The end of Deuteronomy…the blessings pronounced by Moses on the people of Israel…and one of my favorite psalms.
I’ve been in a funk this past week. There is no other way to describe it except that I’m like the little boy on Peanuts who always had a cloud hanging over his head. The health care vote did not help my state of mind. Neither did a passage I came across in a Christian book about anxiety that said that panic attacks are sinful. Obviously, the person who wrote the book has never experienced one or he would know that they are unpredictable and occur without warning. They are not always the result of “bad thinking,” or of dwelling on those things that are of this world. There have been times that a panic attack has struck me while I’ve been in the middle of praise and worship, hands lifted high, and a little blip makes my heart jump and my chest squeezes painfully. I’ve always thought those were distractions that Satan throws in my path. But the panic attacks also occur when I wake up suddenly at night from a dead sleep. How can it be sin to experience something that begins in sleep?
“Anxiety is blatant distrust of the power and love of God.”
-John MacArthur, Jr., Anxiety Attacked
Thank goodness I know how to think and study scripture for myself, because this is one book that I will need to read with my thinking cap. I tell myself that I am in the Lord’s care. I tell myself that I have no need to fear. I tell myself to be strong and courageous. I tell myself to be anxious for nothing. I’ve literally said that verse out loud while my teeth chattered in my head and my legs shook so hard I had to sit down. Clearly, the kind of attacks I experience are outside the realm of anything I can fix BY MYSELF. But the Lord Jesus…HE can heal me. He WILL heal me. Of that I have no doubt.
So. My melancholy mood came upon me even as I read the words of my favorite psalm:
“The Lord says,
I will rescue those who love me,
I will protect those who trust in my name.”
Tears welled up in my eyes, and inwardly I cried out to the Lord and asked him how in the world he will rescue me from myself? At this point, my greatest enemy is me.
Nevertheless, I know he will. He is in control. He is the Author and the Perfecter, and one day even my panic attacks will be defeated. Perhaps on the other side, when I get to be with Jesus…perhaps today or tomorrow. In the meantime, as I wait patiently and not so patiently, I ask him to hurry! Fix me, heal me through the Word that is alive…the Word that cuts like a sword through the darkness. And so He will.
2 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 32-34; Psalm 91: Dealing with Anxiety”
Anxiety over the heathcare bill to the point of ulcers? Probably a sin. Anxiety over people liking your new dress at church? Probably a sin. Staying up all night worrying about getting cancer one day? Probably a sin.
Having an anxiety disorder that causes involuntary panic attacks and involuntary obsessive thoughts? NOT sin. Would they consider someone who suffers from seizures sinning as they seize? Of course not, because it is a disease out of their control. An anxiety disorder is a disease of the brain, just as much as a seizure disorder or a tumor! It isn’t something you (or I) do on purpose. It is like a sneeze.
Our brain pathways are screwed up. Things up there are misfiring and chemicals are out of wack. I don’t know why, but there are actual physical reasons why we are the way we are. God sees our brains. He knows we aren’t purposefully acting this way, thinking this way, doing these things. He is more aware of the why’s and how’s than we’ll ever be.
Don’t let yourself be tossed around by people who obviously have no idea what they’re talking about. NO MAN has God’s mind 100%. NO MAN knows why God allows what He does. For goodness sakes, even the most skilled scientists and physicians have figured out all the ways the brain REALLY works…so how can a preacher or book author determine that this brain disorder equals intentional sin??
Not that I’m sinless when it comes to my issues, though. My sin is that I’ve stopped really believing I’ll be delivered from this. I so admire your continued faith. 🙂
Thank you for your kind words and insights, Missy. I have not picked up that book again. Thankfully, I am feeling a little better (strange how the weather impacts my mood so much!).
I want to encourage you that you WILL be delivered. You simply will. I don’t know why it is taking so long for us, but I do have unshakable faith that one day these obsessive thoughts, these “screwed up” brain pathways will be rewired. Scripture tells us that though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are continually being renewed. By His stripes we ARE healed. Whether that healing happens in this life or in the next, only the Lord knows. But do not doubt for a moment that it will happen.
I woke up again last night in the middle of a panic attack. I had dreamed that my daughter gagged on turkey baby food. Weird, I know! But in my dream I tasted it and gagged, too. Then I woke up, heart pounding, body shaking, electrical shocks pulsing all through my body as if on fire, everything in me screaming RUN, wondering if I was really ill or if it was just a dream.
One day, those kinds of dreams will be a distant memory, or perhaps not even remembered at all — for you, and for me!