Ironically, from the outside no one would ever suspect I had such struggles and turmoil about perfectly pleasing God. I was at church constantly. During Lent I went to every Wednesday night service and every night of Holy Week Services. I wrote prayers and devotionals. I took great pains to never hurt someone's feelings. I was quiet, compliant, conscientious, studious. I didn't swear.
This made my confirmation difficult, because as I knelt down to receive the blessing from the minister, obscenity hurtled into my mind. Suddenly, I was thinking words I would never say. I desparately wanted them gone. I agonized over what this meant about me, and how to make them stay away. I had been looking forward to my first communion, and yet, the first thing I thought of was "Will the thoughts come back?" which immediately brought the obscenities to mind in the self-generating way that OCD has. I couldn't be in the room, in the sanctuary of this church, because my OCD was compelling me into the future.
Existential questions heavy laden with intense anxiety and fear that I was doing everything wrong. Did I feel the "right" way during communion? Did I enjoy writing prayers more than loving God? How can people exist without being Christian? How do they get through life? Would God really reject them? I wrote long journal entries trying to figure this all out, until the point of exhaustion. In my heart, I had a passionate longing for God, and a sense of God's presence, but my constant analysis of every thought and action obliterated the possibility of comfort and peace.
Finally, in my 30's I stopped going to church, because the waves of compulsive figuring out of sermons, and fears of being imperfect and therefore damned and being afraid that if I couldn't figure out the meaning of suffering, or whether Christianity was the only way, or whether God was good, that I would disintegrate from the anxiety of these unanswered questions. I want to honor the heart of the girl I was, who loved God, but I'm still afraid.