Sometimes I wonder about all the miracles that God has performed. Why we don’t hear of more of them.. Why they aren’t passed down through families like other stories are.. Recently, after a conversation with my brother, I got to thinking; perhaps it’s because we just don’t share them. We won’t openly admit our faults and struggles and when we experience healing from them, we don’t share it because that means we’d also have to share those things that we once struggled with.
After that conversation, I felt convicted. I needed to share. I’ve experienced God’s healing and I rarely talk publicly about it. But I should be shouting from the rooftops. Because I have a real Savior that is working in real ways.
So here I am. Shouting.I started experiencing major anxiety problems when I was about 17 years old. Throughout college and the years following, I was having panic attacks regularly. I would be going about a normal day and I’d find myself consumed by anxiety. I’d get trapped in my thoughts and I’d quickly spin into a pit of panic.
It consumed me. My body. My mind.
I remember always begging, “No, no, please no.” as I would feel the panic starting. My heart would begin to race and I would search desperately for an escape from the situation. I would be sitting in a room filled with friends and the feeling of emptiness and panic would creep in. I wanted to run away or puke or scream. I would feel completely separate from whatever was going around me. People’s voices were distant, I would try to talk and it sounded like I was echoing into nothing. I remember standing up and leaving in the middle of conversations because I just could not function. There were times that I couldn’t even convince myself that what I was experiencing was real. If I was alone, the panic came on much quicker and more violently. My body’s reactions were much more severe and the sickness, heart racing, dizziness would last a lot longer.
Eventually, I was so afraid of the panic that I just avoided everything. Certain places, people, conversations… a lot of things I once enjoyed were things I now dreaded. My daily plans were controlled by my need to avoid certain situations. I was always searching for pointless things to keep my mind busy so that there was no time for panic. I would lie awake for hours each night watching tv shows until my body fell asleep because the thought of having to lie in bed with just my thoughts for the 3 minutes it would take to fall asleep was simply horrifying.
And so I lived my life tip-toeing around my anxiety for a few years. I shared my struggles with only a few people. I honestly didn’t even realize what was happening while it was going on. I had heard panic attacks mentioned, I’m sure, but I never really knew what they were. I thought that I was the only person in the world that was experiencing these things.
I read so many stories of those struggling with anxiety disorders after I realized what I had been struggling with all those years and I just sobbed. My body had felt those things and I understood the helplessness of being stuck in that terrifying, lonely place.
Four years ago today, I made the decision to get baptized. I was in the process of making some big spiritual changes after living an unfulfilling life, far from God, for a few years leading up to that point. The day the baptism was scheduled that year just happened to be the anniversary of my mom’s death. I desperately wanted to make a declaration of my faith in a public way where people would hold me accountable to the promises I made in front of them but I also wanted to commit that day back to God. It was a day I struggled with for years, I was angry and spent too much time feeling sorry for myself. And that wasn’t a fulfilling life and it definitely wasn’t the life that God wanted for me.
I didn’t go into my baptism looking for healing from anxiety. But I do know that when I came up from the water I was free. I went from having panic attacks every single day to having none. None. I just want God to receive glory for the incredible work he has done in my life. So today I’m sharing it with you. So we can be confident in the power and grace of our sweet Savior.
If you are currently struggling with anxiety, my heart aches for you. Sadly, I can’t say that healing will be as simple as getting baptized. But I hope that you find hope and encouragement in this story and and above all, know that you are dearly loved by your Creator whether we receive healing today, next year, or if he helps us work through this for all of our years.