Two nights ago my left arm started feeling funny. I was up late watching T.V. and figured I was laying in a weird position and that made my arm uncomfortable. I got up to get a drink of water and felt a cramp like feeling in my chest. It was strange. I got back in the bed and felt the feeling in my chest again.
I linked the odd crampy feeling in my chest to the strange feeling in my left arm and BOOM! The trigger was pulled.
“Am I having a heart attack? Your left arm feels funny when you’re having a heart attack. Is this what a heart attack feels like? Oh my gosh! Do I need to go to the doctor? Oh! I don’t want another doctor bill to pay. Everyone is sleeping and we’ll have to call the in-laws to watch the kids while Tony and I head over to the hospital.”
Then the physical sensations kick in – tight chest, shortness of breath, tingles all over my body, sick to my stomach.
In the middle of all that I just stopped, took a step back, and thought about the reality. “I have been laying here for a few hours watching T.V. and I was fine. I was fine all day long. I am a healthy individual. What did I eat recently? Ah ha! I had chips and salsa late this evening. I’m having heartburn. I need to go to sleep, I’m not going to a hospital, and if I was having a heart attack I would KNOW and I would go to the hospital. This is NOT a heart attack. This is heart burn.”
I prayed and went to sleep.
When I woke up the next morning I couldn’t believe how easy it was to fall asleep after being on the verge of a panic attack. I got up and felt a heaviness over me. I was taking my son to daycare when I felt like I couldn’t get a good breath. I kept calm and thought about the panic attacks I used to have daily. I have not had a panic attack in 4 years! I’ve felt overwhelmed at times and that I could have a panic attack but they never come. I was on the verge of one the other day and actually got excited. I know that’s crazy but I figured I would drop my son off at daycare and then park the car and just sit and have a panic attack. I haven’t had one in 4 years and I really wanted to experience one again so I could come home and write about it! No panic attack though. You see, when you don’t fear the panic attack anymore it has no power. The reason why panic attacks are so drawn out and dramatic is because we spend our time resisting them. They are so dreadful and scary but when you’re not afraid of a panic attack anymore it has no power.
I was bummed. I was driving back home and bummed that I didn’t have a panic attack. I laughed and talked to God about how crazy I am. ha! I then thanked God for allowing me to experience such bondage for a year of my life in 2011. I was a slave to anxiety and depression. Something so awful wound up being the very thing that set me free (through Jesus of course).
The rest of my day was wonderful. It was around dinner time when I realized what a great day I was having and that I had forgotten all about the morning when I thought I was going to have a panic attack. In 2011 a shaky morning would have thrown the whole day off. I would have resisted the dreaded panic attack all morning. My thoughts would have been torturing me. I would have tip toed around all day long to avoid a panic attack and then have one trigger over the stupidest thing. After the panic attack I would be so annoyed and tired that I would be mean to everyone around me and veg around on the couch for the rest of the day because I would not have the energy to hold my head up.
So what was the difference between 2011 and the other day? I’m not afraid because I know God holds my next breath and I trust Him to do whatever He needs to do with it. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience fear. This doesn’t mean I don’t get startled. This means when I DO get startled, I open my mouth and speak against the lies of the enemy and choose to trust God regardless of how I feel.
Being a believer doesn’t always feel good. This should be no surprise to us because the Bible tells us often that we will face some hard stuff in life. But just because we don’t feel good or things aren’t going our way doesn’t make God any less of God.
The difference between 2011 and the other day is that I didn’t let the feelings stop me. My husband took off work to spend the day with me and we had plans. I was going to have a good time with my husband. I didn’t shut down because I felt overwhelmed or on the verge of a panic attack. Those silly feelings were just going to have to come along with me because I was going to hang out with my husband. You know what happened? Those silly feelings went away. I prayed for them to go away but I didn’t dwell on them. Whether they stayed or left me – I was still going to have a good time with my hubs. You have the power to do that too! The problem is we get so panicked over the feelings that we shut down. We get so startled and burdened that we don’t open our mouths and speak against the lies of the enemy. Don’t dwell so hard on the feelings that you forget to open your mouth and speak truth over your situation.
I have felt fine ever since the other day. Inconveniences are going to show up to try to trip us up. That’s okay. That’s life. The power of hell has no hold on us because Jesus paid it all! By His stripes we are healed. Whom shall we fear? Greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world. The enemy is crushed under our feet. The only power the enemy has over you is that which you give him. Isn’t that wild? He cannot control your thoughts, he cannot possess you if you are a child of God because you are sealed. The only thing he can do is scare you. He can shoot fiery darts at you but you have the power through Jesus to shut him down.
Open up the Bible and read the scriptures. Equip yourself with the power of God’s word. Pray! Open your mouth and speak out.
Press forward. You got this, friend!