Panic

Last night, panic attacked big time. I was tossed about by big, mean waves of doubt and strong winds of unknowing. I was not getting anywhere with my final paper for the Bible Study Methods class. I tried to talk with God before going on to read resources for the overview and background portion. I knew I needed to talk with Him. Then I found myself running to Him, rushing to His arms to cling for dear life. This I did by reading something on my devotional book about worry and it led me to Luke 12. The Message translation was what I exactly needed to hear last night.

And after soaking in His words I just cried like a kid who doesn’t know what to do. I was a child trapped in an adult’s body who has been given a responsibility too much for me to handle. I felt incapable. The task just looked too insurmountable. But God’s arms were around me as I cried and wailed my heart out. The burden was too heavy I was literally whimpering under its weight. But I knew that I was where I belonged, right there in my Father’s embrace.

I stayed like that for a while, with a messy, tear-stained face, gulping great breaths of life-giving air from God. After that, I knew I wasn’t capable of doing anything more. I was relieved and comforted but I knew I also needed to rest physically. My mind couldn’t process well after that vicious attack from doubt. Thankfully, I had peace to go to sleep. It was the right thing to do. I felt safe that God is in control of everything. Time seemed to stop running too fast and went back to its steady rhythm. It could only have been possible through God because time is in His hands.

One thing that really helped me last night was a painting, a birthday gift from a very good friend. She said that I am the girl in the painting. I’m leaning on a tree, a Bible clasped in my hand, my eyes closed and my face a picture of contentment and peace. I am surrounded by a colorful field of flowers under a peaceful summer sky. I became that girl on the painting after that panic attack last night, leaning on something solid, at peace, and the world around me was as it should be. In the picture, I had long, wavy hair and I am wearing a simple but beautiful light blue dress. I was surprised to be able to comfortably see myself that way, comfortable in my femininity, in being the “weaker vessel.” Last night was one of the rare moments in my life that I was really thankful to be female. I felt blessed in being weak. It made me see and appreciate more fully my dependence on God, someone strong, solid and reliable. I usually despise this weakness in being female because I am someone who loves being in control, in full command of myself. But last night, another layer, another mask was stripped off of me. I am beginning to grasp and appreciate this kind of vulnerability in me. It’s meant to draw me to my Maker, to the Lover of my soul, to my solid rock and foundation.

Weakness is not necessarily a disadvantage, nor neediness something to do away with. Not when it comes to relating with my God and Savior.

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from His to mine own heart

Dreams flash before my eyes

on a Thursday morning ride

when life suddenly slowed down

on a week seeming not to end.

 

I’m left wondering why

all of a sudden

this place feels like home again

I’m finally not outside looking in.

 

Is it another trick?

It is another trap?

Or is this how it should feel

when you’re finally learning to trust?

 

Walls fall down

Hands unclench, arms relax

Opening up to hear what is

from His to mine own heart.

transitions

So now I have an answer to the “what” question. And to have arrived at an answer at all is a miracle in itself.

Three years ago, in 2010, the year before I graduated from college, I knew for sure that I was not to be a food technologist. Something just wasn’t right. Even after four years of studying in a science high school and taking up science-related courses in college, there was an unrest in me. I learned to appreciate the sciences over the years and even came to the point of wanting to pursue research studies in food microbiology. But I really felt that something was amiss. A part of me was slowly dying as my course zeroed in on major subjects. I became less and less interested in going to school and wondered why I was studying what I was studying. Gone were the days of GE (general education) subjects which gave me a breather. World Literature, Asian History and the like.

So I enrolled in a language subject for a summer, continued  with the basic class on the first semester, sat through two mid-level courses, took the language proficiency test and passed, certifying that I am level 4-proficient in Japanese. I think it was what got me through the semesters when I had nothing else to learn but food science and technology. (It’s funny how I didn’t see these then as clues to what I really wanted to do.) And after 2 years of writing my thesis, the first year spent still full-time at school and the second while I had a full-time job, I finally graduated in 2011. Miracle of miracles. But I was left with the big question of what I really want to do in life.

All the while, when I still didn’t have an answer to this, I felt like I was floating in oblivion. Or walking on thin ice. And I hated it. I hated the feeling of not knowing. Uncertainty was killing me. I then learned how much of a control freak I really am.

Fast forward to today. I have an answer to the ‘what do I want to do’ question.

Writing. I want to write. And yet, I am beset with more questions. How will I go about doing that? How do I become someone who writes? Dare I say, how do I become a writer?

You’d think I would have already learned not to be so much of a control freak. After all, the answer to the “what” question didn’t come up while I was actively strategizing. It came to me like a gift dropped in my lap and slowly, layer by layer, unwrapped. It came while I was starting to know myself more, appreciating God’s unique design for me. Obviously these did not happen with strategies and fool-proof plans. Sure I took some practical steps but the answer, the timing, and the circumstances around it were God-given. God-timed. God-written. How many times must He reiterate that his ways and thoughts are way higher than mine?

But old habits die hard so I went about building what seemed to be fool-proof plans, carefully laying out steps one, two, three, etc. After accomplishing steps one and one and a half, a twist suddenly comes up and in an instant, the plan was annihilated.

(Sigh) I didn’t think this business of fully submitting to His ways and being renewed in my mind could be this tough. Just when I thought I was really learning to do so, I am confronted with the reality that I. still. am. gripping. control.

But I am comforted that God showed me this. If not through His words and others’ perspectives I would’ve gone my own way. Again.

Even though the current path He has shown does not make sense now, I am starting to hear a melody He is humming, making my feet want to move to the rhythm of His grace.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. ~Proverbs 12:15

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” ~James 4:13-15

May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. ~Proverbs 20:4-8

Just trust. Trust so that you may obey. Listen to His voice, to His song. Dance to His rhythm.

Isn’t this, after all, what He is asking of you and what your heart truly desires, from the utmost depths of your being?