Thursday, December 08, 2011

Blessed be Your name...

I didn't want to write this, but as I watch some of you suffer, I realize that you may benefit from it, so I humble myself.  This isn't meant to be a complaint.  Hopefully you benefit.  If not, ignore it.

I'm essentially a functioning agoraphobic.  This isn't nearly as bad as it could be.  For a while I was a non-functioning agoraphobic, which I have no words to describe.

What does it mean to be a functioning agoraphobic?  It means that I started getting panic attacks for really good reasons, but long after those reasons were resolved the panic attacks remained, having taken on a life of their own.  Consequentially, I now get panic attacks because I'm afraid I might get panic attacks.  These can range from symptoms normally associated with a heart attack, to a feeling that I'm very slowly passing out, to feeling as though I'm being sucked out through my face and the world is unreal and terrifying just by its existence.

The only effective treatment for such a thing is "exposure therapy", which essentially means to pick something that triggers an attack, and then do it and do it and do it until it becomes normal again.  Then pick the next thing.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

I could tell a million stories.  When I was getting used to driving again, I would have attacks.  One time, when one was getting really bad, I tried to call my wife.  However, my brain was so scrambled that I couldn't figure out how to operate my cell phone.

On another occasion, I laid in a hotel bed with pains in every part of my body that I can't even describe, moving from wondering if it would kill me to wishing it would.  The pain in my chest was easily a 10 on the 1-10 scale, and radiated into my shoulder and jaw, and I could see my arteries bouncing in a mirror from across the room.

I was willing to undertake such a thing as exposure therapy if the outcome was that I could again be fit an whole at the end of the process.  The big disappointment in all this is that I'm never cured.  I will overcome something for a while, but I eventually regress, and have to overcome it again.

As you can imagine, this is an exhausting process.  This is the part the I see in some of your writings.  It's not a sprint, but a marathon, and it never ends.  It's not a question of "will I finish", but "at what mile marker will I be when I quit or keel over".

When I feel like I absolutely, positively cannot face another moment; that my stamina is gone and I want to give in to it and just never again leave the house, I pull up this video and am encouraged.  I know that some of you don't share my faith.  That's OK - my faith doesn't require you to.   But because this helps me, I want to share it.  Do with it as you will.

I watch this video.  I bless the name of the the Lord, offering Him praise, surrendering to a sense of awe at the order of the universe which is so far beyond my grasp, and my part in it, and it's part in me.  I pray for strength for the task at hand.  I be still, and know that He is God.

And then, both figuratively and literally, I fix my eyes on the ground, ignore those around me, and move my feet, one, then the other, and again, and again ...

Youtube:Newsboys - Blessed be Your Name

"Blessed be your name
when the sun's shining down on me
when the world's all as it should be
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be your name
on the road marked with suffering
through there's pain in the offering
blessed be Your name."

At the end of the video, probably my favorite part, he quotes Isaiah 40:28 - 31, and 41:10-13.

Isaiah 40
Do you not know? 
   Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
   the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary, 
   and his understanding no one can fathom. 
29 He gives strength to the weary 
   and increases the power of the weak. 
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, 
   and young men stumble and fall; 
31 but those who hope in the LORD 
   will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
   they will run and not grow weary, 
   they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 41
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; 
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you and help you; 
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 “All who rage against you 
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced; 
those who oppose you 
   will be as nothing and perish. 
12 Though you search for your enemies, 
   you will not find them. 
Those who wage war against you 
   will be as nothing at all. 
13 For I am the LORD your God 
   who takes hold of your right hand 
and says to you, Do not fear; 

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