So, I’ve had a couple of bad days – I’m good now but last week – phew!! I was a mess! First my mom went out of town. Since I moved back home (after over 10+ years of living alone) I didn’t realize how quickly I would acclimate to having a housemate. I miss her a lot!! Thursday wasn’t a good day – I was in a terribly foul mood and didn’t sleep well that night.
The next morning, I went to work and had a panic attack. I haven’t had one for many, many years. Not only was I having waves of anxiety flooding my body, but my mind and spirit were at war with one another – my mind was telling me I was having a heart attack; but my spirit was telling me it was anxiety. All through the attack I barely maintained control- which was necessary because I was at work. At some point fairly early on in the attack (which lasted for over an hour) I turned to God – first by saying my mantra, Psalm 23, and then when I couldn’t remember all of it, I opened the Bible and started reading Psalm 21 and worked my way to Psalm 23. Reading aloud between calls and the playlist of hymns on my phone playing softly in the background, I was able to maintain a semblance of sanity until the attack subsided. Physically I was miserable the rest of the day because of sore tummy muscles (I carry my anxiety and worry in my stomach).
Saturday morning – with little to no sleep – I woke to find two of my three finches dead – which set off another anxiety attack. This time, I was able to let my emotions go – and go they did. In addition to the anxiety, I dumped heaps of guilt on myself for the poor birds’ death. And of course I was guilty! I controlled the universe in which they lived (and died)! It seems unreasonable to think that now but in the midst of panic and grief, even the most insane things seem rational. (I don’t know why they died – they seemed healthy in the days leading up to their deaths.)
One of the things I’ve gleaned from read Tears to Triumph is that when experiencing emotional pain and you want that pain to not only go away but be healed, the pain, feelings and experiences must be surrendered to God. Now, I don’t know how to do that – and told God so.
Not knowing what to do, I just said the words – “God, I surrender to you this pain, sorrow and guilt.” I didn’t feel any different – still racked with guilt and sorrow. In time, as the anxiety attack subsided and calm came over me, I was able to move on with my day. Throughout the day, however, the guilt and sorrow would resurface and threaten to overwhelm me. I was gently reminded that I had surrendered those emotions and they were in God’s more than capable hands.
Lessons learned during this painful weekend: 1. In the midst of panic, scripture and hymns work to calm the savage beast roaring through my brain and body. 2. Even though I don’t feel immediate relief, any fear-based thought or emotion needs to be surrendered to God – simply by saying those words – “I surrender ( fill in the blank ) to You, Lord.” 3. When those fear-based thoughts resurface – which they inevitably will – Love will remind me I’ve already surrendered those things and to not let them take hold of me again.
Love works on my behalf, fear works against me.