** Reviewed,  Anxiety and Mental Illness,  Miscellaneous

How Anxiety Brought Me Closer to God

Yesterday I shared how anxiety entered my life. I shared about having a full blown anxiety attack and about the days that followed. I promised to share how this experience has brought me closer to God and I want to do that now.

I have a few very vivid memories from childhood. In one of these memories I am a very small child, perhaps 4 or 5 years old. I remember being in a mall or supermarket. Somehow I have found myself separated from my parents. I look around and all I see is a forrest of legs, and they all look the same. In that moment I experienced anxiety. I was scared. This fear lead me to want to find my parents. It  lead me to want to be closer to them. I remember reaching for a hand that I thought belonged to my dad only to look up and discover that it was not my dad. Looking at the legs, this hand seemed like the answer, but was not. Finally I stopped looking at legs and looked up. When I did this I was able to see my parents clearly and I discovered that they were there the entire time. I had never actually been far from my parents, even though I felt as if I was. There are many parallels between this story and my recent experience with anxiety.

I thought I was lost. In the moment that I was having a full blown anxiety attack I felt as if there was nothing that could help me. I felt as if every one and everything that could help me was far away.

I looked around desperate for help. Lost in that mall I looked around at the many legs that surrounded me desperate to find something familiar and secure. I did the same thing this time around. I looked in a great many directions for help. Some proved helpful, some did not. None solved my problem.

I reached out only to find it was not the right hand. As a child I put all my hope in a hand that turned out not to be my dads. In the case of my anxiety, I placed all my hope in my doctor. When my doctor didn’t do what I hoped he would, I found myself with more anxiety, not less.

Finally, I looked up and found relief. In that mall all those years ago, when all else seemed to fail and I was without hope, I looked up. This helped me to realize where my hope truly lied. This helped me to find the true source of my safety and security. As I dealt with my anxiety I finally came to the same place. I finally looked up and found the source of my safety and security, God. In that mall when i finally looked up I realized that my parents were not as far away as they had seemed. In the same way anxiety made it feel as if God were very far away. BUT, when I looked up to find him, I discovered that he was there all along.

I’m still a work in progress. I will not go so far as to say that my anxiety is cured. I know that God works that way sometimes and that at other times He choses to take us on a journey to healing.  We see this in Jesus’ ministry. There were times where he healed instantly, from many miles away and times when he sent people on a journey to obtain their healing. However, what I have learned is what is written in Psalm 121:1-2, “I lift my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

You see in the darkest moments of my anxiety without medications, my doctor or even my wife there to help me I had no choice but to reach out to God. In that moment I prayed repeatedly “God give me strength to get through this. God give me peace that I lack.” “God give me strength. God give me peace.” This I prayed over and over again. And Guess what happened. God answered and helped me with my anxiety. I know that there is a strong chance that I have not seen the last of my anxiety, but I know that if/when it comes, “my help comes from the Lord” and I will “lift my eyes to the mountains.”

Matt Norman

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I am a Christian, husband, father, pastor, church planter, nurse, and freelance writer.

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