“Fear and anxiety have felt like a fairly consistent part of my life since I was young. Over the last 6 or so years, I have been learning how to cast these anxieties on God and let him bring his truths to my life. It has been a journey filled with ups and downs as I press into identity, worship, scripture, prayer, and community. The last 6 months have greatly tested all I have learned. Living through a pandemic has elevated that anxiety to a degree I hadn’t yet felt. Yet, the tools God had been teaching me to use to fight over the last 6 years have saved me during this pandemic.
God has been teaching me to dig deeper into these spiritual practices while also providing me with ways to come alongside others who are battling a similar fight against anxiety and depression. This has happened through the small group I have been co-leading focused on experiencing peace in the midst of anxiety, but it has also been happening through church online.
Within the last month or so I started experiencing nightmares and anxiety attacks. While fear has been a consistent part of my life these were never really problems for me. Then they started with great intensity. Through worship and scripture, I was learning how to fight the power that darkness had on me. Then one weekend I had the opportunity to pray for someone experiencing a similar challenge with mental health and anxiety attacks. I was able to say, “Me, too; I understand this battle.” Not only that, but the Holy Spirit showed up in a powerful way!
Online prayer can feel awkward because it challenges all the ways we have learned to pray. You can’t watch for the moving of the Holy Spirit in the way a person’s eyes flutter, tears flow, or their body rocks back and forth. You can’t even see if the person is responding or surfing the internet as you pray. It makes us rely even deeper on God to show up and do his thing. All we can do is pray and the Holy Spirit is left to do what he wants to do.
In this specific situation, I didn’t know what the other person was experiencing. I just kept writing out prayer, and to my surprise, they responded to say the Holy Spirit had shown up with great power. They felt like they had a minor deliverance from the power the enemy had on them. They felt something come out of their chest and then felt lighter, more alert, and like their mind was more clear. I was then able to share with them a few Scriptures God had just highlighted to me the week before as I was experiencing an anxiety attack. Also, I shared about how the Lord was encouraging me to read and memorize Scripture with more intensity because that would be a key tool to fighting the anxiety as it arises.
It was such a cool moment for multiple reasons. It was an eye-opening reminder of how the Holy Spirit isn’t limited by technology. The Holy Spirit’s moving isn’t dependent on us at all. Another reason it was cool is because it reiterated to me the importance of the tools God has been teaching me to use to fight the enemy. It was also encouraging to see the light in the midst of the darkness I have experienced. If I allow God to, he can use my experiences, darkness, and pain to help others going through similar situations.”