As the line gets shorter and you draw closer to going inside, your heart flutters uncontrollably. You find yourself shaking like the leaves of an oak on a breezy autumn day. Your hands begin to sweat as you hear the screams from inside. You put on a smile because you don’t want your friends to laugh at you and call you a punk. You begin to laugh nervously as it’s your turn to walk inside. Once you walk in, the doors close behind you and there is no turning back….You must now complete the daunting task of getting to the exit before you have a heart attack!
I know I’m not the only one who can relate to this, am I? In your mind, you know there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of because you realize that the haunted house consists of dim lighting, fog machines, fake spider webs, eerie music, and people dressed up in spooky costumes (that can not hurt you by the way or they’ll get sued). However, as irrational and illogical as you know it is to be so scared, you find yourself stuck in the proverbial quicksand of fear; unable to do anything to release yourself from it.
Your heart pounds at the speed of sound and your breathing becomes hyperventilation to a point where you feel you’re going to just lose all control.
But suddenly there is hope. You see the light at the end of the tunnel…the exit! You run as fast as you can to get out of there. As you walk out, you look up at the night sky in appreciation of its starry beauty and your erratic breathing starts to even out. Your heart rate slowly goes back to normal and the sweat that was dripping from your body has now dried up. But you’re so wiped out from the whole experience that you get dizzy and pass out cold.
Welcome to the cruel world of Anxiety Attacks. I used the Haunted House analogy as a means to convey how for years my mind has worked against my body to create a horrible and debilitating panic at random times for what often times appears to be for no reason. Yes people, you read that right. I have suffered w/ Anxiety.
Shortly after giving my life to Christ, I actually sought medical attention b/c it had started getting worse and that’s when I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Besides talking about it with my doctor, husband, Pastor, and a handful of friends, I really suffered in silence for a long time because as a born-again Christian, I was ashamed. The one time I opened up about it to someone outside of my tight circle, the person made me feel really bad. She said, “By admitting this weakness you will hurt your witness to the body of Christ b/c TRUE BELIEVERS do not bow down to fear.” She also said, “You must not be praying b/c if you were God will take it from you. People w/ these kinds of emotional issues are attention seekers who are spoiled and don’t snap out of it b/c they don’t want to.”
Her words deeply hurt me. The power of the tongue is an amazing power! It made me begin to doubt God early in my walk b/c I kept saying, “Well, maybe I’m not really saved b/c I’m still struggling with this.” Her words also made me silent about the whole issue to people outside my circle. I continued PRAY but I also continued to suffer. I was prescribed every medication from Zoloft to Lexapro to Ativan. I even did a three-month cycle of Acupuncture therapy. Over time, I had some success but would eventually have a relapse and go through it all over again.
Here is the super deep part: I believe that God used the Anxiety to help me and I remember EXACTLY when it started. There was a course of events in my life that I let spiral out of control over about four years. SIN was at the center of it. I am fairly certain that God allowed the anxiety to be the antithesis to the so-called happiness I was experiencing in these sinful situations.
GOD IS JUST THAT GOOD!
He allowed the anxiety to stir up my spirit. My flesh was content in the sin, but even UNSAVED, my SPIRIT was at war w/ my own body and did not allow me to be at peace in those situations. Some would argue that it should’ve stopped when those sins stopped. But justice delayed IS NOT just denied; besides, who are we to tell God HOW to deliver us? He seeks to save that which is lost. I was lost. Anxiety wore down on me so long, I started to feel burned out by it. Eventually, I started seeking SOLACE and I praise God that I sought it in Christ!!
Bear with me folks, I’m almost done…
What that woman failed to realize as she was bashing me is that God ALLOWS us to go thru things in order to get closer to Him and to be a blessing to others. If I suffer in silence and never speak out about Anxiety, there could be someone who never knows that deliverance is even possible. There is no such thing as an unusable testimony.
So last year, I actually received a breakthrough. I started opening up about Anxiety…talking about it with just about anyone who would listen, and guess what? Other Christians started opening up to me about their struggles with Anxiety. Then others would open up to me about their struggles with Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder, family mental illness issues and other things. However informal the setting(s), God saw fit to allow me a window to people in this area to still GLORIFY Him.
It has been over a year now since my last Anxiety Attack and medication. I praise God for that. Does this mean I will NEVER experience it again? I can’t answer that. But I’m sure that if I do, there will be a reason God allows it… perhaps to get me back on track or just to reveal my own frailty that I don’t get pumped up w/ pride. I am a overcomer but not in my own strength. So I will continue chasing after God w/ all I have and thank Him in advance for deliverance.
*Wednesdays w/ iNDIGO*