Panic, Anxiety, Shame, and Jesus: The Truth About Faith and Fear 2

Panic, Anxiety, Shame, and Jesus: The Truth About Faith and Fear

I woke at 4:14 am in a panic.  Panic tends to be the soft spot in my belly that enemy loves to poke at.

Panic is my Achilles heel.

If I were a werewolf, panic is my silver bullet.

Should you find me lying in a coffin, peacefully sleeping after a night of terrorizing virgins and blood sucking, panic is sunlight, a crucifix, holy water or a wooden stake to my immortal heart.

If panic were to come in the form of Medusa, I would long since been stone cold.

Superman’s Kryptonite.

A flamethrower to a Zombie.

And as poetic and dramatic as this post might have been, I actually Googled “how to kill immortals” and ended up reading a chat room conversation where some people were, in fact, fighting about the validity of the argument and I snort-laughed coffee out of my nose.  You see, you can throw an immortal into a volcano, but if they can regenerate… then it is to no avail?

They are immortal fool.

And in that immortal state, there is no death.  You cannot die so we can go round and round, but this is going to get us nowhere cause, yeah… their personal hell is the boredom of being trapped in life everlasting.  199,850 comments, and a moderator who bans people for not taking the dialogue seriously.

You cannot suggest that locking the immortal in a room with continuous Justin Beiber playing a legitimate resource for killing the undead or you get expelled because “this is a serious discussion.”

And I agree, that isn’t funny.

I love Justin Beiber.  I have Beiber fever.  As a matter of fact if panic were Beiber this creepy middle-aged fangirl would require smelling salts.  You get what I am saying?

The point is panic or anxiety, is what had me up at 4:14 am this morning unable to catch my breath.  And I stand by this, while I am confident there are some crazy people out in the webernet that have WAY too much time on their hands, I am much more confident that the enemy uses our fears and panic to distract and torment us.

Greater still, the epic tormentor has used one instrumental lie to separate me from the perfected antidote for years:

That if my faith were greater my panic would be less. 

If only… If only, I were better, if only I worked harder, believed more – was somehow a cleaner, deeper, nicer or a more perfect Christian, panic wouldn’t be an issue.

Ye of such little faith. You weak and lowly coward… you are so small minded, so simple. Yes, have a Xanax because Jesus isn’t enough because you are so pitiable.

Woman, fix yourself or stay away from me.

And I sulked away, swallowed a bitter, but desperately needed pill, all the while believing Jesus despised my weakness, loathed my prescription cabinet, and lamented my creation.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I love Jesus and sometimes I need a prescription. #stolenjesus ” quote=”I love Jesus and sometimes I need a prescription. #stolenjesus”]

Shame is no remedy for anxiety.

 It is fuel to a flame.

In the last few months, our household has met with much upheaval.  A newly married daughter, a new Marine son, the removal of a long-term foster daughter, and a move from our ranch home in West Texas to a new home in Northern Houston.  Immediately upon arriving in Houston, we had to evacuate and live in a hotel for four days, thank you Hurricane Harvey, and when we returned, Sam, our 5-year-old son started kindergarten.

Sam is wrought with anxiety.

He is sleeping in our room, he won’t go to the bathroom alone, he started wetting the bed, and he wakes four and five times a night screaming for me. If I take a shower, he brings books and sits outside my bathroom door and waits for me.  He follows me from room to room. If I make the mistake of leaving a room without alerting him, he screams bloody murder, as if someone is trying to kill him.

I am heartbroken over this.

When we adopted Sam, I wanted nothing more than to provide him love and security.  The mere idea that I have failed him in this horrifies me.  My prayers for him are that he would be flooded with peace.  I crave he understand that we are here for him, he is safe, loved and adored. To help,I made a basket for him with crayons, coloring pages, and books. I keep it next to the bathroom door. It is there so that he can be entertained in the event I get to shower… or need to pee.  I moved a mattress into my room, he can sleep in there for as long as he needs.

I will do whatever it takes to restore peace and balance to his life.  For now, my husband and I know this is crucial for Sam. We are most careful with him because he is suffering.  He is our child, and he is in anguish.

We are not mad at him because he doesn’t trust us right now.

