Friday, November 28, 2008

Fear Did Not Survive.

Fear is darkness, fear is evil, heavy like chains and as real as a demon. Fear stretches out its tenticles and keeps joy far away. Joy is gentle, like a butterfly alighting on a fragrant garden flower and is easily scared. But joys home is the heart and it should build its nest in our spirit, comfortable and safe and part of the strength of our character. It should shine out of our eyes and linger in our smile, be part of every action and the infused in our memories.

For many years I was ruled by fear. Too many years. The only safe place was a bathroom where the door could be locked and I would be safe from the world and people. Social Anxiety Disorder is what it was called... I wish I had known about that at the time because I may have been able to do something about it.

My life was ruled by fear. It stopped me from growing, from learning, from talking to people, from shopping, from being in public. Today, my life and my character have been influenced by this illness. It seemed like I didn't talk to a boy till I was 19 and I still dislike shopping to this day. Some would say this was a good thing. In some ways it was but I wouldn't mind having some fun memories of my mother and me shopping for a new outfit! Treasured memories... Do you have treasured memories from childhood or haunted memories? Most of us, if we look at the statistics have had things happen in our lives that will change us forever. Events that occured that traumatised us, that scarred us, that will need some good therapy and some good anger and processing to get over! And healing comes....

Healing came to me in the form of a Doctor. Doctor John. Having Social Anxiety Disorder was difficult and I found it extremely distressing to be in the presence of any person of authority, be it the hairdressor or a salesman. So when I found a doctor that heard my heart and prescribed books to read I knew I had found a safe place for my healing. I remember he told me to read "The Road Less Travelled" and "The Prophet" by Khalil Ghibran. It is my favorite book to this day. The next step was that he gave me some anti-anxiety antidepressants and my life changed forever. From the moment I took them my fear went away and I experienced the feeling of happiness for the very first time.

Most people would never understand the ginormity of simply having or not having the feeling of happiness. It seems like such a everyday sort of 'whatever' emotion to have. But when you have not had it for 21 years it certainly floors you like a knockout punch! As I lay reeling on the floor looking up at the world from this new perspective I saw the colors, I saw the brilliance of the sun, the coolness of the grass, smelled the fragrance of the flowers and wanted to dance with the butterflies. I saw myself differently. I started to live.

Walking the streets of London where I moved to shortly after that, I remember reaching my arms out with my head lifted high saying loudly - "I belong here, I have the right to be here, this world doesn't scare me any more, I will no longer be ruled by fear, I am free, I am happy, here I come world so get ready!" I began to gain independence, started the journey of believing in myself, of feeling worthy of having a relationship with God and deserving love, happiness and joy.

The absence of fear is an interesting thing. After taking the pills - I was on a very small dose yet it made a huge difference in my serratonin levels. I had a real chemical imbalance - as much as I still hate taking any sort of medication, I know that sometimes it is without question the answer for healing. It made such a remarkable difference in my thinking......I remember being in Blackpool UK, riding a rollercoaster proported as the highest in the world but because I had no fear it was not very exciting... I realised a little fear keeps the excitement and tension to make these things fun. Interesting...

So that was many years ago and I have not needed any medication for almost as long. I believe it was my miracle of healing. God helped me find a doctor that I still go to not only for medical treatment but for just a chat. He is my hero. He saved my life. I will be eternally grateful. The pills brought me healing. Time brought me healing. Therapy brought me healing. Spiritual Directors and the Holy Spirit brought me spiritual healing.

Anxiety and worry and fear have lost their grasp over my life. I cast off those chains and believe that God will hold me through every battle I face. Spiritual warfare will come, tragedy will strike, the deceiver will lie and torment but I cannot give in and release the precious gift of joy. Hold it close, treasure it, nurture it. Through it we see into the supernatural world. Our spirits can dance with God's. It is such a gift.

Some texts on JOY.

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16.11

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28.7

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. Psalm 30.11

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 15.32

Be joyful always. 1 Thess 5.16

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1.1-3

To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence with fault and with great joy - to the only God our Saviour by glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen Jude 1.24

A prayer for you: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen Romans 15.13