Imagine waking up drenched in sweat, your heart pounding, your legs convulsing. The ER doctor reports that your blood pressure is 190 over 170. You’re convinced you’re having a heart attack, but after chest x-rays and an EKG the doctor says there’s nothing physically wrong with you. His diagnosis: “You’re having an anxiety attack.”
That scenario happened to Pastor Louie Giglio back in 2008. He fell into a pit of darkness, depression, fear, and anxiety so disabling that he thought he might never stand in front of another person to proclaim the truth of God or to serve others again.
His “crash,” as he calls it, came on the heels of a tough year. In addition to the global economic meltdown, Louie’s mom was dying, and he and his wife Shelley did a world tour for the Passion movement he founded, which hosted events in 17 cities in 16 nations. Then, while in Sydney Australia, Shelley ruptured a disc in her back. For weeks, Louie suffered from what is called “fear of death syndrome.”
We’re hearing Louie’s story on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “When Darkness Falls.” Many of you may listen to his message and find yourself thinking, like I did, “Wow! Louie was too busy!” Then you may ask yourself, like I did, “Am I too busy?”
In our increasingly hectic culture, we need to have margin in our lives. In fact, sometimes we may need to schedule downtime, just to put it on the calendar and learn to say “no” when additional commitments would create too much stress.
Even Jesus took breaks from ministry. Luke chapter 5 says that He withdrew to lonely places to pray. So resist the urge to overextend yourself, even if you’re doing work for the Lord.
Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In other words, we need a place within us where we really can rest in the confidence that whatever the circumstance, God is greater.
Before I close, I want to encourage you to call our counselors for a free initial consultation if you feel depressed or sad. They would count it a privilege to speak to you. Call us, leave your name and number, and they’ll get back with you just as soon as possible. The number during business hours is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
Pastor Louie’s Giglio’s book on this topic is called The Comeback: It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far. I’d like to extend an invitation for you to become a special partner with us through our monthly “Friends of Focus on the Family” program. When you do, I’ll send you a free copy of Louie’s book as a way of saying thank you for touching others with the love of Christ. To make your pledge, or for more information, visit our website.