Posts Tagged ‘about me’

on anxiety and it’s cause…

This is a letter I wrote to a friend who’s struggling with panic attacks and felt compelled to share here.  It’s sort of  ‘my story’ I guess and what’s led me to where I am.

*****,
I just want to tell you that I really feel for you here!  As a very young child I suffered from panic attacks (mostly dealing with death and hell etc) but somewhere along the line they stopped and it just morphed into a milder edition of social anxiety (not being able to speak in front of people in school, as an adult not being able to go places alone, feeling very nervous and incapable of going to new places, things like that)  I’m 31 now.  Just over a year ago, I was stricken in the middle of the night with my first panic attack… after 25 or so years of not having them.  It was completely out of the blue, but once they started, I had no control at all.  It would start slowly in the morning and by evening I was barely able to breath.  My husband was terrified I was going crazy.  I was terrified I would get stuck in a panic attack and be forced to live out the rest of my life in sheer terror.  It was by far the worse thing I’ve ever been through.  I worried desperately over all kinds of things but mostly dying and my children’s salvation.  What’s odd is that it really was the physical symptoms that would bring on the mental anxiety.  The rapid heart beating and stuff like that.  Something was causing the physical symptoms to kick in.  Finally one morning we awoke and it had never eased from the night before.  My husband took me to the ER and they gave me Xanax.  I spent the next week in a sleep stupor.  I couldn’t even keep awake enough hours to eat enough food.  I was so ill.  At the ER, by the grace of God they found some medical problems I didn’t know I had.  I saw a primary care doctor and I began taking an antidepressant called Lexapro.  It began helping and took a couple weeks to make big progress but it helped.  Even though it helped, I still felt that medication wasn’t the long term answer.  I was completely torn.  I took my medicine cause I did NOT want to go back to that.
Well to make a long story short, I got my medical problems dealt with.  I took the meds for about 7 months and felt wonderful the whole time.  Finally I just really felt like I needed to get off it.  I didn’t want to get addicted to living on a medication that altered my mood.  It was hard.  The symptoms were milder than before and I could recognize them quickly.  I was prepared.  I knew what to expect and I could control my reaction so much better. 
I’m not saying this is how it is or will or should go for you, I just want to offer you what I’ve experienced.  Now, a year later, I do believe the Holy Spirit was convicting me and I was just at a point where I couldn’t run any longer.  This is crazy to say!!  I grew up knowing who Jesus was!  Even in my marriage, we’ve spent our entire married years in church, serving, worshipping the Lord and yet here I sit, convicted by the Holy Spirit.  It’s just crazy!  But I know that’s what my anxiety was about.  I was struggling with secret sin and God was not gonna let me be overtaken by it.  Plus, He had plans.  Plans that involved getting all the distraction of what life in America has become out of my brain, and show me what my true "Christ-centered Dream" is supposed to be.  Not just for me, but for my family.  During those times of anxiety, I desperately craved Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  For a moment, I really was (finally) willing to *listen* and give deep attention to His Word and search for the peace that passes all understanding.  These cliché phrases had a meaning for me in a more real sense than they ever had in any of my worldly circumstances.  The course of events over the past year or little more have set my family on a trajectory that is leading us straight to Christ and slowly dropping away are all the things we’re trying to carry with us to Him.  It’s been hard at times as things have fallen away and we watch them go til we can’t see them anymore.  But every time something goes, the weight of what we’re carrying to Christ is so much lighter and we can run all the faster. 
I’m glad I took meds for the months that I did.  It really did help me to  get control of my thoughts so that I could recognize what it was all about.  But I’m glad I quit taking them too.  Because it required me to let go of things I was clinging to (and I don’t just mean stuff – but people, circumstances, beliefs too) and cling only on the hope that Christ would cling to me even when I let go. 

I still struggle with sin.  At times I still fight anxiety.  But when I do fight it, I know that it’s a warning sign.  I need to look at myself – what’s going on in my life?   What am I doing that’s useless?  I remind myself that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.  What isn’t beneficial in my life that I spend more than 10% of my day doing? 

