katie sluiter: fear
I am immobilized by fear and anxiety more than I admit to anyone.
Two years ago I admitted enough to get a referral for mental health service. It ended up being a Christian mental health service. I didn’t think anything of it at the time; in fact in the original paperwork there was a section on spiritual health and guidance. I either left it blank or checked the “not at this time” box or something.
I wasn’t interested.
I just needed to get a hold on my anxiety. I needed to be able to get through a day without being sent into hiding by the fears that took over my heart and mind.
For a while this worked for me. I took my meds faithfully and attended talk therapy.
And I was doing really, really well.
But something still felt…off.
Last fall, while I was pregnant with my youngest son, I was asked to share my knowledge of writing with the kindergarten through fifth graders in our church youth program. The theme for the year was God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. So I taught the kids how to write your story so that it might inspire others.
It has been a long time since I thought about how every single big thing that God needed to do, he pulled the most ordinary—usually broken and sinning—individual to make His change in the world.
The four weeks I spent working with those kids filled a spot in my heart. Calmed some angry, fearful, stormy seas within me.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56: 3)
After that, I tried to go to church more because being in church calmed something in me. But this sick, tired, working, pregnant momma just couldn’t get there.
After Charlie was born, many old fears came back. New anxieties overtook my heart. I was once again paralyzed.
I’ve struggled with a vast array of letters that equal different mental illnesses. One of the things I was told when I was first diagnosed—and by people I thought were my friends—was that I didn’t need meds or therapy, I needed to get back in church. To pray more/harder.
They were wrong.
But not completely.
While I was a believer, I was not interacting with God and his Word. I was not letting Him have my life. I was trying to juggle and control all the diagnoses by myself.
I was afraid to let go.
My fear to let go of my fears took over my life in a way that even meds and therapy couldn’t fully help.
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
Slowly but surely I am giving my fears to God.
I am still a mess.
But now I am daily reminding myself to hand it all back over to God.
I am spending time with his Word.
I am allowing the “Christian” portion of the Mental Health Services to, well, “serve” me.
I stumble and fall every single day.
When I am the most afraid, I hold my fears tightest.
But every time I have let them go, God has taken them. He has never looked at them, looked back at me, and handed them back saying, “Sheesh, girl, this is just too much. No thank you!”
Nope. He took the crappy mess and made me something new.
“For you have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling that I may walk before God in the light of life.” (Psalm 56: 13)
// Katie’s Blog //