"For I Am The Lord, Your God, Who Takes Hold Of Your Right Hand And Says To You, Do Not Fear; I Will Help You."
Living life through a filter of possible danger is stressful.
What you perceive as danger and what I perceive as danger are two different things.
Each of us has our own thought process, our own fears, our own worries.
What triggers my "fight or flight" response may not even ruffle yours.
Once triggered, my "rational" mind ceases to exist.
Fear takes over and I can't survive or function in even the basic set of circumstances...
Making clear choices is no longer feasible because I am focused on short-term survival.
When I become overwhelmed with excessive stress, my life seems to take on a series of short-term emergencies.
I can't relax, live in the moment, nor enjoy anything around me.
It feels like I am living from crisis to crisis with no sign of stopping on the horizon.
One spiral after another, like something out of a nightmarish fun house, from which there is no escape.
Down and around, with no end in sight.
Inevitably, I will crash and burn, anyone who lives like this can't survive going on all cylinders 24/7.
The design of the fight or flight response, is just that....
Will you fight or will you flee?
It is there mainly to push you into survival mode when there is a physical threat to your well-being.
Your life is in danger, real danger , it kicks in.
However on a daily basis, toxic stress hormones are released into our bodies, setting off the fight or flight response.
Once the response is triggered, in order to turn it off, the threat must be eliminated, only then can your body and mind return to a calm state.
I learned this once I started getting panic attacks...
Because the first one scared me so bad, I learned all I could and set about avoiding anything that would set another one off.
I haven't had a really bad one in quite some time, however I have had quite a few in the last few months.
Anything or sometimes nothing at all can trigger it...
You could be at home, in the store, in Church, playing with your kids, driving, even sleeping...
It always starts with a tightness in my chest, a cold that sweeps over my entire body, my breath starts coming faster, my stomach is one big knot, throat closes up and panic kicks in...
Tears are next and breathing becomes shallower, I can't get air in fast enough...
Every fiber of your being is screaming at you to fight or flee, yet you can't, you stand, frozen in suffocating terror, knowing this is the moment in time, death is upon you.
That is a normal one for me, it will last about 10-20 minutes, during which, time stands still.
Once all is said and done, I am beyond tired, all I want to do is sleep for hours and hours.
I used to get these every 2 or so days...
Until I figured out what was going on, I thought I was either dying or losing my mind.
The quickest way to bring upon unnecessary stress for me is "mind-chatter"...
An endless stream of constant self-talk, incomplete thoughts, guilt, shame, blame, frustration, doubt, worry, helplessness, hopelessness etc...
Now in order for us to survive, our mind is always "on", looking ahead, seeking and scanning for possible threats to our well-being, whether they are real or perceived.
These thoughts will interfere with your relationship with Him.
Your walk with Him will lose focus, become less fruitful, which in turn leaves you open for the enemy to swoop in and wreck havoc on you.
Your greatest battle in your walk with Him?
Our minds are wicked, easily lead astray, deceived, depraved, worldly and they create constant inner conflict.
If you are not in control of your thoughts, they are in control of you.
The thoughts, that play like a scratched record over and over in your mind are robbing you of His peace.
By practicing regular prayer, meditation, reflection, pondering, studying, contemplating and thinking, it teaches you to quiet your mind, to identify with your thoughts and it will clear your mental way to God.
You can't hear His "still, small voice" if it is being drowned out by endless chatter.
If you stop and think about the times throughout your life that you have truly sought Him, your greatest inspirations, answers and peace came when it was a time of quietness, stillness and openness.
We need to take the time to "be still"...
I haven't had a moment like the one described above since I put this into practice.
There are days when the panic seeps in, today was one of those days, however I stopped and had some help shifting my focus back to what is the most important in my life...
STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN
Be Still And Know That He Is God
Be Still And Know That He Is Holy
Be Still Oh Restless Soul Of Mine
Bow Before The Prince Of Peace
Let The Noise And Clamor Cease