A couple of weeks ago I woke up and the room was spinning. I felt such physical weakness that I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. I felt trapped in my own body because I didn’t have the strength to sit up. I could have rested and waited for the dizziness to pass, but I didn’t. I lost control, what little I had, and I believed Satan when he told me to be afraid. That fear prompted me to call my parents at about five in the morning.
I was shaking so violently in my bed and I couldn’t stand to keep my eyes open because the room just spun like a carousel. My parents drove to my university—about an hour’s drive—and collected the shambles that they knew formed their youngest daughter. How pleasant that must have been!
When I was seated in the car and the dizziness had been gone for some time, my father said a most disturbing thing. He said it was a good thing I was so close to home so that they could help me if they needed to. Why would that upset me?
I’d been hoping to study abroad in England with two of my friends, but those plans had fallen apart many months ago. My dad was referring to England if I had gone to study abroad. I would have been an ocean away and my parents couldn’t be by my side if I had a panic attack. You see…this is my weakness. Fear. My dad wasn’t implying that if I got very ill they couldn’t come to help me. No, he meant that if I acted like a coward they couldn’t console me.
I find no consolation anyway.
I understood that my dad wasn’t trying to be malicious, but that comment stabbed me in the chest. It’s like he said I was such an anxious mess that I wouldn’t be able to travel or be on my own. At first the situation had been awful because of the dizziness, but after my dad said that I soon found a new reason to be sad and it had nothing to do with dizziness.
Satan often tells me that I have no strength to do anything. He tells me I can’t travel or be alone because I’ll have panic attacks. These are just two lies he tells me, but believe me when I tell you that Satan doesn’t shut up. If it’s not one thing it’s another. Satan is a super persistent salesman that keeps calling and for the love of God I don’t know how he got my damn phone number.
But I didn’t have many days to fret over my dad’s comment because God tapped on my shoulder. He had something to say, and it was in Proverbs.
“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away.” Proverbs 27:10
I found great comfort in this. God dismantled Satan’s lie. God said that not only would he be with me if I was in England, but also that I would make friends in England. If I had a panic attack or got very ill, my new friends would be there to help me even though my family was an ocean away.
It was vital for me to learn this because I struggle with fear so often.
I started writing this post last month and have returned to it now. It’s amazing how much a person changes in just a few days. I see the sin in my words above. Losing control…I was never in control in the first place. God is in control of everything. I also see a lack of trust in God to help me. A lack of belief in God’s strength and ability to comfort me. Looking to myself for strength is most foolish, but I see it in the words. If you try to rely on people, yourself or any object to help you with sin then your failure is imminent.
Medication will not resolve the sin in your thoughts. People will not relieve you of the sin in your actions. People cannot remove your sins. You cannot remove your sins. You cannot resist Satan apart from Christ. YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING GOOD APART FROM CHRIST.
All good things come from God. All good things are God. I found a compilation of very important verses which were put together by Jack Zavada. I only wish I’d had these verses available all at the same time when that fear took me. You see, it wasn’t the detestable dizziness that consumed me. It was the fear. Fear that I was helpless and alone. Fear that I was weak and couldn’t move. Fear that I was having a health crisis at five in the morning. Fear that I was in danger. Fear that I was unable to do anything to prevent these terrible events from happening.
I started imagining an ambulance coming to my dorm apartment. I heard the sirens and saw the flashing red and blue lights. I saw my suitemates woken up and confused. I heard the police officers speaking to me from the other side of my bedroom door. I’d locked my bedroom door and felt too weak and dizzy to get up and unlock it. I was terrified of being trapped in my room.
None of those things happened. None of these delusions ever come true. If you suffer from panic attacks you better start watching where your thoughts are beforehand because they are riddled with sin. It’s not a hopeless biological phenomenon that is taking over your body. My fear thoughts brought on the panic attack. My fear was sinful because…
I wasn’t trusting God.
I didn’t ask God for help.
I didn’t rely on God.
I worried and became anxious.
I didn’t believe God would help me.
I didn’t pray.
I believed the lies from Satan.
I thought the worst would happen.
I didn’t acknowledge that God was in control.
I did not rebuke Satan.
I did not rely on God’s comfort, help, forgiveness, guidance or strength.
I relied on myself and then my parents to help me.
Get it? All of that is sinful. Technically not praying is a sin if you never communicate with your savior. This is the reality of my panic attacks, but some people have panic attacks due to repression of abusive memories, guilt, shame and the reasons go on and on. No matter what though there is sin involved. You may have been raped, abused, attacked or otherwise, but you are sinning when you do not give it to God. God forgives you and helps you. When you are forgiven you are released from shame and guilt. God remembers your sins no more (Isaiah 43:25, Psalm 32:1).
If other people have crippled your image of self-worth you are sinning when you believe them. You are loved by God. You are valuable. You are important. You are powerful. You are strong.
Guess what, it doesn’t matter if you were raped because in Christ you are clean. God is just and you are protected. Do not fear who can destroy the body, but fear the one who can destroy both body and soul in the pit (Matthew 10:28). You may have been hurt, but God’s love is greater than any pain and any sin and any loss. You may feel that you cannot be helped. You are beyond healing. You are depressed. You want to die.
No. God is stronger than any enemy. God is bigger than any problem. God’s love, forgiveness, peace and favor are not removed from you. Satan’s hands are bound by God and Satan has no authority over you. God is in control and he is mighty to save. You can endure. You are looked after. You are cared for. You are loved.
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” Jeremiah 29:11-13
Abortion, suicide, divorce, drugs, lust, addiction, violence, hatred, depression, murder, unbelieving children, rape, none of it owns you. Your identity is in Christ and you are saved. God will heal you. He will raise you up. He will comfort you. You are his. You are powerful. You are loved. You are never alone. You will survive.
You are alive, and you will overcome. This is the truth and rebuke Satan because he will try to mentally convince you of what is false. Whatever God says Satan will try to get you to believe in the contrary. Be aware of him.
“…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” 1 Corinthians 2:11
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Whatever problem or sin you are facing, give it to Jesus. Follow this formula for prayer: go to Jesus, worship (thank God for who he is) and present your requests. Believe in your prayers because if they align with God’s will they will be granted.
“You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:2-3
“‘If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’” Matthew 21:22
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1:2-8
God is with you.
Here is Zavada’s list.
Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. (NIV)
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (NIV)
The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV)
For you have been my hope, Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. (NIV)
Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, LORD, have helped me and comforted me. (NIV)
May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. (NIV)
When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. (NIV)
Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (NIV)
Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. But no one seems to care or wonder why. No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die. (NIV)
“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the LORD. (NIV)
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; (NIV)
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (NIV)
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (NIV)
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (NIV)
Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. (NIV)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. (NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. (NIV)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (NIV)
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (NIV)