He is confused and scared.

We are not disgusted with him because of his anxiety.

He is terrified.

What parent would mock or be repulsed by this?  Who would expect this baby to study us in the midst of his terror to understand our love so as to work through this nightmare?

If I told you I gave Sam a book with all the ways I am good, all the ways I am wrathful, and all my mystery and I made him sit alone and memorize it and ponder the patheticness of his distrust, would you email me and applaud my parenting skills? Or would you be horrified that I would be so so cruel to a child who is simply… afraid.

Panic is fear.

Jesus asks in Matthew 7:9-12

“Would any of you who are fathers give your son a stone when he asks for bread? Or would you give him a snake when he asks for a fish?  As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

What is this lie the enemy has perpetuated?

That we are somehow in trouble or despised when we are in need?

Are we not “blessed when we are poor in spirit?”  And did He not say, “nothing can separate me from His love?” And wouldn’t nothing, include Valium?  If He is the God of all, why would I believe for a moment He is shocked or disgusted when a chemical imbalance causes me depression or anxiety?

If He created me in His image… and then came and walked the earth as fully human, can He identify with an elevated heart rate, tears, and terror?  Right, there was that incident the night before He died for me where he sweated blood, so yeah, I believe He can relate to fear.

I have come to this place in my struggles with anxiety and panic attacks where I am most confident of this: they do not separate me from the love of God. They draw me nearer to the foot of the Cross.  In my weakness, I am still a pretty good parent. He is a perfect parent. God isn’t mad that you are afraid.  You aren’t in trouble because you panicked.  He will rearrange the furniture, accommodate you while you shower and pee, follow you from room to room, and reassure you moment by moment.

You aren’t in trouble.

Love, you aren’t lacking.

Beloved, you are simply afraid.

You are His.

And He is most careful with you.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

Live carefree before God, He is most careful with you.  1 Peter 5:7

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  1. Angela on October 1, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Stop!! I have a wicked panic disorder with Agoraphobia and anxiety about anything and everything. Waking up in a pure panic, instantly dry heaving, pouring sweat, I hear you and I get it. I can’t work, I am afraid of the front door, I don’t like to leave my room and some days I just don’t. A regular bath is hard and a closed in shower is impossible. I just started driving again after yearssss of not driving at all. My new car sat in the garage for the first year, unless I had loaned it to a friend or family member. Angie’s rent-a-car, basically. I thought I was too far from God. In fact it was this agony that made me seek him. Best thing I ever did. I’m learning, and aren’t we all? Thank you for this post. Thank you for #StolenJesus. Peace to you and yours, especially Sam.

    • jami_amerine on October 1, 2017 at 5:52 am

      Jesus be all over you my love. And Sam and me and all the things that go bump in the night… and the day. Love, Jami

      • Angela Bradford on October 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

        I just saw this today, 10/9/17. So much has gone off the rails since I posted and I desperately needed your response RIGHT NOW. In God’s perfect timin. Give Sam a kiss from this stranger-Aunt-friend.

        • jami_amerine on October 9, 2017 at 10:55 pm

          Bless you

  2. Glenna McKelvie on October 1, 2017 at 8:37 am

    God is good–all the time! Every day! (And especially in the middle of the night!

  3. elizabeth on October 1, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Wow, I’ve so been chasing perfection in the hope of being good enough. This is perfect. Thank you.

  4. Kathleen on October 1, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I’m sitting here holding back my tears when I would really love to let myself have a good bawl. This so hit home. Home where I can’t be me. Where I can’t be anything but “what Christians” are supposed to be.
    Thank you for your honesty and letting me see real truth. Truth I’m praying will take over my heart.
    Love you and your blogs.

    • jami_amerine on October 1, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      You are loved. ❤️

  5. Breea Heiner on October 9, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I loved this and your discussion about Sam reminded me of when Jesus still the Sea of Galilee. He did not tell the desciples to have more faith, while the boat continued to rock, and heave and almost break. First he still the store, he cared for them, showed his love and concern over their fear, then he taught them and loved them more. So he does with us. Bless you and yours.

    • jami_amerine on October 9, 2017 at 10:30 pm

      So true. And thank you

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