In 2012, I was sitting at home watching a Halloween episode of NCIS, one of my favorite television shows, when suddenly I had a sensation as if I was unable to breathe. This was a very frightening experience, and I was home alone. I was ventilating, and begging God not to let me die. Eventually I was rushed to the hospital, and my wife who was at her desk left work immediately and met me there. After running several tests, and draining my bank account, I was diagnosed with having a panic attack.
Up until that point, I had no idea that such a condition existed. One thing I have learnt over the last three years is that when you are transferred from a mere head knowledge, or from ignorance to a face-to-face encounter, it provokes you to become an expert at that which you experience. My journey into the depths of anxiety begun on that day.
I was released from the hospital with no medication, and little knowledge about what had transpired in my body just moments before. In the months to follow, I would have many similar experiences, but as my knowledge increased I learnt to ‘bear’ the many symptoms appearing in almost every area of my body. A door had been opened into my life, and I was afflicted by a condition that is rooted in fear.
My personal doctor gave me medication. It turned out to be a pill that is supposed to relieve stress. This was a very confusing time for me, as I knew enough to know I had a spiritual problem that could not be treated with physical remedy, yet that is the culture that we have established in the world today, both in and out of the church.
Scriptures remind us in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Nothing happens in the physical, without first originating in the realm of the spirit. The unseen world, is the real world. This material world, and a part of who we are came from the world that is not seen with the natural eyes. It is usually very difficult to make such distinction, especially when you struggle against mounting, and extremely uncomfortable sensations and symptoms in your body.
Anxiety is rooted in fear, and fear is the substance of the kingdom of darkness. Jesus came to free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:15). Why would this be necessary? Job answers that question in Job 3:25, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.”
While faith is the substance that draws the life and essence of God into our reality, fear does quite the opposite. It pulls death, sickness and calamity into our reality. Anxiety has the power to replicate symptoms of real sickness in our bodies. This is done repetitively, until we believe and accept what is happening to us, and our faith in the reality of what our symptoms point to will materialize and become real if we do not break it.
I started on the prescribed medication for a while, but quickly noticed one very obvious side effect taking form. In the quiet of just sitting and meditating, I would have a suicidal thought. That took me by surprise on occasions, and was very frightening. So, now I had a choice to make. I choose to commit my mental health to God, despite what I was going through.
I have been to seven different Doctors in three years for symptoms appearing from my head to my groin. It has been a very uncomfortable and trying journey, but I refused the medication and choose to trust God and I found this to be the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.
Having faith in God is easy to say, but very hard to walk out. I love the story of Peter on the boat, with Jesus walking on water and usually reference this in my messages and teachings. Jesus, I believe, gave an open invitation to everyone on the boat when He said, “Come.” Only one dared to take the offer. We must understand that there is nothing natural about walking on water, and the boat is our security and safety. At this time, the winds and waves were a little boisterous, so that makes it even worse. But Peter wanted to be where Jesus was, and took a bold step off the boat. Most preachers may want to focus on the fact that he started to sink, and had to be saved… but I like to meditate on the fact that he actually took a few steps. That was commendable. Today the body of water represents everything we wrestle with and against. The boat could easily be our church building. It is our comfort zone, a place we find refuge from the outside storms… and very few want to leave the boat. Jesus was walking on every circumstance that we face, and He is giving an open invitation for us to ‘come’ and do the same.
There’s a breath of revival blowing across the land. I believe that we have to conquer the overwhelming giant of fear that we have cohabited with for many years before we can move into what God is calling us to do. Faith and fear cannot operate simultaneously. One will always cancel the other. Our participation is required for us to be of any use in the hands of God to change this world, His church and bride into the glorious church we were meant to be. God has very little use for a fearful soldier. I was ignorant to the fact that my life was built on the foundation of the fear of death. The fear of death is a breathing ground for anxiety, panic disorders and phobias. God’s kingdom is based on our willingness to lay down our lives. Do you see the conflict?
There are four principles you must adapt if you are facing off with the giant of fear. None of these practices will produce an overnight result, but eventually your spirit man will begin to mature and your mind renewed. When this begins to happen, the size of your giants will decrease. Sometimes the very big mountains and large giants in your life is a matter of perspective, rooted in deception. The enemy will always convince us that he is bigger than he actually is. The danger with this is, the bigger he seems is the smaller our God gets. Imagine humanity trusting more in medication fashioned and made by man, than in the living and true God who created all things. There is a greater release of faith inside a doctor’s office when a prescription is given. I know, because I have walked that path. God wants you to trust and believe in Him. Seek Him first in all things.
So the four principles applicable to your life immediately:
In 2012, I was sitting at home watching a Halloween episode of NCIS, one of my favorite television shows, when suddenly I had a sensation as if I was unable to breathe. This was a very frightening experience, and I was home alone. [Read more...]
We all have bad days during our lifetime, and when you think about it a bad day is unavoidable. There is this saying circulating globally that the surest thing in life is death. We will all face this seemingly divine appointment at some point in our lives. [Read more...]