Consider this, what IF anxiety is a warning sign from the Holy Spirit that we’ve got some things out of order?  What IF we ignore it and decide to suppress it with medication, calling it a ‘disorder’ so we can find comfort in having it.  I’m not saying this is every case of anxiety and there’s never a reason for long term treatment, but hang in here with me for a minute.  Imagine the millions of people in America walking through life with the conviction of the Holy Spirit heavy upon their lives and daily medicating themselves just so they can get through another day.  If Satan wanted a perfect situation, he just got it – call conviction a disorder and come up with a bandage for it so we don’t have to see it or feel it.  This is where I truly believe we sit in America.  We have enough people willing to tell us that anxiety is just ‘part of life’ and ‘a normal medical condition’ and enough fear ourselves to trust and believe it. 

But I ask you, as a Christian, do you think God cannot or will not cause physical changes to a person in order to draw their attention to their sin and/or Himself?  Can He or would He not use physical changes we’ve named anxiety to shake us from our sin-filled lives?

-knittingprose

on anxiety and it’s cause…

This is a letter I wrote to a friend who’s struggling with panic attacks and felt compelled to share here.  It’s sort of  ‘my story’ I guess and what’s led me to where I am.

*****,
I just want to tell you that I really feel for you here!  As a very young child I suffered from panic attacks (mostly dealing with death and hell etc) but somewhere along the line they stopped and it just morphed into a milder edition of social anxiety (not being able to speak in front of people in school, as an adult not being able to go places alone, feeling very nervous and incapable of going to new places, things like that)  I’m 31 now.  Just over a year ago, I was stricken in the middle of the night with my first panic attack… after 25 or so years of not having them.  It was completely out of the blue, but once they started, I had no control at all.  It would start slowly in the morning and by evening I was barely able to breath.  My husband was terrified I was going crazy.  I was terrified I would get stuck in a panic attack and be forced to live out the rest of my life in sheer terror.  It was by far the worse thing I’ve ever been through.  I worried desperately over all kinds of things but mostly dying and my children’s salvation.  What’s odd is that it really was the physical symptoms that would bring on the mental anxiety.  The rapid heart beating and stuff like that.  Something was causing the physical symptoms to kick in.  Finally one morning we awoke and it had never eased from the night before.  My husband took me to the ER and they gave me Xanax.  I spent the next week in a sleep stupor.  I couldn’t even keep awake enough hours to eat enough food.  I was so ill.  At the ER, by the grace of God they found some medical problems I didn’t know I had.  I saw a primary care doctor and I began taking an antidepressant called Lexapro.  It began helping and took a couple weeks to make big progress but it helped.  Even though it helped, I still felt that medication wasn’t the long term answer.  I was completely torn.  I took my medicine cause I did NOT want to go back to that.
Well to make a long story short, I got my medical problems dealt with.  I took the meds for about 7 months and felt wonderful the whole time.  Finally I just really felt like I needed to get off it.  I didn’t want to get addicted to living on a medication that altered my mood.  It was hard.  The symptoms were milder than before and I could recognize them quickly.  I was prepared.  I knew what to expect and I could control my reaction so much better. 
I’m not saying this is how it is or will or should go for you, I just want to offer you what I’ve experienced.  Now, a year later, I do believe the Holy Spirit was convicting me and I was just at a point where I couldn’t run any longer.  This is crazy to say!!  I grew up knowing who Jesus was!  Even in my marriage, we’ve spent our entire married years in church, serving, worshipping the Lord and yet here I sit, convicted by the Holy Spirit.  It’s just crazy!  But I know that’s what my anxiety was about.  I was struggling with secret sin and God was not gonna let me be overtaken by it.  Plus, He had plans.  Plans that involved getting all the distraction of what life in America has become out of my brain, and show me what my true "Christ-centered Dream" is supposed to be.  Not just for me, but for my family.  During those times of anxiety, I desperately craved Christ and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  For a moment, I really was (finally) willing to *listen* and give deep attention to His Word and search for the peace that passes all understanding.  These cliché phrases had a meaning for me in a more real sense than they ever had in any of my worldly circumstances.  The course of events over the past year or little more have set my family on a trajectory that is leading us straight to Christ and slowly dropping away are all the things we’re trying to carry with us to Him.  It’s been hard at times as things have fallen away and we watch them go til we can’t see them anymore.  But every time something goes, the weight of what we’re carrying to Christ is so much lighter and we can run all the faster. 
I’m glad I took meds for the months that I did.  It really did help me to  get control of my thoughts so that I could recognize what it was all about.  But I’m glad I quit taking them too.  Because it required me to let go of things I was clinging to (and I don’t just mean stuff – but people, circumstances, beliefs too) and cling only on the hope that Christ would cling to me even when I let go. 

