All through high school, there was one song I played constantly on repeat, Boston by Augustana, and the line that always hit home to me was “You don’t know me, and you don’t wear my chains”. Little did I know that those metaphorical (yet extremely real) chains could be broken.
I’ve struggled heavily with bouts of anxiety and depression. It has reared its ugly head in many ways in my life: self-harm, searching for unsafe outlets, emotional breakdowns, and the worst – the physical manifestations. The symptom I’ve dealt with the longest is the weight that sits on my chest and closes off my airways to the extent that I’ve had to sit out of everyday activities. I can go days feeling like I’m going through a panic attack that I just can’t catch my breath from. Certain things can make it worse, but nothing ever makes it better. And, the most recent symptom the sharp pain under my right ribs that has me doubling over or on the verge of tears in class from the ache that it brings. I went to countless doctors in hopes that they would tell me it was because of something medical, or that this medicine will clear it up, or this exercise will make it better, but nothing. After countless tests, it always came down to them saying, “The only explanation left is anxiety”.
I do not say any of this in hopes of getting sympathy for it; in fact, I am doing quite the opposite. I am hoping to use this to bring God the glory because he deserves just that.
I recently went to a conference where I decided to be baptized; I had been saved at this point for a couple years but never did get baptized. Right before the baptisms I was praying for some sort of breakthrough, I wasn’t quite sure what I was praying for, but I knew I needed to change something in my life. After that night, after the baptism, the sobbing, and the praying I knew something was different. Something in my body felt…well, that was the thing… I couldn’t feel anything at all. Every part of me was quiet, peaceful, halcyon. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel like my psyche and my physical body were at war.
As we were driving home I had this overwhelming feeling that God had healed something in me. My instant thought went to my leg, the pain I had feebly been managing for years, maybe that was gone. I started imagining being able to run without the pain that has come with it. But a different chain was still being slowly corroded inside me as God was breaking it down.
It has now been a couple weeks since that conference and I suddenly realized just what chains were broken that weekend, it was the chains of anxiety, of fear, of worry. The tightness in my chest has become far and few between and the excruciating pain in my side has disappeared in its entirety.
What I thought could never be touched because it was something only I wore, only I could understand has been disintegrated. God has shown his mercy and His grace on someone so undeserving of it. I’ve been so set on trusting in my own ways and taking everything onto myself that I hid everything inside of me away from God, and it took a toll. I was convinced that the miracles in the bible don’t happen today. I believed God was all-powerful, but never really understood what I was saying. There is a lot about God that just is unfathomable, and being human often makes it hard to believe and trust the way that God ultimately wants us to. However, we get to serve a God that is everything that we are not. And, the thing that I find most beautiful in all of this is that He knew every flaw that I would commit and yet He still sat upon His throne and said, I want her.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
2 Timothy 1:9
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.