Through Anxiety: A Path of Healing
How do we make sense of the chapters of our lives we’d rather didn’t exist?
How do we re-write the table of contents when our story strays from what we had planned?
There is a chapter of my life that I had no idea would ever exist for me, nor would I have ever chosen this particular chapter. However, I am now thankful for it as I see the good it has brought.
December of 1997, I had a panic attack. I was out for supper with my husband and some good friends. I thought I must be having some reaction to the food. My heart rate was 120, I was white as a sheet and I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t too sure what was happening, but it was a feeling like none other.
Six months prior, my husband’s brother had died at the age of 31. I thought I was doing OK with my grieving until that moment. After that, I began to realize that the state of anxiety that I was constantly in wasn’t going away any time soon.
A time of searching
One main issue that I began to struggle with was why had God let my brother-in-law die. I had placed God in a small box for many years. This loss blew my carefully designed “story” totally apart. Was I really willing to let God have control of my life? Did I trust Him? Did I want to believe that, just maybe, God was writing a little more of my story than I wanted to admit?
I began my search and finally began to be honest with myself and with God. He was, to my surprise, willing to answer my questions without putting me down. He was gentle and drew me into His arms. He began to show me that life is not full of fear. He began to show me JOY! I began to trust Him and just a bit, to let go of some of my control. A favorite verse of mine through this was Jeremiah 29:11; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” That hope and future were what I needed.
A time to heal
The chapter didn’t end there, though. I found myself facing my father’s death in 1999. I had not, for some time, had as severe anxiety as those few months in 1997. However, I knew that the anxiety was lurking underneath; still a tender and unhealed wound.
I joined a support group at our church that was specifically for anxiety and panic disorder. I didn’t think that I’d need much help; just a bit of support to prevent what I’d experienced before. What a surprise, as I learned more about myself and the anxiety. I’m still in that group, now as an assistant leader. It is such a joy to see healing in others as they join and walk through their journey with us.
I’ve continued in my spiritual journey as well. God has never let me down. He has become my greatest friend; one in whom I trust so much more! At the beginning I would pray, “Lord, heal me from the anxiety”. Now I know that I needed to pray, “Lord what exactly is it that I need healing from?”
Through the healing process, God has given me something special. With a willingness to risk and try new things, I began painting and writing.
As you read this story, where do you find yourself today? Are you experiencing joy-or fear?
God wants to be our leverage in living, empowering us to feel better about ourselves, more excited about our future, more grateful for those we love and more enthusiastic about our faith.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.