By Michael Zimmerman, First Lutheran Member
Earlier this year, I experienced my first real anxiety attack.
My overly-active conscience has always made me suffer with bouts of shame and inner doubt. What made this time different, though, is I began to develop physical symptoms like loss of appetite and drowsiness.
By that point, of course, we were months into the pandemic and my never-changing lockdown routine was starting to take a toll. I had been working remotely from my kitchen since that March, only interacting with coworkers via Zoom. I had not been able to socialize with any friends, and, after COVID affected our household in November, I couldn’t even leave the house for 24 long days.
That, on top of being a new parent, played significant factors leading up to my attack. It doesn’t help when someone with a doubting conscience like mine also has to care for a newborn baby—you’re constantly evaluating your actions and dwelling on your perceived parenting inabilities.
Not being able to come before my Father and worship in-person affected me, too. I’m ashamed to confess that my spirit was becoming so defeated that not even watching an online service could slow my spiral.
Did you feel like this at all, too? Did doing the same thing over and over again blur your days into a cycle of stay home-do-nothing, rinse-wash-repeatedness? I believe many of us felt this way during the lockdown. It has been hard for all of us, even those of us who appeared fine on the surface. I was so in my own head that, inevitably, my anxieties consumed every thought and I felt low and unworthy.
What’s amazing to remember is that God pre-ordains everything in each of our lives, and I sincerely believe this to be true with my anxiety attack. He was waiting for me at the bottom to remind me of His loving grace and faithful presence.
When I turned to God’s Living Word for healing, He spoke to me through scripture saying, “Michael, I am always here. Your sins are forgiven forever and I have cast them to the darkest depths of the sea. Let me bear your iniquities so you can rest and be free from your anxiety.” I was healed!
For the word of God is living and effective and sharper
than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the
separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. (Hebrews 4:12a, CSB)
Adding daily Bible reading, devotional(s), and prayer to my pandemic routine was exactly what I needed to get out of my funk. Even now, as the fog clears and many of us return to our ‘normal’ routine, stepping into God’s Living Word every day is a pandemic habit that I’ll never break.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I will not be afraid. (Psalm 56:10-11a, CSB)
If you relate or had similar experiences of lowliness during the pandemic lockdown, I would love to hear from you. My email address is email@example.com. I think each of us has a worthy testimony from the past year, where we were reminded of our need for God and His Living Word as our sources of strength.