Wednesday, 15 February 2012

O, ye of little faith ...

More recently I had the privilege to edit another writer’s book. After reading it, I found myself thinking about something she expressed in her book and now it’s etched in my mind: God meets you there where you put your faith. 

I suffer from depression. Because I know how hard it is to cope during an episode, I am committed to being positive. I am always telling other people to focus on the silver lining and not the dark cloud. This has helped me to suffer less.

Reaching out and making a difference in another person’s life seems to motivate me to be positive. I believe in the power of positive thoughts. I believe in the power of faith. Having this belief doesn't mean that I always apply it in my life. There are times when I am weak when I find myself losing courage and sinking into the realms of negativity. This ultimately takes me into a new episode of depression.

My faith is tested the most when I become anxious. My anxiety levels fluctuate daily, but I can cope with this. It’s the extreme bouts of anxiety that knock me off my feet. These bouts usually peak 48 hours after I start becoming anxious and by then I’m ready to pass out. 

Last Friday I went to my usual weekly tea party with three friends. I told them that my husband had applied for a job in town. Just before we parted ways, we prayed together. My husband went for the job interview on Saturday. After the interview, he was told that he would be contacted on Monday or Tuesday at the latest. I kept the faith until Monday. Then, as the day progressed, I felt myself sinking into the muck and mire of negative thinking. On Tuesday, I went to work and suffered a migraine aura. The day was hell to pay.

My migraine auras are visual. My vision is usually distorted and any movement around me is exaggerated, which initially makes me panic. Once I realize it's a migraine aura, I calm down. I see flashes and wavy lines in my peripheral vision for an indefinite period of time. There is pressure, but no pain. It’s difficult to speak and express myself clearly, and I lose a sense of my balance and concentration.

Being a teacher, I tend to slow down at work when I suffer a migraine aura. I move and speak slower. I tolerate the whole process because I know exactly what it is. I am brought to a halt only when the debilitating pain settles in, but until then I carry on as if nothing is wrong. Many people do not notice what I am suffering. There is one specific teacher that always sees it when she makes eye contact. I marvel at her excellent observation skills. What amazed me during this particular aura was when one of the students (15 years of age) picked it up immediately in class. You have to be attentive to notice or nonchalant to miss it.

I don't know what triggers my migraines. I link this specific attack to my anxiety level. The fact that I harboured negative thoughts made the anxiety persist. I was worn down and this lead to a lack in faith. I kept saying, "God meets you there where you put your faith." I believe this, yet I continued to doubt. In the past, whenever I lost faith, I felt guilty. Now that I know God meets me there where I put my faith, even though I fail to live up to it, I don't need to be plagued by guilt. Daily feelings of anxiety, or even a momentary lapse of faith because of human weakness, does not mean that God will leave or forsake me.

My husband got the job. I cannot find the words to express my gratitude. I regret being weak. I put all my energy into believing that God would help my family in this difficult time that we are going through, so yes, it’s true! God meets you there where you put your faith. What makes this so amazing is that the power lies within me. It lies within you! If we truly believe, God will never disappoint.

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