Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Overcoming Fear with Faith







Those of you who know me know that I struggle with anxiety. Even writing this post here today is difficult since I intend to be a bit more transparent today than I am normally. So here goes...

I woke up today, drank my coffee, showered, and fully intended to do what I do most days...stay home, do some housework, take care of the dogs and check on my blog friends. The Lord had other plans for me.

While getting dressed I kept getting little nudges like "Don't put on your slippers..wear real shoes today." and then, to my dismay I found myself packing a day bag with a light lunch and some water, and then I unplugged the laptop and got ready to embark on my outing adventure. I called the library to make sure that they still provided free wifi, filled my gas tank, and away I go!

Now, most people might read this and think: "So what, what's the big deal?"
The big deal is that this is the first time I have ventured out of the safety of my home without my husband, my safe person...other than to do a quick errand, or for a doctor's appointment in almost a year. And just like the afore mentioned outings alone, Today I had to deal with the same physical symptoms that accompany the onset of a full blown anxiety attack: nausea, rapid heartbeat, stomach & intestinal cramping, shaking...the same way you feel when you are afraid!
At one point while I was getting ready this morning, I told myself to pretend that I was going to a meeting (like when I was working), and pretend that I am expected to give a public speach or report like I used to, and then once I fully invisioned that, I then reminded myself that I was not speaking publicly, or even standing in front of an audience of people, but that I was only going into the public library to sit amongst the other people, being no different than they...this helped.
So on the way to the gas station I realized that I had forgotten something! (remember the nudge earlier?) That's right...I looked down at my foot on the gas pedal and realized that I was wearing my comfy slippers! Now, certainly my slippers could pass for street shoes (they are moccassins), but they aren't very practical for doing things like pumping gas, so I turned around and went back home to change into real shoes. Once back inside however, I had to resist the temptation to stay there in the cool air-conditioned safety with my dogs who, after all, were very happy to have me return home so soon ! But as I leaned over to tie my shoes, again I felt that inner nudge...and the words of the Lord's prayer began to resonate within my mind,  I finished tying my shoes all the while reciting the Lord's prayer:


                                                     Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.
Amen.

So here I am sitting in the public library with a pounding headache (another symptom), fighting the urge to pack up and run! Knowing that my car is parked  just a few yards away in the parking lot across the street does help keep me from a full blown panic attack. (There is an escape if needed!) 

This time last year I was attending church quite regularily. The panic became so severe however, that I found myself spending most of the duration of the service downstairs in the ladies room, or in the hallway near an open window. I even took a friend with me for awhile, but eventually I just stopped going, as the symptoms became too noticable and since nobody really knew me there yet, I was not missed, no questions were asked when I no longer showed up.
Well, quite recently the Lord began drawing my heart back to the church where we used to take our children for many years, the church where I used to teach sunday school and fill in for the women's Bible study once in awhile. Many people have returned to this church in recent years. There was a major split several years ago when the church seemed to have one pastor after another after another behind the pulpit...the love of many waxed cold..and many Christian brothers and sisters were back-biting one another. After witnessing many unpleasant events take place and even speaking up once reminding everyone about how the Lord has given us a guide to the proper way to settle a dispute within the church..It went unheeded, and I ended up walking out into the church foyer to sit down and cry. I never returned.

 A couple years later it was reported to me that most of the members had left. I will never forget getting a phone call from one of the pastors (the one I stood up to defend against the verbal assaults)..He was asking advice about what was going wrong..I simply told him that he needed to pray about it, but there just seemed to be a huge mis-communication and disconnection between the congregants and himself, as nobody seemed to hear what the other was saying, and that they were communicating much like the locals down the street at the bar, or the brawlers at the township meeting the previous week! And that was because they were letting their emotions guide them instead of trusting in the  Word of the Lord for instruction, and there is no excuse for us who are redeemed from the former things of life to return to the ways of the world.
I will admit, I became very disenchanted with church after that, and I have been to several different ones. I was even a founding member of one; but my heart has always remained with the one where my kids grew up, and I want to return, but the anxiety must be overcome first, (especially since I won't be able to sneak in and out without notice there!). I am doing what I can to acclimate myself back into the outside world..so that is the purpose behind today's excursion.

