I Know! (My Prayer During My Near-Panic-Attack)

I just about had a panic attack a couple days ago, Oct 2.  I could feel things spiraling in my mind, in my stomach.  I felt like I was going to completely lose it.  

And all over a very small issue (a cavity in my son's tooth that needed to get filled), but it's an issue I've had a phobia about for the past decade or so.  And although my husband can't understand it, this issue triggers so much for me - my fear of failure, discouragement over trying so hard yet failing anyway, my fears over whether we are eating healthy enough or not (we eat pretty healthy, but it used to be healthier), my extreme fear over losing control (that feeling of having to keep all the balls in the air, and if you drop even one, it's all going to crash down around you), my fear over what the future holds and what I can and can't control, my extreme fear that Jesus won't come back soon and we'll have to stay in this place for a lot longer, my fear over if I will have the strength to stay in the place much longer, etc.

This one small issue (and others like it) triggers so much.  And this is where the panic comes from.  (And I have had this fear for over 11 years now.  It's been a long time of stressing out about teeth.)

The other morning, as I began spiraling out of control, I started doing what I could to calm myself down - reading my Bible, saying Bible verses out loud, listening to Christian music, praying, praying, praying, etc.  And it was kinda, sorta helping.

But then something happened that helped much more ... 

God spoke two words to my heart.

Two tiny words.

I was praying about how terrible I felt that I've relaxed in the past 2 years when it comes to eating healthy.  And I was letting my son brush his own teeth, when I could have been doing it for him.  And I felt like my relaxing is what led to this cavity, like it's all my fault, that I dropped the ball and now he'll have to pay the price.  I'm such a failure.

"But," I told God, "after the stress of 2016, I needed to drop the ball for a little while.  I needed to crash.  I needed to relax a bit and not keep trying so hard."  (Constantly trying so hard and feeling like I was failing anyway is what led to my panic attack of 2016.  Which was followed by an even worse summer that wore me down to the point of "So this is the point people get to when they kill themselves."  It was a very hard time!) 

And as I told Him about how I needed to relax, to drop the ball, to let go of the things I held onto so tightly, all I heard were two tiny, quiet words from Him:  "I know!"

Two tiny words helped stop the rising panic (not totally, but mostly).  Because I knew what He meant.  

He meant, "I see you.  I know what you've been through.  I know you needed to rest, to drop the ball.  I know you didn't have the strength to keep striving so hard, that you've been hurting badly inside and that you needed to crash a little and just do a good-enough job, instead of a great job or a perfect job.  And that's okay.  It's okay to let go sometimes.  And I knew things would end up here, that they wouldn't necessarily turn out the way you wanted.  But that's okay, too.  I can handle that.  I can work with that.  It's not the end of the world.  It doesn't mean everything is falling apart.  It's just that things will go a little differently than you wanted.  But that's okay.  Because I've still got this, and I've still got you.  I don't need you to do everything perfectly because I am in the business of taking care of you, of your concerns, of handling the things you can't handle, of fixing the broken things and mending the hurting things.  I've got the future in My hands.  So you can let go a little and relax.  I don't need you to be perfect.  I just need you to need Me, to let Me be God."

And I felt a little better after that, just knowing that He knew.  That I wasn't overlooked or abandoned, or shamed for failing or for dropping the ball.  Regardless of how I felt about the situation, He still had it all in His hands.  He still knew what was going on and how He would carry me through it.  

He knew.

And that felt comforting.

But later as I was driving to the store, going over this issue in my head, I was still unsettled about the guilt I felt over dropping the ball, over failing my son, over not doing a great enough job to keep him from getting a cavity.  And I knew that guilt would eat at me.  That kind of guilt is what led to my panic attack.  It's the vulnerable spot that Satan likes to poke at over and over again until I cry or panic.

And so I prayed as I drove, "Please, God, help me to deal with the guilt.  Please, help me to know how to deal with the guilt I feel over this.  I don't want to feel this bad about it because I know it's going to hurt me.  Help me, Lord.  Please!"

And once again, He spoke.  Just a few short words, the way He does whenever He speaks to my heart (which isn't often, but only when I really need it) ...

"This is from Me."

This is from Me!  

He countered my guilt by reminding me that whatever happens in life is ultimately from Him.  I might have dropped the ball, given them a bit too much sugar, let him brush his own teeth.  All of which could contribute to a cavity.  But ... 

"This is from Me."

