Okay, so I've actually been avoiding writing this post--partly because I'm not exactly sure what to write or how to write it, and partly because I'm just so tired of thinking about it.
I've realized that this blog, although it may be uplifting, might just showcase my spiritual journey as too polished. And although the Holy Spirit has certainly been pouring into me over the last few weeks and months, I also want to share the struggle.
So let me tell you about the thorn in my flesh.
His name is anxiety, and he's probably not a stranger to you.
(Just a heads up: this post may be a bit lengthy. I'll try to include some pictures to break it up a bit. Be mindful, dear reader, that it's possible that you may have already received a version of it via e-mail. Also, please click the links to be re-directed to related Scripture.)
Off and on throughout life, I have struggled with a slight anxiety disorder. By slight, I mean: avoiding crowds (malls at Christmas or on weekends, the grocery store on weekends or holidays, traffic, amusement parks, etc.). After getting married, I could sense that my anxiety was steadily increasing. For the past year, driving a car or going to the grocery store (EVER) became nearly impossible for me without my husband. Instead of merely picking up some groceries, I am constantly battling with myself and my fears--repeating over and over again that I will NOT die and I WILL get out alive and someday this [grocery shopping] will all be over. I usually come back exhausted and irritable.
I knew this was an issue, but I sure as heck didn't know how to deal with it. So onward we go.
And onward we went. Until --
BOOM! -- Sunday: Major. Panic. Attack.
In the city. On July Fourth. In the midst of thousands of people.
Since then, I have steadily been going downhill this week-- just fighting myself to stay functional in front of people. Behind closed doors, I was constantly crying. Or shaking in fear. Or dreading the next time I would have to leave. Or thinking about how the walls were closing in and I was suffocating.
(Please bear with me. There is hope at the end of this post.)
It was a rough battle today. Right now I currently feel at peace. But worn down. I definitely feel like I had a spiritual attack today. At one point, in my sobbing mess, I hear an enemy voice try to defeat me by twisting words and thoughts: "You fall short. You are forever falling short. You should only fear God, but instead you fear man. You should find your refuge in God, but instead you escape. You are falling short. There is no way out." It was a downward, scary spiral and I realized I had the potential to sink into that despair that has won me over in times past.
God is victorious!
Satan does not win.