I still struggle with sin.  At times I still fight anxiety.  But when I do fight it, I know that it’s a warning sign.  I need to look at myself – what’s going on in my life?   What am I doing that’s useless?  I remind myself that all things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.  What isn’t beneficial in my life that I spend more than 10% of my day doing? 

Consider this, what IF anxiety is a warning sign from the Holy Spirit that we’ve got some things out of order?  What IF we ignore it and decide to suppress it with medication, calling it a ‘disorder’ so we can find comfort in having it.  I’m not saying this is every case of anxiety and there’s never a reason for long term treatment, but hang in here with me for a minute.  Imagine the millions of people in America walking through life with the conviction of the Holy Spirit heavy upon their lives and daily medicating themselves just so they can get through another day.  If Satan wanted a perfect situation, he just got it – call conviction a disorder and come up with a bandage for it so we don’t have to see it or feel it.  This is where I truly believe we sit in America.  We have enough people willing to tell us that anxiety is just ‘part of life’ and ‘a normal medical condition’ and enough fear ourselves to trust and believe it. 

But I ask you, as a Christian, do you think God cannot or will not cause physical changes to a person in order to draw their attention to their sin and/or Himself?  Can He or would He not use physical changes we’ve named anxiety to shake us from our sin-filled lives?

-knittingprose

a journey to simple living…

Life is a vapor.  This phrase has visited me time and time again over the past few months.  God has been stirring up our family.  Like a tiny breeze whipping up dead leaves, it started small with gentle stirrings in my heart.  He would show me my sin and lead me to repentance.  He’s guided me in a daily reading time to be in the Word – starting anew with Genesis.  Like the pruning of a vine, He has chiseled away at my life to show me His sovereignty, mercy and grace.  And I feel awakened by His call. 

There have been times in my life when I could clearly see God moving and times when He has been completely silent.  I have found this same pattern throughout the old testament as I’ve been reading this summer.  I do find comfort in that; knowing that sometimes God is silent.  We are to remain faithful and wait, though I have a tendency to find my own rabbit trails during these times!  (It seems I’m also not alone in that.)  But it’s difficult to wait on God.  Sin quickly finds its way in and brings a false comfort.  Pretty soon, God and his mercy are forgotten.  Eventually, the weight of sin is too much to bare and we’re looking around wondering what happened to God.  Where did He go?  We are His children so why isn’t He here, answering our cries for help?  Now His mercy, His holiness, His faithfulness are faint memories and we can no longer remember what His peace feels like.  We’ve forgotten our God.

This is when He grows us.  Our vision becomes smudged with the dirt of this world and our clear vision of Christ is dulled, then covered up like a window that’s been ‘soaped’.  These are the times that make me feel like a little kid at a big fair.  There’s so much to see, distracting my attention – pleasing smells, colorful lights, strange and beautiful things to ogle at.  My hand slips out of the protection of my Father for just a brief moment… Next thing I know I’m alone in the midst of a strange scary place.  People all around and I don’t recognize a single one of them.  Dad is nowhere to be found.  As I stand there in fear and panic, not a soul seems to notice. 

This is where God put me recently.  He roused me from my worldly ambitions with a tap on the shoulder as if to say, “where are you going?”  “What are you doing here? This isn’t where I left you.”  And I’m standing here in panic, realizing what I’ve done.  I see that my ‘brief moment of distraction’ has taken me way off course.  As a matter of fact,  I had been so blinded by the world that I couldn’t see through that soapy window at all.  As I wandered around with my near-sighted vision as though He had completely disappeared, of course He was right there all the time.  He never changes, never leaves; always clings to me no matter how far I stray.  

