Seeking the Abundant Life
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My heart was racing. I couldn’t catch my breath. My chest felt like an elephant was sitting on it. My arms were tingling and then numb. I couldn’t string two thoughts together nor could I stop them from racing from one topic to another. What was happening? I was having a panic attack—one of many that I would experience.
For years I suffered from anxiety and depression. I hid these attacks from my family and friends until one day I couldn’t hide anymore. I was riding in a car with my best friend when a panic attack struck me. She urged me to get help.
Soon after that, I entered intense therapy to deal with the mountain of issues I had stuffed over the years. It was gut-wrenching. Sometimes I came home from sessions and ended up balled up in the floor wailing from the subjects we covered. I did experience breakthroughs during therapy, but inside I knew there had to be more freedom.
Later, I found myself in the process to become a licensed minister. I came to know that going to church alone wasn’t going to deliver me. I needed a good church, Bible study, the Holy Spirit, and a therapist. I remember saying to the Lord, “This can’t be the life and life more abundantly that Your Word speaks of” (see John 10:10). I went on to say, “Lord, please show me how to handle these attacks.” I wanted to be free and knew that it was my birthright to be just that.
As the panic attacks continued, I recall the Holy Spirit giving me instructions on how to make it through them. He gave me Scriptures like:
“Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV), and “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The one that gave me my wings to take flight was:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, ...” (1 John 4:18).
The Holy Spirit gave me breathing instructions to complete and techniques to stop my mind from spinning out of control. I found out later that these exercises are called grounding techniques. These strategies eventually showed me how to identify attacks before they started and ultimately how to defeat them.
Finally, I was free! “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36) are no longer only words in the Bible, but how I live my life. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).
I am a living testimony of what being freed from the prison of anxiety and depression looks like. If He did it for me, He can do it for you.
Pray this with me: Lord help me to cast my cares on You, knowing that Your love drives out all fear. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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