Tips for Preventing and Lessening Panic Attacks

Teenager im Glas

It can feel impossible in the moment of an attack to try rational strategies. That’s why tips are best tested when you’re feeling better and stronger. Visiting a wise mental health professional (and listening to their advice) can greatly increase your chance for success in trying these tips. Always see a professional when in doubt and get help immediately if you feel suicidal.

  • Practice thinking about things that give you special delight. Philippians 4:8b says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT) Make a habit of thinking about these kinds of things. Even if you start only thinking about them 1 minute a day and add 1 extra minute each day, in one year you would be thinking about them for about 6 hours a day! Ask God to help you focus your thoughts on the good, not the evil.
  • Practice thinking about things that have eternal significance. Colossians 3:2 says, “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Does that mean God doesn’t want you to think about paying bills or unloading the dishwasher? No, actually what it means I believe is to look at everything you think about through the perspective of eternity. If you realize that paying your bills helps bless your family and leave a godly legacy for them, or that unloading the dishwasher sets an example for your children for how to serve, for example, you’re on the right track!
  • Find a small group. 1 Thessalonians 5:11b says, “. . encourage one another and build each other up . .” Join a small group where you can share with friends and they can share with you. You might just find they could use your help! If you don’t know how to get connected to a small group, ask around at local churches. More than likely, unless you live rurally, there are a ton of options in your area.
  • Get involved in missions. Philippians 2:4 says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Feeding hungry families at a local homeless shelter, hosting a book fair for elementary students, bringing flowers to a friend in a nursing home, and volunteering at a local pregnancy care center are all ways you can touch the lives of others. You never know, but that God could use you to help others who have panic attacks, too!
Published in: on March 15, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

A love that won’t disappoint

Every single one of us have been disappointed by the loss of love.  Whether a parent, child, lover, or friend, we’ve all been through disappointment that feels like the aluminum can when it’s crushed at the recycling center.  For some of us, that feeling was so intense that we never want to love again.

Depressed Man On BenchWe aren’t the only ones who’ve been disappointed by the loss of love.  It might surprise you to learn that the one who has the most right to be disappointed of all is God.

Here’s a little of the story of God’s right to disappointment . . a point of view you may never have considered.

God designed us.  He spent precious time (how do you measure the value of time with God??) forming Adam from the dust, breathing life into him, and crafting Eve from his rib.

But that’s only the beginning.  God showed astonishing interest in Adam, walking with him in the Garden every day.  Have you ever seen a business man or woman who didn’t have time for their child?  Well, imagine God, the busiest Being in the whole universe, making time every day to accompany and counsel Adam.  And He did it was if it was no big deal, because He loved Adam.

God created the definition of the word idyllic, and the Garden of Eden was truly paradise on earth.  Every sprout and every bud in the garden was in harmony with God’s plan. Every tail wagged and paws trotted to the glory of God.  Everything in the Garden was perfect, and God gave control over the whole beautiful place to Adam and Eve.

But that’s not all.  God is such an extravagant Giver that He didn’t just give the Garden to Adam and Eve.  He gave control over all the plants and animals in the world to them–free access to explore the heavenly earth He’d created, free permission to create homes and inventions just the way they wanted them.

And he gave them the span of eternity to do whatever they wanted with His world.  He knew that what they would want would be perfect, because God had made them in His nature.

God gave so much.  And God, like all of us, wanted to know love is reciprocated.  He gave gift after gift after gift, and He didn’t want to see spoiled, ungrateful children as a result.  He gave one test–one–of their love for Him.  They could show they reciprocated His love and wanted His goodness to be chief in their ways through one simple test.

We give all kinds of rules to our children and employees, but God gave only one.  The test wasn’t about asserting His power or micromanaging His free-will beings.  He didn’t need a hundred rules, or a thousand.  Just one.  Just one rule to show that we cared about Him, too.

Don’t eat from one tree.

One tree.

Every other fruit in the Garden signaled they wanted life with God.  Every other fruit said they loved Him.  But one fruit, just one, stated as a permanent tearing between earth and Heaven, We don’t love you anymore.

And that was the tree from which Adam and Eve chose to eat.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg in God’s story of our injustice to Him.  I don’t have time to talk about all the times He has been reaching out since then to draw us back to Him, and all the times humanity flat-out rejected His love.

God’s disappointment with us has to be unfathomable.  Again and again, He has loved us.  Again and again, He has held out His heart to us.  And again and again, we have wounded His heart.

But the deepest gash in the disappointment–a disappointment so unbearable we can’t even comprehend it–is when God sent His only Son to earth to die in our place, to reverse the curse our disobedience and hatred of God cost us.

There’s no way to understand this disappointment, but if you think about the worst you have ever been hurt, and if you could multiply it infinitely, you would have a taste of what God experienced when He gave us His prize love to redeem us and win our hearts back to Him.

God cannot give anything more or better.  He has held His heart out to the world and, time and time again, the world has spit on His love and trampled it underfoot.  But God continues to hold His heart out to us through Jesus Christ, waiting for anyone who would believe, who would give Him their cursed heart and receive the perfect one Christ has purchased for them.

God has dealt with more disappointment than we can ever imagine . . and yet He continues to love us.  His heart is still held out, ready to open to anyone who will cry out to Jesus for forgiveness.  He has no desire for any of us to die without knowing Him, no matter how much disappointment we have cost Him.

What does this mean?  God chooses for His love to be stronger than the disappointment He has rightfully experienced.  And He will continue to hold back His disappointment, until time is finally up and the choice those make who still hate Him will be final.

How should we love a God who gives us His Son after we have only given Him disappointment?

How should we love a God who is graciously waiting–even when we disappoint Him again and again–for us to choose His salvation through Jesus Christ?

And how we should love others–even those who have disappointed us?

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:9-10, ESV)

Published in: on March 15, 2014 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Arms Open Wide

God . . held His arms . . open wide.

Sunbeams and cross

They didn’t have to make Jesus stretch His arms out on the cross. They didn’t have to nail His wrists to keep His hands in place. Long before He was sentenced to death by a corrupt judge, He chose death to satisfy the wrath of a perfect Judge. Long before He stretched out His arms for the cross, He stretched out His arms to embrace a world He knew would crucify Him. And long before the nails forced His arms to open wide, He held His arms open wide to invite all of humanity to flock under His protection.

God . . held His arms . . open wide. The salvation of God is mysterious. It’s like a melody you can’t quite fully hear, no matter how carefully you listen. It’s like a love you realize you’ve never seen, but you’ve felt tapping on your shoulder your whole life. It’s like a dance you can’t imitate, where the steps require a greater self-sacrifice then is fathomable to the mortal mind.

God . . held His arms . . open wide. God held His arms open wide. It’s Diety in flesh. It’s humanity wrapped around God Himself. It’s the jaw-dropping mysery of the incarnation.

God . . held His arms . . open wide. It’s a song with lyrics of how you’re more loved than you ever imagined. It’s a story that opens up for you to step inside. It’s a peace that settles over you like snowdust. It’s a fully-sufficient harmony that invites you to sing along.

God . . held His arms . . open wide. How fitting, how perfect that the way we receive salvation is by opening our hearts wide. In feeble imitation of the One who gave all His goodness for our evil, we give all our evil to ask for His goodness. It’s an exchange nobody would believe . . if it weren’t true.

God . . held His arms . . open wide. It’s a palette of colors you’ve never seen; it’s a chorus of beauty you’ve never heard. It’s a promise you’ve never touched; it’s a delectable bliss you’ve never tasted.

God . . held His arms . . open wide.

Now it’s time to hold your arms open . . to Him.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:19b-20, HCSB)