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A Pandemic Habit I’ll Never Break

By June 18, 2021Blog

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 mike_zim31@me.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.

 

Michael Zimmerman

Author Michael Zimmerman

More posts by Michael Zimmerman

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Sharon Hardel says:

    Thanks Michael for sharing your story. I felt lost as well and when the gym closed down Kent and I did not keep up our exercise routine. He ended up going into the hospital with a mild pneumonia and I that challenged us to make sure we kept moving. He did rehab in the hospital and I joined my cousin and sister on Facebook for a 100 mile a month walk challenge. While I walked I had the opportunity to witness God’s beauty all around me. I began taking pictures of flowers and birds and foxes and posting them on Facebook to document my daily walks. I explored my neighborhood, new parks and met some nice people and their pets. I thank God that Kent made it home and was able to join me for some short walks. I am enjoying being back at in person worship and back to the gym. I thank God every day that we got our vaccines and are now able to be around people again and that I can still enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.

  • Barb Johnson Frank says:

    Michael, your writing struck such a chord with me! As congregations reach out to extend God’s welcome to all who are seeking a place where they matter and can be exactly who they are, I think that intentionally creating time and space for life/faith stories to be heard seems even more essential now than before. This is an opportunity for building community, learning from one another and offering care that we should not miss. Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your pandemic life and what anchored you through it all.
    I’m so very grateful,
    Barb

  • Harold Sutter says:

    Mike, what a powerful testimony. Thank you for sharing! We all hope we can return to some type of normalcy going forward. I had found an outlet that helped me make it through the ‘penned up’ time during 2020.

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