Growing up as a South Asian in a Christian family in Australia, I often felt a tension between my identity and the challenges I faced at home, compared to my life outside of those walls—both literally and figuratively.
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You’ve been set apart for good works,” says the preacher, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” So why am I so sad, anxious…broken? I wonder.
Imagine waking up each day, having no idea what the day will hold. Sure, you know that it’s a Tuesday, so the kids will be going to school, and you have work. But in reality, at any moment you could get a text that means you need to drop everything and return home.
That’s the reality of living with someone with a mental illness, especially when that person is your partner.
Leaning into my fear and embracing the adrenaline coursing through my veins, I answered the Lord and said, “Yes, I’ll go to China.”
I was 19-years-old and in my second year of college when I sensed God calling me to be a missionary. Young and naive, I had no idea what was happening when I heard “Go to China” on repeat in my head for a week, on my way to and from class, while eating meals in the dining common and when trying to fall asleep at night.
“I’m sorry, there is no cure for your medical condition.” Those were the last words I expected to hear from my doctor. I was 28 then.
I started my career as a young, zealous pastor who wanted to change the world. I wanted to do everything I could for God. But, by the second year of ministry I was battling depression and anxiety.
As a registered Christian counsellor in a private practise, I have seen and heard words and actions that are unhelpful for people battling anxiety.
Dear anxious Rosie,
You are not alone in your anxiety.
God feels incredibly far away at this moment, but the truth is, He has never been closer to you. He hasn’t discarded you because you are too difficult or too broken to love. He hasn’t broken any of His promises to you. He is holding you together right now. Don’t give up on trying to find God.
It’s usually once I’m seated in a rollercoaster, and the attendants start doing their safety checks that I’m regretting my decision to go on the ride. Panic would fill my stomach. I find it hard to breathe. I feel like I’m about to die and that feeling continues to grow as the train gradually arrives at the peak of the rollercoaster.
And that’s what my anxiety feels like.
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