Be Still

It happened a few Saturdays ago right in the middle of fun and food and family. 
A full blown anxiety attack.
It’s hard for me to tell you how horrible it is.  It’s hard for me to talk about it at all.  One minute your enjoying your dinner and the next minute you feel like your heart is going to beat its way right through your chest wall.
I know that as the blood pumped crazy in my veins I yelled at the dog and barked at the kids.  I all but threw my dinner plate with the untouched food on the picnic table and stormed away.
I was seeking solace, alone, peace.
And this illness that robs you of your breath and even sometimes your senses is scary.  It’s scary and it is unwelcome.  And yet, I have to live with it.  I have to learn to LIVE with it.  There are days when I will need to learn to bend down low with it and take the time I need to move through it. 
I can’t just shut it off.  It’s a little more complicated than flipping a switch and watching all of that anxiety disappear in an instant.
But this I do know.  That Saturday, that moment when worlds and words collided, I didn’t once consider stopping in my tracks on the way to finding solitude and whispering Jesus to all that beat anxious in me.
I found my way to the front porch and found an empty chair, the thrum of family and reunions behind me and the wind through the garden in front of me, all of it sounded muffled and incoherent.  I sat in that chair with my arms crossed, as if I was trying to press my heart into submission from the outside. I wrapped myself in the cocoon of my  arms and tried, alone, to deal with the waves of panic as they rolled off of me.  
Weeks later, two things struck me about my pose. One, I never asked for help, not from my mother or  my sister or my husband.  I was with family, and I didn’t reach out and say “something’s not right here and I need you.”  God has put people in my life who I can trust, even with those parts of me that I think need to remain hidden.   Two, I never whispered my need to the Holy One. 
I spent 45 minutes with my jaws and fists clenched and never once thought about crying out to God or anyone for help.
I am still learning, that in the midst of these attacks I can cry out to Him and He will save me.   When my heart beats wild with the storms of anxiety He may seem far away, but He is not.
He uncrosses my arms, pulls me into His lap, strokes my back and rocks me with these words whispered in my ear “be still.”

Be still.

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