Help Yourself Too

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This is going to be one of the most honest blogs I will probably ever write because it means my being extremely transparent.  It’s funny how in ministry it’s encouraged to be transparent, but we choose in what areas we will be transparent.  That’s not transparency, that’s still a mask.  So here’s to being transparent.

I have spent a lot of time helping others.  That’s just what being in ministry calls for.  But I’ve often wondered if I were doing it for others, for God, or for myself.  I think being honest it was more about myself for a long time.    I knew things weren’t right because while I was “helping” others I was allowing myself to sorta fall apart.  I’ve discovered in the last few days just how fragile we are, and just how human we are.  I’ve counseled so many, but I haven’t taken time to be counseled.  A bit of a mistake.

So a few days ago I had a major anxiety attack.  I’ve never had one so it was extremely scary for someone who very much likes to control his environment.  I actually called an ambulance thinking I was having a heart attack.  Two days later, it feels my whole world has changed.  I have had to face the issues I was dealing with and understand that they weren’t normal, and weren’t very good for my health.  Crazy how life changes so quickly.  The counselor has become the counselee.  I’m not the professional anymore.

But I don’t think there should be shame in that.  Anxiety is something that develops over time.  I’m not sure yet where it all began.  I think I can trace some of it back to the environment I grew up in.  I guess I didn’t really start noticing it until my time in the military.  I remember my blood pressure being high when I was in boot camp.  I can remember the anxiety getting much worse after spending time in Iraq.  Either way, now after years of ignoring it, I have to face it and deal with it.

I thought it was just normal, but it isn’t.  Not to live with that much anxiety.  I have now been prescribed a small dose of medication, which seems to be helping quite a bit.  I’m just not one of those Christians who thinks medication is bad.  Hey, if it helps, then God hooked me up.

I have to say, I was going through a season that had me doubting my relationship with God a bit.  Hey, that’s just me being honest.  I think we all have our moments.  It had a lot to do with some of the reading I was doing and the way I was interpreting it.  As I was laying in the emergency room my pastor walked in.  After talking for a few minutes he grabbed my hand and prayed for me.  I have to say that in that moment every doubt was dispelled.  I felt this incredible calm come over me.  It’s hard to explain that, but you can’t doubt something like that.  Here I am having this major anxiety attack and I suddenly feel calm and connected.  Wow!  Now I’m just praying a lot and trusting that God is going to get me through this, which he will.

No advice in this one.  I just needed to write.  If you’re dealing with the same issues, be brave, pray, and get better.  Don’t worry about what others think or say.  Sometime you have to take time to get yourself back in order.

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