God was telling me that no matter what I did or didn't do, He alone had the right to decide what to allow to happen.  And He allowed this to happen.  Whatever happens to us is His doing - sometimes He causes things and sometimes He just allows things.  But He gets to decide what to allow and what to block.  And for whatever reason, He allowed this cavity.  This was not just from me.  I wasn't totally responsible for it.  I wasn't simply a terrible failure.  It was from Him!

And as soon as I heard that, I realized what He was saying.  It was "This is from Me!  I allowed this.  And now the question is, 'Will you still trust Me, even when things didn't go the way you wanted?'"

And all I could do was immediately go, "I trust You, Lord!  Yes, I will trust You."

And this became my prayer (and it might fit for your situation, too):  

"Lord, this fear has held me captive for far too long.  I have spent enough time sweating over this issue, being overly concerned with it.  But I'm done.  I'm laying this fear at Your feet.  I have tried to do things my way for so long, and I've exhausted myself and stressed myself out terribly bad.  I have tried it my way, but now I'll do it Yours.  If this is the way You want to do things, if this is what You've allowed, then okay.  I will trust You.  I will do it Your way.  I might not be able to trust me, but I can trust You.  

I've struggled my whole life with being able to rely on others, to let anyone else have the control for fear of things going wrong.  Of bad things happening.  But now, I need to put this in Your hands.  To trust that You have it all under control.  I can't see the future or know how You might use this or what will happen because of it.  But I can trust You.  I can trust You to be here with me, to carry me through it, to keep my son safe, to work all things into good.  And maybe the best 'good' that can come out of this is me simply learning to let go, to finally face this fear I've had for over 10 years, to walk through it with Your help, to break the hold it's had over me, to go through it and see that things aren't as tragic as what I've built up in my mind.  

Whatever happens
doesn't have to mean I failed, just that You chose to do things differently, to allow things I didn't want.  But You are still in control of it.  You allowed it for whatever reason, and I can trust You.  And it feels oddly comforting to let someone else be in control, to let someone else decide what to do about a situation.  I am so used to relying only on myself, to feeling like I have to be the one with the answers, the one to get things done, to keep all the balls in the air.  And it's been exhausting me and panicking me to have to struggle so hard to hold onto the steering wheel of my life.  I have been living in my fear over losing control and having things go wrong for far too long, instead of living in reverent fear of You.  I have been listening to the lies of the Evil One, letting him scare me with all sorts of terrible imaginings, instead of listening to You and trusting You to hold me, my concerns, and the future.

And maybe this disappointing situation is Your way of telling me to hand over the steering wheel to You, to teach me that I can't do it all on my own and that I don't have to do it all on my own, that I don't have to keep relying only on myself, struggling to keep it all together.  That I don't have to let fear win.

These fears are not real.  They are thoughts, daydreams, imaginations of all that can go wrong if I fail or drop the ball.  They are not real!  They are imaginary.  And they are from the enemy, meant to keep me captive and to take away my joy, peace, and faith in You.

But what is real is the truth that You will be with me, that You will never leave me nor forsake me, that You can handle what I can't, that You've always carried me through the hard times before, and that You will work all things out for good.  And You did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of sound mind.  And I know You're telling me, 'Rest now!  And let Me handle it!"  

Thank you, Lord.  If this is what You've decided, then I will trust.

And please, Lord, surround me with Your heavenly angels to keep evil away.  To prevent evil from interfering or causing more trouble.  And in the name of Jesus Christ, I command any and all demons who are harassing me or my family to leave right now.  In the name of Jesus Christ, I command any demons here to stop filling me with fear and anxiety.  The Lord is my fortress, my help in my time of need.  My hope is in the Lord, to carry me through this, to work it out for good, and to give me strength, peace, and joy.

Please, Lord, take my anxiety and fear and discouragement ... and give me Your peace and joy instead.  Please, help me to stop hating life, to stop fearing everything.  I don't want to hate life anymore or to be constantly afraid of everything.  Please, help me figure out how to do that, how to break free from those terrible feelings (but please, Lord, not with any kind of tragedy or anything).  

Please, Lord, I am submitting to You in this situation.  I resist the devil's plan to cause me to fear, to crumble in panic.  And I pray this will loosen the hold that anxiety, that this fear, has had over me for so long.

Thank You for Your care in the past, for being a God who listens and responds and cares.  For promising to work all things out for good.  I know I can trust You.  And I will trust You in this.  Amen"

Some good songs from Tenth Avenue North to encourage your heart during the struggle:

Hold My Heart

By Your Side

Healing Begins 

And one from Crowder (I love this video): I AM

And a couple posts to help during those panicky times:

Fighting Off A Panic Attack

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts
(lots of links in this one)

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