Step One: Acknowledging the problem
FEAR… the dreaded four letter word. It’s ok and even “normal” to fear certain things, right? Fear of heights, snakes, clowns, flying, public speaking etc. It’s a normal human response, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that as fear creeps in, it takes a hold of our heart and keeps us from the life of FREEDOM that Jesus has for us to live. Looking back on my past, I see so many ways that fear kept me from experiences and opportunities.
Fear manifests itself in doubt, worry, anxiety, and panic and I have experienced them all in varying levels. For me, fear began as small doubts that Satan would plant and then my mind would do the rest.
Shortly after the tragedy of September 11th, 2001, I began to have full blown panic attacks. Shaking uncontrollably, sweating, chills, headache, nausea, heart palpitations, shortness of breath…. you name it and I felt it all at the same time. It truly felt like I was dying! At the time, I didn’t know that it was a panic attack, I thought something was desparately wrong, so I went to the doctor. After lots of tests, the doctor said, “You are struggling with anxiety and panic, it’s all in your mind and you can control it.” In some ways, this was helpful and in other ways, it was not! So for the next several years, I balanced my life with the occasional attack here or there. I would use mindless TV or even sometimes worship music and scripture to get through those moments, but they were terrifying.
But things began to spiral after my second child was born in 2007, I was a working mom of 2 trying to balance life and the anxiety was overtaking me…
Fear manifested as a list of voices in my head on a constant loop.
I CAN’T…be a good wife, keep the house clean, be a good mom, make a difference in this big world…
I’M NOT…skinny enough, a good public speaker, confident in my work …
I DON’T…spend enough time with my husband or kids, spend enough time in God’s word, speak enough words of encouragement…
I’M NOT QUALIFIED TO….mentor & lead in my family, in my community, in my church…
So what I heard 24 hours a day was:
You can’t do anything well.
You are not good enough.
You don’t deserve God’s love.
You are not qualified to help anyone.
I was EXACTLY where Satan wanted me to be, completely DEFEATED!
The anxiety and fear began to grip me so tightly. The voices were completely paralyzing. Most days, I would wake up and stumble through the tasks right in front of me and nothing more. I only had the energy to put a smile on, get the kids ready for school, go to work, come home, get food on the table & get everyone into bed. I couldn’t truly engage with the world around me. Fear kept me from fully investing in my marriage, my family, & my friendships. It kept me from fully investing in MY LIFE!
No one around me knew the voices that I was battling just to get through the day and it was utterly exhausting! The panic attacks seemed to always be looming. I felt like I was always just on the verge of one… fear was stealing everything…especially my joy! No one, but my sweet husband knew that I was battling this and he was my rock, but he didn’t know how to help me. This fear and anxiety had me completely in BONDAGE and I begged God to FREE me from it. I began to question if God could really get me through this. My faith was shaky and fear was overtaking me!
I was begging God to take this away… “God, if you are who you say you are, you can FREE me from this!” As I prayed, God revealed to me that He couldn’t free me, because I wouldn’t let go!
Oh yeah, “Let Go and Let God” right! That’s seems so easy, but is so incredibly hard… I was frustrated, defeated & felt like a failure. So my first step in letting go was to begin to realize that I couldn’t “fix” this alone.
After acknowledging the problem & seeking a solution, there were two more significant steps i had to take toward freedom.
The second step in my journey was toward physical health.The third step was my journey toward emotional/spiritual health.
I’ll continue sharing my story & journey in future posts.
In the mean time, join our Praying Mom Community to gain access to a free printable called, “Simple Prayers for an Anxious Heart”
There’s also audio HERE of me sharing about my journey for the very first time publicly on a stage several years ago, I was VERY nervous so forgive the excessive use of “um”…
Are fear & anxiety part of your story? Have you seen glimpses of freedom or do you feel like you are still in bondage to it? Would love to hear from you so I can be praying!
Comment below or contact me directly HERE.
Founder of The Praying Mom
This website was birthed out of Christy's passion to see women become intentional in their lives. She is passionate about helping moms discover their purpose in their homes, churches, communities & world!