Anxiety was never something I thought I had. It wasn’t a word I was familiar with and I didn’t really know what it entailed. But recently I’ve become more aware of the impact it has on so many people. As I have continued to gain knowledge about this emotion I now see that these symptoms have followed me for a while.
When I was younger I would get anxious talking in front of my class, when I got in trouble at school or when my parents found out I got in trouble at school. As I got older my anxiety would spike preparing for interviews or presentations, when I received bad grades, or regarding confrontations and broken relationships. My mind goes into overdrive stressing over every little detail of the interview or finding what exactly made that relationship fall apart.
When these spouts of anxiety come on my heart starts racing, my hands and legs feel unsteady, my stomach balls into a knot and my chest feels heavy almost as if the air I am breathing has become thick and my lungs don’t know how to process it. This feeling of complete dread comes over my body, and my usual sunny disposition becomes cloudy. These spouts of anxiety can be very quick, only a couple of minutes or a couple of days which can seem like forever.
I was in the middle of a longer stretch of anxiety when I began to mull over something Mike had talked about a couple weeks ago in his sermon. After discussing the intervention of the Holy Spirit and the miraculous acts performed through the Apostles, Mike explained the Holy Spirit in a way I had never really thought of before: The Breath of God. The Holy Spirit in us is the Breathe of God. Living, working, breathing in us, it is the power of God. To explain further, Mike also said you cannot live without breathing. As my mind pondered this, lyrics to a worship song we sing regularly at Forestview came to mind. “His dying breath has brought me life.” God sent His only son to die for us, to give us life. God is the one who breathed life into us in the beginning.
I took a deep breath in, as I had done millions of times before, but this time I imagined the Holy Spirit breathing with me. I could feel the weight leave my chest and my lungs open up, and I began to realize how truly close God is to all of us. He is right there breathing along with me, living in me. In the moments when my anxiety is getting to be too much and I feel so alone, knowing that God is literally living inside of me gives me the comfort that I will never truly be alone. I have the greatest Comforter in the world.