Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
It was June 30, 2018. I had just gotten off work and I was coming home to make dinner. It had been somewhat of an odd day. Before I left home for work, something was mentally bothering me, and I didn’t know what. I went through my day trying to figure it out and came home even more disturbed. I tried to push through my thoughts, but it was becoming apparent that my day had much more of an effect on me as I started feeling an increase of anxiety. Now, I had dealt with anxiety before, but this moment felt different. It was as if I needed to get to the root of what was bothering me. If I did not figure it out, it would get worse.
I unfortunately didn’t figure it out, and that night I awakened to what felt like a heart attack. My thoughts were racing, and I couldn't stop them.
I was having trouble breathing as my torso tightened and I broke out into a cold sweat. I called out for my roommate and sister, Amanda. “Amanda’, I said through gasps or air, ‘I think I’m having a heart attack!” I really thought that moment was the end. I had never felt anything so real.
Thankfully, my sister rushed out of her room to meet me in the hall and helped me. She knew what I was going through and coached me to a mental place of calm. I had experienced a massive panic attack
that would set a slightly different trajectory for me that summer. Days, even weeks after that night, I struggled with sleep. I witnessed what it was like to experience episodes of insomnia as I went 24 straight hours not sleeping or eating. I finally got to a place where the anxiety and worry didn’t control me or my mind, but that freedom came with me having to answer some difficult questions:
What is really troubling me? What is making me so afraid?
I felt as though I was under spiritual attack, but what we don’t always recognize with spiritual attacks is while we need to armor up (Ephesians 6:11-18), those moments also are an invitation for us to trust our Heavenly Father. I can look back on that time and recognize that the Lord allowed me to experience that night so that my trust would turn to Him. He could be trusted with the questions and concerns that plagued my mind.
Yes, something that summer was causing me worry to the point where I allowed it to consume all of me, and yet, was God bigger than whatever was troubling me? My answer: yes, of course! Then why was I so worried? It was because I didn’t choose to pray and trust the Lord with my request and receive His peace; I was trying to figure it out in my own strength.
Brothers and sisters: we are living in some crae crae times (yes, I went there). The anxiety and fear due to COVID-19 is so electric in the air you can slice it with a knife.
I am not saying to not be conscientious, wise, and educate yourself on this virus and what precautions to take; but I am saying to not let the spirit of fear dictate your reactions or responses in the face of uncertainty.
Philippians 4:6-9 encourages us to not be anxious and to put our thoughts on things above. We serve a good and loving God. What we currently face does not surprise Him. He is still in our midst, and we need to be aware of this truth and rest in it. A lot of what I felt on June 30th is the same feeling that most of us are sensing right now.
What got me through that day and the weeks that came thereafter was clinging to my Father God who reminded me through His word that: I have been clothed in His righteousness, His banner over me is love, perfect love casts out fear, and therefore, I don't need to operate in a spirit of fear because He has given me power, love, and a sound mind. Don't let fear torment you or waste these precious days. Dig deeper into your relationship with the Lord. Surrender to Him your anxieties: He’s patiently waiting.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace in this time of uncertainty. He is with you and when you come to Him in prayer, He promises that His peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.