- When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.
– Isaiah 43:2
I woke one night on the verge of a panic attack. It wasn’t a bad dream. My thoughts shook me awake. Endless questions, self-pity, comparison invaded my mind. I pushed them away during the days successfully. My life is busy. To rest or rather sleep, I usually listen to a sermon or music not to let my spirit feed during my shut eye hours but so my spinning mind had something to focus on. That night, I went to bed without one on. I suspect my mind couldn’t carry the worry any more. So, at 1:19 am, I thought I would lose my mind. My heart rate was faster than ever and the moderately spacious room felt so hard to breath in. No matter the affirmations I repeated, “You are not a failure” “Your calling is different” “You are doing your best.” “Pursue progress over perfection.”
I didn’t believe a word of it, so to cope with those thoughts, I did the usual. I got up and scrolled through Instagram until I tapped out at 3:20 am. I think about that morning often, even though I couldn’t feel God, He was with me. I knew too, He could calm my restless heart, I was tired. Thus began my journey to healing.
Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure according to the American Psychological Association.
Maybe you have a bad record at work, or slipped up publicly at church, or failed your courses, or got rejected by the opposite sex again, maybe your attempt to be liked by peers blew up or you battle an ongoing sickness or even concealing a secret you fear will ruin your life. All of which leads to worry and frustration.
I used to expect things to never affect my mood, that being a Christian means having a permanent VIP pass to the front seats of Unspeakable Joy. The Holy Ghost security would stop anxiety and despair (without my effort) so they can’t crash my happy concert. I appreciate now an even grander reality, one that stares down the length of days on the greatest human suffering imaginable and through the lenses of the gospel, find hope. That is what we will be fighting for these 30 Days, HOPE.
Practical tip: Express your worry, I mean the real reason why you feel uneasy. All of it. Tell it to a trusted friend/s, seek professional help, write it down, say it to God. Expect Him to hear. Expect Him to draw near. He already is.