When I was little, I was often anxious if unexpected things happened, things that didn’t follow the regular pattern. I could start to panic just at the thought of one day having to move out and no longer living with my parents.
When I started junior high school, I felt that there were many big changes. Until then, I had been aware that I could quickly become nervous, but I had not experienced real anxiety.
The battle against anxiety
When I got home from my first day at school, everything went well. But that night I slept restlessly; I woke with a knot in my stomach and I felt stressed. I knew the following day would be tough. I could not eat breakfast and felt a paralyzing feeling take hold of me. It was as though a wave was washing over me, and I knew it would be difficult to keep my head above the water. For the next 10 days, I had absolutely no appetite. It was difficult to fall asleep at night, and in the mornings I would wake up with an upset stomach.
My parents prayed for me, comforted and supported me, and encouraged me to trust that God would help me. I was 11 years old, and with my simple childlike faith I prayed to God for help. My parents also took me to a psychologist, and I got some medicines that helped me, so I calmed down somewhat. It went a bit better, but the problem was not completely solved.
Some years went by. I definitely had the tendency to be overpowered by a kind of inner stress, but I had no more serious anxiety attacks. However, when I started senior high school, it seemed like the nightmare picked up from where it had left off four years earlier. I had gotten older, and I thought I had learned to handle new situations. But suddenly this paralyzing sensation was there again, and I was unable to control my feelings. Why had God created me like this? I didn’t understand why I responded the way I did. Why weren’t my siblings like this? It seemed so unfair to me. Why me?
Why had God created me like this?
I understand it better now: God had something He wanted to say to me. He wanted to speak to me through what I experienced. God speaks to some people in one way and to others in another way. What God wanted, was to help me learn to commit myself to Him and put everything in His hands!
During those days when it was hard for me to start school again, my parents and some of the people closest to me continued to pray for me. I remember one morning in particular when I was completely paralyzed by anxiety. My dad took me to my grandparents and asked them to pray with me. My grandmother was a woman of prayer, and when I entered the classroom that morning, after she had prayed for me, I felt clearly that the heavy burden weighing down on me was suddenly taken away from me.
Those who have really experienced anxiety know that you cannot simply take control of an anxiety attack, and I realized that it was God who had answered our prayer by removing my anxiety that morning. “If God is for me, who can be against me?” I thought as I opened the door to the classroom.
Still, it continued to be difficult every morning that week. I continued to pray to God, and I knew clearly that He wanted something for me. Maybe there was something I had to give up … I thought that if I could get an even stronger faith, then He would set me free from these reactions.
An answer to prayer – by faith!
Early one morning, I realized I had to talk to my father, and I told him that I felt like I was in a dark tunnel. He said he was sure that God had a plan with these, and then he picked a random Bible verse. We received Hosea 6:1-3: “Come, and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.”
Maybe this was the answer to my prayers! But what if this verse was just a coincidence? My whole human way of thinking came back with full force. But I decided to believe! I decided that I would trust God, and told Him that He had to raise me up, like this verse said.
And God kept His promise. Three days later, I could get up without feeling any hint of anxiety or turmoil. I was absolutely calm and felt light as a feather! I knew this wasn’t a momentary feeling. No, God had bound my wounds; He had revived me and made me alive!
This was a huge experience of faith for me. God reveals Himself to people in different ways, and He revealed Himself to me like this. It was through these very trials, and very clearly through the Bible verse He sent me. God answered my prayers. Perhaps He will answer you in a completely different way, but He always answers when we pray to Him the way He wants us to pray – with a pure and undivided heart and when we believe that we can be saved through the trials He sends. Imagine that everything we encounter on our way can lead us to heaven, whether they are light or difficult circumstances. It’s all about using those circumstance that are given to me!
I can become a new creation!
Since that day, I have not experienced anxiety anymore. I have become a young woman with a positive outlook on life. After God led me out of anxiety, He often led me through new circumstances where I knew that all I had to do was lay everything in His hand. My soul will continue to be uneasy when things go a bit awry, or when I come into new situations, but I’m learning to let my soul come to rest and to hold firmly on to the hope I have received.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” Hebrews 6:19. I have experienced that God is good and I know that He has a wonderful plan with all that He sends my way. Just think, all things work together for good to those who love God! (Romans 8:28)
God weighs the trials He sends. He knows what I need to become a new creation. I have to go through the fire to partake of all the virtues of Christ. Not everyone is tested in the same way, but God knows exactly what I need to be cleansed and purged. He wants me to be a new creation, and that’s exactly what I long for, with my whole heart!