An eight-year-old was experiencing anxiety.
“I’m not sick, Mom. I just have a scary feeling inside me. I get afraid and I don’t know why. Whenever you and Dad are with me I feel fine. Or if I’m playing a game or have a friend over, or even when I’m doing chores, I don’t have it. It only comes when I’m alone or when I’m bored.”
Alex was a Christian. Just six months earlier he had approached his mom in much the same way, but with another problem: He didn’t think he was going to heaven and wanted to get right with God. She led him to the Lord that night. Since then she had observed signs of spiritual growth. As she studied Alex now, she sent up an arrow prayer: “Lord give me Your wisdom to handle this.” Then with confidence, trusting God as she spoke, she said,
“Alex, do you know there are millions of people who have those same feelings? Many are children your age. I’ve had them myself, and I had them when I was your age. Those feelings are called anxieties or anxiety attacks. God created us with the ability to have all kinds of feelings, including anxiety.”
“Mom, does God cause anxieties?”
“He does not cause them, but He does allow them. I believe He allows them for a good reason. You see He wants people to seek Him, to turn to Him and draw close to Him when they have these feelings. He loves us and He wants to comfort us when we turn to Him. But do you know what?”
“What?” he echoed.
“Most people will not turn to God when they have anxieties. Would you like me to tell you what many people do when they have anxieties?”
He nodded with interest.
“Many will turn on the TV or listen to music. They might call a friend or go for a swim or ride a bike. Older people may do things like drink alcohol…”
“and take drugs” blurted Alex.
“That’s right! Take drugs! Some people start eating too much. Others will keep very busy working hard: cleaning house, digging in the garden, playing sports, reading books or they’ll seek entertainment. Tell me Alex, are these things bad? “No. Some are good things.”
“That’s right! Some are good things. But everything I mentioned has one thing in common. They are all methods of escape when they are done excessively and for the wrong reason.
People can become so absorbed in a project or in some form of entertainment that they can escape from their problems for a while. The problem with escaping is that eventually, whatever you’re escaping from will come back to haunt you. Sooner or later you have to stop whatever you’re doing and be still with your thoughts.
“All those escape methods will give temporary peace. None of them can give us permanent peace because they are man’s ways and not God’s ways of dealing with problems.
“Alex, I want you to get a pencil and paper. I’m going to give you a list of things I want you to write down; things to do when you begin to feel these anxieties coming on.”
At this time she had no idea what she would ask him to write, but somehow she knew God was directing her and she silently praised Him.
Please read my next post for the rest of the story…
[Have you experienced anxiety attacks? If so, what works for you? To leave a comment, click on story’s title, then scroll to bottom of page.]