My lungs panic, pumping faster than they should while still unable to fully expand. In similar fashion, my heart contributes the backbeat in rapid succession. I close my eyes and cross my arms over my chest, willing myself to calm down. Despite what my brain is trying to communicate, my body doesn’t comply. I’m having another panic attack.
Despite numerous pleas with God, relaxing practices, and even a hot bath, my body still won’t release its anxious grip over me, and I want to scream. Maybe doing so would help me.
In prideful dismissal, I push aside the urge to contact my friends and family. After all, I prayed. I have been here before now. I will make it. I am a capable woman after all! Hear all the mentions of “I” in those sentences?
But after an hour of strained breathing and panic reigning, I concede and dismiss my pride. I instantly message a handful of trusted warrior friends, girls I know will respond with compassion and immediate prayer.
Within five minutes, my breathing and heart rate have slowed to a normal pattern. Truly, I’m amazed. And relieved. Could God have taken my desperate prayers and alleviated the panic attack? Of course. Yet, He chose to use the situation to remind me of some humbling truths. We need people. God never intended us to live in isolation. To fulfill our purpose, we must live in community.
That living involves more than the Fakebook posts of idyllic bliss: it should involve the ugly, messy, humbling parts of our existence too.
In Scripture, we are commanded to confess our sins to one another and seek unity (James 5:16, Eph. 4:3). We share the whole of our hearts with our family, with our fellowship. Obviously, doing so requires discernment; we don’t flaunt dirty laundry with just anyone, but we should have a circle of trusted friends that go beyond the surface with us. That night I uncovered the personal beauty of Psalm 133:1; it was good when people live together in unity.
When I put aside my pride and asked for help and prayer, God moved mightily in our midst. I encountered the sympathetic and compassionate voices of fellow sojourners (I Peter 3:8) and was revived by our connection to one another and to the Father.
When you feel alone, remember these truths:
- You are not abandoned. The God of the Universe loves you and calls you by name. (Is. 43:1, Is. 49:16).
- You have a purpose within the Body. (Romans 12:4-5, I Cor. 12:27, Eph. 2:19-22, Eph. 4: 15-16).
- Your humility will draw you closer to your purpose than your pride. (I Peter 3:8, James 4:10, Prov. 11:2).
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25