The church was filled to the brim with people full of cheer and an eagerness to praise the LORD. We were new in town, and I could feel their eyes on me, on us. The clapping of hands were like thunderstorms to my ears, the words of the past whispering in my ears. Why are you so strange and different?! That’s what they must be thinking. That is why they keep looking.
I feel the dread creep up on me, shooting up and down my spine and through my fingertips. The air was thin and I had to remind myself to breathe. My hands were quickly clammy with sweat, the words becoming louder and louder in my ears. The hurtful words that stuck with me; the words I thought defined me. Then the room begun to spin.
I shot through the door, the rush of the cool wind slapping my face as I stepped out. I gasped, breathing, filling my lungs with the cool air. Breath. My hand clung to the stone fence beside me, feeling my heartbeat slow to normalcy. I spoke the words of promise, For God has not given us a Spirit of fear, over and over again.
I looked behind me, nobody was looking. None of it was real. This is what anxiety feels like. This is anxiety.
I walked to the nearby bathrooms, trying to work off the anxiety, and then back to the church. I stared at the doors, large and almost foreboding, reminding me of the number of people inside it. Breath, I reminded myself, before walking in. Breath. 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
Note: Do not let the words of other people define you. Let what God says about you, define you. Meditate on them day and night, until the truth of God lives within you.