Here are the last three posts in the series, with just the closing post to go.
Do you ever feel like you can’t breathe? I do sometimes. At times in my life, it has happened frequently. Not because of asthma or a hard workout, but because of anxiety. It is very frightening. My rational mind tries to reassure me, “you are breathing, you are getting oxygen, slow down,” as the other part of my mind goes off to the “I’m never going to be able to take a deep breath again, I’m going to pass out” place.
I can say, that over time, I’ve come to recognize when my anxiety level is rising and have some idea how to stop the possible downward, intense spiral into a full-on anxiety attack. For me, the difference between feelings of anxiety and the feelings of being stressed are different. Anxiety is a much more physical response that demands attention. When I am stressed I may feel overwhelmed but know that if I forge ahead things will get better.
Now, when I feel anxiety, I stop. I stop what I am doing, clear my mind of all the negative messages running through it, and reach for God. Sometimes I pray, more like plead, for peace from him, other times I hold onto whatever medal I am wearing that day and ask for that saint’s intercession.
I have learned to turn to God and give him my troubles.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
What a beautiful testimony to trust! We will never be separated from the love of God. Isn’t that sometimes the problem? We believe that God will stop loving us because of our sin. He doesn’t stop loving us, he is waiting for us to return to him. A priest gave this image: in the story of the Prodigal Son the father runs to greet the returning son; that is God, looking for us and when he sees us coming he runs out to us to embrace us, forgive us and give us his love. I’ve been using that image since I heard it, when I am out of sorts or have made a mistake, God is there and nothing can separate us from him.
Wednesday Wisdom, yes, of course, it’s Catherine!