It just occurred to me afresh this afternoon that I survived panic. May I never forget that fact because being diagnosed with panic disorder turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Although I prayed for 2 years to be free of panic, I will always be grateful for God allowing me to go through it. Because of panic, I began desperately seeking God with my whole heart, and I found Him. Hallelujah! I didn’t find religion, I didn’t find tradition—I found Him! Wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God! The Everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace! Through prayer and indepth Bible study, He allowed me to grasp some understanding of His Person. He allowed me to sense His Presence in my life. By meditating on verses that spoke to my heart, I began feeding my spirit “good” food instead of the refuse I normally dined on—the world-view of life and how I couldn’t do enough, or be enough, or please enough people.
I will never forget the first time I was looking out the window and singing a song of praise to God when I realized I was smiling—after coming out of the depths of depression, I was actually smiling. I will never forget the days I spent in a state of joy—which was unheard of for me. My dominant personality trait is melancholy. When my husband first dated me he asked me several times why I didn’t smile more. I hadn’t a clue. Now I know it was because all day and all night I obsessed over every mistake I ever made or over every wrong that had been done to me. I relived my past over and over from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. If I wasn’t thinking about what I should’ve or shouldn’t of done, I was thinking about what I needed to do. If I wasn’t worried about myself, I was worried about someone close to me.
How marvelous, how wonderful to finally be able to hand all my problems and concerns over to my Father in heaven. To focus my inner self on my God and my Saviour. To think about good things for a change. Things like love and forgiveness and heaven and power for living and the beauty and majesty of God’s Word.
And the blessings from being in God’s Word and in prayer! The peace that I’d heard so much about all my Christian life, but had never personally experienced. The unconditional love. The companionship of Jesus. Jesus in me. (Me! The screw-up. The scaredy-cat. The klutz. The prude.) It is still amazing to me—more than that, it’s mind-blowing--that the God of wonders, the compassionate and loving God who created the heavens above and the earth below, the eternal Father, the Savior of the world would want to take the time to reassure me. To erase my deepest insecurities with His love.
God knows our hearts. He knows the sorrows that are there. He knows the abuses and heartaches we’ve experienced. I had invited Him to come into my heart—to heal my hurts—to fill all the empty places. And He came. He came and He took over. He directs me through His Word, through His godly impressions on my heart and mind, through my circumstances, and through other people. I’ve learned that my ability to perceive His direction and presence is directly affected by my obedience to His Word. I must love God with all my heart, all my mind, all my soul, and all my strength, and I must love my neighbor as myself. I must keep my daily quiet time with Him. I must keep seeking His face and His perfect will for my life. That means putting down my own agenda, killing the selfish, fleshly desires in me and following Him daily. It isn’t easy. I still have the same human tendancies I had before to wander—to go my own way and do my own thing. To believe that I know what is best. However, looking back over my depression and panic days, there is no doubt in my mind that the rewards of staying in God’s perfect will for my life far outweigh any sacrifices I have to make. I am a panic survivor, and my Rock, my Champion is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 3:1