Our contract with our internet/cell phone carrier expires in August. We are not renewing it, and there are few options where I live for affordable and dependable internet, so I will be posting to the blog from here..the library so I am going to need to get used to this concept as well.
Although not ideal, I am slowly becoming a bit more comfortable in the secluded corner where I have chosen a seat which turns out to be right in front of the air-conditioning vent...the very loud air-conditioning vent. Ah well, I am remaining undisturbed since sitting down here almost an hour and a half ago! So today was baby steps, but steps in the right direction non the less.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)



  






                                                       









11 comments:

  1. Good for you to get out to the library : ) That's a great idea. I have to work on getting out around people too as I'm working at home alone now. This is a great step you have taken. I will pray for you. I feel stronger with my camera. Then I have a purpose to get out in a park. I don't feel like I'm all alone and people are watching me. I also joined our Church Choir so I could be around others. It's helping quite a bit. But what you're going through must be very difficult. I wonder if taking a dog for a walk in a park might help out. Animals are wonderful at giving us courage and of course the Lord. May God bless your efforts abundantly!

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    1. Hi Karen,
      The anxiety did get a bit worse after I resigned from my office job, although I would always get 'sick' before meeting with someone. I think it's great that you joined the choir! Isn't it nice to have something that so blesses you like your photography? God is so good to us, and wants only the best for us!
      ~God Bless~ Lisa

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  2. Hope that this is just the first of many adventures. Just take it slowly, one baby step at a time. Sometimes I think I would be content to never leave my house, but fortunately I don't suffer from anxiety attacks. Have to force myself to do more, like drive through Chicago traffic or drive across country by myself. Each time I do something that I thought was impossible I become empowered to do more. One baby step at a time.

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    1. Hi Jane,
      For the most part I am perfectly content to stay home (always been a nester), but I too know the benefits of pushing myself to do what scares me. I drove through Lafayette Indiana a few months ago...WoW...They drive like maniacs! (sorry to offend anyone from the great state of Indiana :$ ), but there is a reason they have signs there warning $1000 fines for reckless driving! LOL
      ~God Bless~ Lisa

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  3. Yes good for you, This is an inspiration to so many, including me..I suffer with some of the same symptons as you..I can't be in a crowded room at all..The library is a place of peace and comfort to the soul..you have given me such encouragement and I can't thank you enough..Yes we do have to take one step at a time..God Bless You and Thanks for sharing..

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    1. Hi Susie,
      If I ever doubted the reason I posted this, all doubt is now gone! I am thrilled to be an inspiration to others:) Sometimes we think it is only us...forgetting that others suffer as well.
      ~God Bless~Lisa

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  4. Awesome! I too have anxiety being by myself in public. For 20 years I have had a kid attached to me and the first time I went anywhere by myself I felt so naked. I don't like it at all.

    I am so glad you did this and you found a spot that you were comfortable in.

    Baby steps, these are always good.

    Blessings,
    <><

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    1. Hi COG,
      The anxiety definately became worse once the girls all left the nest. I was always getting 'out there' with them. You would think we would feel free..not naked!
      ~God Bless~Lisa

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    1. Hi Kelly Ann,
      Thanks for stopping by here..I am so glad you read my testimony, I never used to tell people my testimony, but a wonderful baptist pastor once urged me to stand up and tell the whole congregation (in a baptist church non the less!) And now I have published it for the world to see!
      ~God Bless~ Lisa

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  6. I was able to read this post tonight. I can relate to your anxiety about leaving your home and going places. This has been more of a problem for me as I've gotten older. I will be praying for you that it will get easier for you and that you can feel God's presence going with you and holding your hand. I've been thinking lately about God holding my hand with His strong right hand. It comforts me.

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