Dear brothers and sisters, I would like to share with you some of the struggles in my life right now. For a long time now I have dealt with much fear and anxiety regarding my spiritual state. For years, from around age 10 to ~24, I struggled with assurance of salvation. I was plagued with a dread of not really being saved, and asked God to save me 100s of times. During the same time, my understanding of salvation and the sovereignty of God was not very good. From a very young age I sensed a need for my sins to be forgiven. I definitely did not think that anything I did earned my salvation, but at the same time, I really struggled to believe that God would/had saved me. The anxiety I felt convinced me that I was not saved. Every sermon I heard/every exhortation to believe (I grew up in an evangelical, arminian setting) produced tremendous anxiety within me and I found myself again confessing my sins to God, and asking him to save me. Fast forward to age 24-25 and I became acquainted with the doctrines of Grace. I now understood that salvation was a sovereign work in the soul by God's grace alone, and that a man must be born again. Then came the questions - am I born again? I struggled with this question, looking inward to see "fruit", often disregarding anything I saw that might indicate that I had genuine saving faith. I listened to many sermons and read many articles on what was true saving faith, and had great anxiety every single time, worried that I didn't have it. And of course, that led to me crying out to God again and again. Around this time I also was diagnosed with OCD. After much research I learned that it is possible that those who struggle with this affliction can see it manifest itself in their spiritual life. Through fearful obsessions regarding spiritual things (es. intrusive thoughts like 'you're not saved') compulsions arise (ex. cry out to God to be saved). The more you feed the obsession by performing the compulsion, the worse the obsessions get, and the more anxiety you feel. The catch however, is that if you try to ignore the obsession, you feel like you are neglecting your very soul, which itself causes fear, and then causes you to perform the compulsion again. It truly is a vicious, vicious, cycle. The only way to get out of it is to either become so exhausted that your body says "enough", or to fall asleep. In the last couple of years, a new terrifying obsession has reared its head. Sometimes I will be sitting in church...or praying...or reading the word...when a thought comes into my head like "you don't really believe this...this is all made up...you're a faker...you don't believe" "God's word isn't true" "God isn't even real" "This is all just a big fairy tale" This makes it incredibly difficult to pray. It causes me to feel like if I pray, I am "faking it". Praying out loud in front of others is especially very difficult. Sometimes if I am praying or talking to others about God, it is all I can do to simply get the words out, meanwhile my mind is assaulted with thoughts like "you don't even believe this" "...how can you teach others, you don't even believe yourself" I am envious of others who seem to have such a strong faith. Myself, I am assaulted with terrifying thoughts of doubt and unbelief. I can't imagine leaving the faith...and I really don't want to!! But these things are incredibly hard and they give me such anxiety. Oftentimes I am afflicted with such anxiety that my stomach feels like it is in knots for hours. I feel short of breath. I feel exhausted to the point of falling asleep at work. Psalm 88 gives me hope that perhaps, I am like that man, who truly was a believer but nonetheless afflicted terribly by anxiety and depression. I cry out to God for mercy but it feels as though my anxiety keeps coming back.