Originally published Monday, 19 August 2013.
One of the toughest questions to answer is how to move on with your life.
Why? Because it's both personal and painful. Unfortunately, it's a question no one else can answer but you. I'll never forget a few years back when I sat in my church's counseling office. I had booked an appointment last minute because my life at that time was in major crisis mode.
I never knew when I was going to have a panic attack or how long it would last.
But, I remember her vividly. The lady whom I didn't like or care for much. She was just someone who could see me at the last minute. Not to mention, I didn't have to pay her an arm and a leg for counseling appointments. It was during our last visit that she told me,
"I think you should go back on your anxiety medication and stay on it for the rest of your life!"
Or maybe she said "for a long time." I don't really remember much after that. She scared the crap out of me. Her words hung over me like a death sentence. *** Recently, I woke up. It was as if a light bulb suddenly went off inside my mind, and I yelled at the top of my lungs.
"I reject those words spoken over me by her."
I said those words of freedom loudly and resolutely.
It was one of those rare moments of freedom I've experienced since that fateful day at the counselors office, and I didn't want to let the moment go. I want to be free of my anxiety. I want to let go of my past. I want to move on with my life.
Don't get me wrong. I've been on anxiety medication before--a few times in fact.
It helped me when nothing else did. What I appreciated about my nurse practitioner is that she took the time to listen to me. She didn't just tell me there was nothing (or everything) wrong with me. When she diagnosed me with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as a young 20-something--it felt nice to finally know what the heck was wrong with me! But.
But anxiety medication was never prescribed as a forever pill.
It was meant for a temporary fix to help me through my moment of crisis (and I've had a lot).
I'm excited that I am ready to share my story!
In my new book, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me I share the good, the bad, and the ugly about forgiveness and how it took me a really long time to forgive myself. I am no longer hiding. I am a giant mosaic of brokenness, and I'm finally okay with it. I know each piece, each layer has made me who I am: beautiful. It reminds me of the story of Joseph. In Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me, I share how God mightily turned around evil into good for Joseph and his entire family and extended families.
Friends, I believe you and I were intended for good.
Dr. Larry Osborne of North Coast Church asked a key question recently in a sermon on Joseph,
"Why do we have to get to the point of desperation before we let go?"
He also said that what we really think is self protection (or self-care) is really playing the perpetual victim. Joseph's dad Jacob, couldn't see that God was blessing him. All he could see was his grief and why he couldn't let his family move on with their lives. *** Going back to the story of her, and the reason why I was sitting in her office in the first place. I couldn't imagine my life any other way. I thought I could handle working full time along with a brand spanking new literary career and my first book contract. For once in my life I wasn't struggling with how to pay the bills or take care of my health. Instead of viewing a new writing ministry as an opportunity for God to bless me (and something I had prayed many, many years for), I played the perpetual victim. I didn't want to move back in with my parents. I didn't want to give up my amazing ministry job that paid the bills. I didn't want to be "housebound" once again.
But that wasn't what God had planned for me. And that wasn't all God had planned for Jacob.
Thank God Almighty that He uses boneheads like Jacob and like me. And thank God the story doesn't stop there. God's the kind of God that will sit there and help you pack your bags while you sob your eyes out. I did it. I'm sure Jacob thought he was losing his other favorite son for good. But. But God brought Marc into my life. He gave me a new home and an office (my first office)! And He gave me more book contracts!
If only I could go back in time and give my former self a hug and tell her what she thought was the worst thing ever was really the beginning of many blessings to come.
Would you pray for me as I move on with my life and go off my anxiety medication? How can I be praying for you? [Photo: Tanya Puntti, Creative Commons]