“Did God really say?”
The enemy hissed in my weary heart on an ordinary Thursday evening as other accusing, biting, thoughts gripped around my throat and pressed hard upon my chest.
“You’re not good enough. You’ll never be worthy.”
Chaos teemed inside as I tried to steady myself amidst my kitchen cabinet, as my husband was cooking supper and my baby boy was front and center in his highchair. “I fail as a wife. I fail as a mom. My husband and my son deserve someone better than me.” These thoughts fit so seamlessly into my anxious, panicked soul. These thoughts fit so well into the mold of deeper, personal issues. These thoughts fit so well that they seemed to be my own. And then the unthinkable thought came, “No one would care if you were dead.”
The enemy is tricky like that. Building up our negative image of ourselves and building up our thoughts of worthlessness until he can try to wage the ultimate attack.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
But it all seems so real and so awful and so trapping amidst the war of an anxiety/panic attack. I was not sober-minded, nor watchful, nor relying on Jesus’ power. I succumbed, for a gut-wrenching two hours, to the enemy’s tactics.
As I fell to my knees, bawling in utter disbelief that I would let a thought like that come against me, the war waged on. The seemingly perfect Thursday evening came to a screeching halt as I, the normally cheery, bright, Jesus-spouting mom and wife, rocked myself on the ground and let out gaping cries of anguish. My son echoed my cries. My husband bowed a knee low and immediately prayed over me. After his beautiful and powerful prayers filled the room and ushered God’s truth over my panicked mind, he asked me to pray out loud over myself, as well.
Inwardly I refused, and outwardly I refused.
I refused to call on the name of Jesus.
And so my panic continued.
And so the enemy pressed harder.
Awful thoughts kept coming.
The tormentor continued to hiss, prying anything and everything out of his arsenal to paralyze me, “Look at you, making your son cry and ruining the evening.”
Until the enemy all too forwardly made this mistake to say,
“GOD DOESN’T LOVE YOU.”
Wait, what? My mindset shifted. Holy Spirit convicted.
JESUS. Help me, Jesus.
Out loud now, “In the name of Jesus I command all spiritual forced of evil around me and that are tormenting my mind to leave. Jesus, be with me. God, be near. Holy Spirit, overcome me. Yahweh!”
God, I need to hear from you. Speak to me.
“Open my Word.” The Lord said in His powerful, still, small voice.
Not far from the panic, and still feeling the weight of the anxiety on my chest and the dizziness in my head, Jesus empowered me to grab my Bible, brew a quick, fresh cup of Keurig coffee, and head to the front porch.
In full view, the sunset shone vividly across the Wisconsin sky, over miles and miles of farmland and fields. Opening up to the Gospel of Luke, at the place that I had left off from the day before, Jesus met me.
He said, “Rachel, Rachel you are worried and upset about many things, but one thing is necessary. Sit at my feet and listen to what I say. Be still at my feet, listen to what I say.”
In that serene moment, all anxiety aside, the enemy dispelled, the evil thoughts gone, the heaviness of my chest lifted, my eyes wet with tears, Jesus met me. God, in the midst of my despair on an ordinary Thursday evening, held me, rocked me close, and spoke to my hurting heart. “I love you, Rachel. I’ve always loved you. I have plans for you. I have created you. I love you. Rachel, Rachel be still at my feet, listen to what I say.”
The Lord wasn’t just speaking to Martha, in Luke 10:41, He was directly speaking to me. A little further into my reading came the title, in the CSB version, for Luke 12:22 “The Cure for Anxiety.” Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear…. Can any of you add one moment to his life-span by worrying?... But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, for your Father delights to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:22,25,31,32).
Friends, I hadn’t had a panic attack in years.
I was having a good, good day.
My relationship with Jesus is flourishing.
I’m seeking Him.
I’m being obedient.
But yet, I couldn’t win.
I couldn’t win against the schemes of the devil because I was fighting the battle….alone.
Only when I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart and empower me, could I see the fight within my mind and the physical feelings of captivity for what it was; a lie from the pit of hell. I hadn’t put on the armor of God to fight. In fact, recall, I refused to even pray. Read these verses, because they are oh, so important, my friends:
Ephesians 6:10-18 New International Version (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
When the enemy attacks, pray for discernment to see the attack for what it is.
May we be ever mindful that we are in a battle.
May we be ever the more mindful that, in Christ, our victory has already been won.
May we trust our Creator.
May we lean on our Healer.
May we cry out as we raise the flag of Jesus.
May our battle-cry be His.
In anxiety. In panic attacks. In the everyday ordinary.
May we see the ever-present help of our Almighty, Holy God.
For, “If our God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31.
You are not alone. You are wholly loved. You are wholly His. You are ever-useful and ever-qualified for the Kingdom of God and for your family, all in the name of our precious, sweet, self-sacrificing Savior, King Jesus.
Lastly, and most importantly, if you or a loved one are having suicidal thoughts, or thoughts of hurting yourself, or any other like thoughts, please seek medical advice, as well as pastoral, and counseling. This article in no way condones working out panic and anxiety on your own, nor does it take the place of medical, pastoral, or counseling help.
Friends, I recently began Christian Counseling myself and it has proved to be a supremely beneficial help.
If you desire to talk more about this, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to correspond with you and defeat some lies.