Monday, August 12, 2013

My college roommate was a big, jolly guy. He loved to laugh and did a lot of it. But he was also anxious. When he had an anxiety attack he would blow into an empty bag. I never did know what he was anxious about.

The dictionary says this about anxiety: Painful uneasiness of mind over an impending or anticipated ill; state or an instance of being anxious; solicitous desire.

There are many anxious people in this old world. I have statics but I don't have much faith in statics so I won't bother you with them. But without statics we all know there are a lot of anxious people.

By the time I was born my father had been taken to a mental institution where he remained for the rest of his life. My mother passed away when I was eleven years old. I went to live with one of my sisters and her husband and then later with a brother and his family and then later with another brother before finally going off to college. I don't know just how all of this contributed to me being, what I am going to call serious minded or overly concerned, but I'm sure it did.

Having no one to support me I worked and paid my way through college. When I graduated I immediately took on the responsibility of pastoring a church. Even though the Churches of Christ don't call it that. But believe me―pastoring or not, I did it all.

For almost fifty years I had the responsibility of preaching every week and teaching Bible classes. I shared in the life of every member and shared their joys and sorrows. I married the young and buried the dead. I counseled the depressed, discouraged and bereaved.

I had my first anxiety attack when we left our daughter at college. We left her at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. We have a long relationship with that school, loved it, and wanted her to be there. She wanted to be there!

We were traveling with friends in their camper and had stopped for the night. I woke up on the backside of the small bed. I was hot, tingling all over and felt trapped. It was dark and I panicked trying to get the door to the camper open. Finally, outside walking around in the cool air I began to feel better.

Since then I have had those same feelings on a few occasions. It's always at night. I have learned to immediately go to God in prayer. A few times I have read Scripture, devotional thoughts and prayers for hours. Most of the time I pray, find peace and go back to sleep.

We live in a troubled world. Most of us have "a lot on our plates." We have many things we are concerned about. But we have nothing―absolutely nothing, that God can't handle. So the secret is, and it's not really a secret, we need to always be in the spirit of prayer and know that God will give us rest.


Mevely317 said...

Goodness, but this hit a nerve! When I first read your words (on my phone, outside at first light this morning), it was like a laser. For most my life, I've looked forward to going to sleep; but lately, I'm waking at 2 or 3AM with all these horrid thoughts and fears running through my head. I try so hard to pray them away, Clif, but sometimes they're like an ugly tidal wave. I'm almost afraid of bedtime ... but will continue to turn it over to God.