Mister Woodpecker looking for a tidbit!
Kim talked about having bad panic attacks when in a car. She does pretty well at home but even the thought of going somewhere in the car starts her anxiety level to go up. This has become a serious problem for her and she can no longer enjoy taking rides or trips with her family. She struggles with this every day.
I’ve been reading some things by Jay E. Adams who is a highly respected Bible counselor. In The Christian Counselor’s Manual, 1973 Zondervan Publishing House, he talks about a man, Paul, who was afraid of driving over bridges. It all started when he had a terrifying experience while crossing a bridge. This was actually caused by a significant sleep loss. After this experience whenever he approached a bridge he became uncontrollably fearful and agitated. These later episodes were not actually from the previous sleep loss but stemmed from the fear of the previous experience. Adams says, “He had associated the experience with bridges, and in his anxiety over whether it would occur again while crossing the bridge, he had emotionally spiraled himself into a panic.” After that even the thought of crossing a bridge brought him a sense of apprehension.
Most of us can identify with Kim and Paul’s problems. Paul’s sounds very much like what is happening with Kim only she has associated her bad experiences with a car? She has had bad experiences while driving or riding in a car so now she gets nervous and starts to build up anxiety whenever she even thinks about going somewhere. She is anticipating panic.
Jay Adams said that the man “had to recognize certain facts and act in a Christian manner in accordance with them.” We will look at some of them. I’ve also added some of my own as I’ve gone through panic attacks myself. This my take more than one post, but here is part 1:
1. His fear was real.
There is real fear. Paul’s was a fear of bridges, and Kim’s is a fear of cars.
Maybe your fear is of the grocery store, bank, post office, driving, or something else. I had many fears that kept me from living a normal life for many years. I missed out on the most productive years. I pray that you will learn something here that will keep you from following in my foot steps.
And, if you have already have had panic attacks for years don’t give up! I truly believe that you can change too! All with the help of our Wonderful Savior! We just need to realize what is actually going on.
2. His fear was wrong and sinful.
We’ve talked about Dr. Claire Weekes’ books and how she taught acceptance. She said we should accept those first feelings or symptoms and then kind of float through or past a panic attack. I can understand what she is saying. If we get that first feeling then say to ourselves, “so what,” and kind of float by it we can sometimes keep ourselves from having a panic attack. When we accept the feeling we don’t tense up so much and instead of tightening our muscles and bodies we relax a little bit and that takes the bit out of the attack.
I believe Dr. Weekes is a wonderful person and has helped a lot of people over the years. I myself have all of her books in my library and they helped me understand the physical side of panic attacks. I learned what was going on in my body when I had all those strange feelings. This is good but it is not the total answer to being healed. Her books are not written from a Christian perspective but from a secular world view. Anyone can be helped to a certain extent from her books, believers and unbelievers alike.
But, as Christians we have something special. God have given us the Holy Spirit to live within us and with Him all the power that we need to be overcomers of anything in our lives. Our resources are different from those of the world. We have the Word of God, the privilege of prayer, the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us. I hope you realize how much more we have in Christ. We are not the same as unbelievers and we do not have to live the same.
Let’s go to the Word of God and apply what God says to our problems.
Psalms 1:1-2 NASB How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
God tells us not to get our counseling from the world but from His Word.
We should love the Word and take delight in it. Keep it in our hearts and think about it all the time.
Psalms 73:24 NASB With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me to glory.
He will guide us as we follow His Word, and when we die He will receive us in Heaven. That is wonderful!
Isaiah 9:6 NASB For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Jesus is our counselor. And one of His names is Wonderful Counselor! How great is that?
We’ve learned in past posts that there are different types of fear. We looked at; fear of the future, fear of man, and fear of death. These fears are sinful fears.
But, we also saw there are good fears as well. These are natural fears (which keep us from hurting ourselves) and most importantly the fear of God. These are holy fears.
Proverbs 29:25 NASB The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
Philippians 4:6 NASB Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
2 Timothy 1:7 NASB For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
We can plainly see that God tells us in the Word that we are not to fear. I remember when I first saw the verse “Be anxious for nothing…” It really shook me up. Here I was an anxiety-ridden, wimpy person who didn’t dare to hardly exist, and He said “don’t be anxious?” I was dripping with anxiety!
I put that verse in the back of my head for awhile and didn’t deal with it. That was a mistake. I wondered if it really meant what it seemed to. It did. As I studied my Bible more I had to admit that worry and anxiety were indeed sinful. That was a hard lesson for me.
Matthew 6:27 NASB “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
Matthew 6:34 NASB “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
It is clear that God does not want us to worry and fret. He is Sovereign and will take care of us. If He tells us not to do something and we go ahead and do it, that is a sin. I’m sorry, but it is true.
It means we are not to be anxious and we are not to worry. They are both sins. That is heavy stuff isn’t it? It is a hard pill to swallow, but when we face it head on in Truth we will become overcomers.
Wayne & Joshua Mack in The Fear Factor, 2002 Hensley Publishing, said this, “The root meaning of phobo, the Greek term for fear, is “flight.” That’s the nature of fear. Fear causes us to run away from things that frighten us. And fear becomes sinful when it causes us to run away from the things God has commanded us to do.”
He goes on to tell us that fear is the opposite of power and is the same as weakness. When we can’t use our gifts and when we are not fulfilling our responsibilities and obeying God’s commands we are weak. I can certainly identify with that. I was so weak and fearful that I did not do anything constructive for a very long time. I could not even go to church let alone be a helpful person there. I could not have a social life. I could not work. I could not live a fulfilling life. I could not help others very much for a long time. One plus, I did pray a lot for others. It took me a long time to learn the things I’m about to share with you.
We will close on those thoughts for this time. But, I want you to know that there is hope for you. You can learn how to overcome those awful panic attacks with the help of our Mighty Savior.
May God richly bless you today!