But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.” My times are in Your hand. Psalm 31:14-15
Anyone who has struggled with an anxiety issue knows how crippling it can be. Something triggers it and that ‘thing’ is different for everyone. It can be a fear of the dark, or something more defined and unique like a creaking of the floor outside a closed door, a thunderstorm, or a dreaded car coming up the driveway. Whatever sounds or smells triggered the original stressful event are the sounds and smells that stay with you for life. None of us are unaware of the PTSD our soldiers suffer from their time overseas. The sound of a balloon popping sounds like gunfire and sparks as much terror as though they were still on the battlefield.
In my thirties and early forties, I faced my own triggers, not by choice but out of necessity. They were performance related. What was the catalyst? The ticking of a clock backstage.
As a 14 year old teenager, I was performing in very stressful situations where I simply wasn’t prepared. An hour before going on stage, music was being thrown at me to perform. Little of it involved just sight-reading. That would have been easier. Most of it was improvisation ~ looking at a piece of music, transposing it, then modulating to other keys while crafting an intro and ending. It was never just one piece of music but five or six for one evening. Three to five thousand people were often attending. While backstage, I watched the clock. It felt like a bomb about to go off. “I have thirty minutes to learn this. Fifteen minutes. Seven minutes. Oh no, I’m not ready. But I have to be!” Then I would hear my name being announced, I would flip a switch in my head and walk out. You get the progression of fear, I’m sure. I felt like Job when he said, “That which I feared has come upon me.”
How creative is God when He is called upon to heal complicated issues? I found out when anxiety crippled me twenty years later. I cancelled concerts due to ‘illness’ but what people never saw was the thirty-year-old woman huddled in a ball on a nearby hotel floor. God came to my rescue. He assured me that He was Lord over the clock and Lord over all time. In fact, He operated outside of time and space and had me in His hands. In the space of several years, performance anxiety was replaced by a joy of knowing that I didn’t take the stage alone. I was not under pressure to perform without supernatural help. (I also learned to say ‘no’.) I gave my mind, memory, talent, and hands to the One who is all-powerful. Currently, I do not suffer from any stage related anxiety at all. Praise be to God! I can see a clock and not even make a painful association
God’s healing is creative and personal. God’s healing is unlimited and love-driven. God’s healing was conceived long before the painful event ever happened to you or me. He is a God of intervention, not a God of passivity. Though life can catch up to us and momentarily pin us to the ground, God has already visited us here on His heavenly timetable. He has woven an intimate cocoon where He and His child can step out of time and rebuild what was shattered so long ago.
I love You more because of how You love me. I know that’s childish but You knew that’s how it would be. Thank you for giving me wings out of confinement. Amen
Originally published Wednesday, 01 August 2018.