Well, I literally woke in a panic.  After months of God’s nudging being met by my ignorance, it was clear that nudges weren’t working.  I became filled with panic, urgency, an intense desperateness.  God was talking and I needed to listen. 

Looking back, I can see clearly some of the things God was calling me to.  It was as if He were working up to this moment.  He led me to people, places, stories, Bible passages… I’m amazed as I think about how, week after week, He would speak to me about an area of my life and confirm them in Sunday service or in my daily readings. 

And so this is where I am.  It’s time for a new season.  I feel certain of His bringing me here and while I don’t know where exactly He’s leading, all I can do for now is follow the promptings in my heart.  I know He’s guiding me. 

This is the story of my journey into simple living.  My prayer is that readers will find God’s grace and peace in some small way in these pages. 

knittingprose

a journey to simple living…

Life is a vapor.  This phrase has visited me time and time again over the past few months.  God has been stirring up our family.  Like a tiny breeze whipping up dead leaves, it started small with gentle stirrings in my heart.  He would show me my sin and lead me to repentance.  He’s guided me in a daily reading time to be in the Word – starting anew with Genesis.  Like the pruning of a vine, He has chiseled away at my life to show me His sovereignty, mercy and grace.  And I feel awakened by His call. 

There have been times in my life when I could clearly see God moving and times when He has been completely silent.  I have found this same pattern throughout the old testament as I’ve been reading this summer.  I do find comfort in that; knowing that sometimes God is silent.  We are to remain faithful and wait, though I have a tendency to find my own rabbit trails during these times!  (It seems I’m also not alone in that.)  But it’s difficult to wait on God.  Sin quickly finds its way in and brings a false comfort.  Pretty soon, God and his mercy are forgotten.  Eventually, the weight of sin is too much to bare and we’re looking around wondering what happened to God.  Where did He go?  We are His children so why isn’t He here, answering our cries for help?  Now His mercy, His holiness, His faithfulness are faint memories and we can no longer remember what His peace feels like.  We’ve forgotten our God.

This is when He grows us.  Our vision becomes smudged with the dirt of this world and our clear vision of Christ is dulled, then covered up like a window that’s been ‘soaped’.  These are the times that make me feel like a little kid at a big fair.  There’s so much to see, distracting my attention – pleasing smells, colorful lights, strange and beautiful things to ogle at.  My hand slips out of the protection of my Father for just a brief moment… Next thing I know I’m alone in the midst of a strange scary place.  People all around and I don’t recognize a single one of them.  Dad is nowhere to be found.  As I stand there in fear and panic, not a soul seems to notice. 

This is where God put me recently.  He roused me from my worldly ambitions with a tap on the shoulder as if to say, “where are you going?”  “What are you doing here? This isn’t where I left you.”  And I’m standing here in panic, realizing what I’ve done.  I see that my ‘brief moment of distraction’ has taken me way off course.  As a matter of fact,  I had been so blinded by the world that I couldn’t see through that soapy window at all.  As I wandered around with my near-sighted vision as though He had completely disappeared, of course He was right there all the time.  He never changes, never leaves; always clings to me no matter how far I stray.  

Well, I literally woke in a panic.  After months of God’s nudging being met by my ignorance, it was clear that nudges weren’t working.  I became filled with panic, urgency, an intense desperateness.  God was talking and I needed to listen. 

Looking back, I can see clearly some of the things God was calling me to.  It was as if He were working up to this moment.  He led me to people, places, stories, Bible passages… I’m amazed as I think about how, week after week, He would speak to me about an area of my life and confirm them in Sunday service or in my daily readings. 

And so this is where I am.  It’s time for a new season.  I feel certain of His bringing me here and while I don’t know where exactly He’s leading, all I can do for now is follow the promptings in my heart.  I know He’s guiding me. 

This is the story of my journey into simple living.  My prayer is that readers will find God’s grace and peace in some small way in these pages. 

knittingprose