You may read this post and not believe it. In fact I can hardly believe it myself but every word is true. The reason for such a lengthy gap between posts is because I was busy jumping off cliffs and bridges, flying in hot-air balloons and meeting the most amazing people and some incredible wildlife up close in Africa. ME? You ask? The one who writes about panic attacks and anxiety disorder! Yes ME!
I was invited to Africa on a family vacation, all expenses paid. Yep! So what do I say? Ummmm let me think about that while I swallow the lump of anxiety in my throat.. Of course not… I may have some crazy in my blood but I am not that crazy! I know an invitation into God’s will when I see one.
This is a trip my husband and MIL have wanted to take for as long as I have known them so it was always kind-of on the cards, but it’s not until you are actually applying for passports and getting your travel shots that you begin to accept the reality of such a task!
To cut a very long story short I had some Godly signs pointing to the bridge jump over the Zambezi river near Victoria Falls. I knew I would be walking distance from this death defying treat whilst in Africa and told myself I would always regret it if I didn’t do it. God had something in store, I knew it! So I went….praying my backside off mind you.
The guys asked me to speak into the video camera before I jumped the 111m toward the river below, so I spoke clearly “Goodbye Anxiety, Goodbye Fear, Goodbye Panic Attacks, Goodbye Control, GOD HAS GOT ME, One one one!” (111 is my special Godly number). I had a 10 seconds free-fall before the rope caught me and swung me out across the gorge, and let me tell you it was incredible, empowering, freeing, and freaking insane! As I swung at the bottom of that rope, surrounded by nothing else but God’s stunning artwork, I sang….. I sang my heart out! “I sing because I am happy, I sing because I’m free, His eye in on the sparrow and I know He watches over me!”
I cried….. Tears of gratitude and joy. Tears of Love for my Heavenly Father who gave me the courage to face myself and my fears, to give total control to Him…. Africa was all about this awesome sense of gratitude!
When I got home to Australia I was telling this story to a friend, and his son. It was the first time I had met the son who was in his early 20’s. He heard me mention panic attacks and told me he used to have 5 panic attacks per day and wouldn’t leave his house. He told me the only way he learned to prevent these attacks was to demand more. Sounds strange I know, but it makes sense. If a panic attack is caused by fear of fear then by facing the fear head on you have only fear, not the fear of fear. By telling fear you know your body can handle your heart pounding, your body can handle uncontrollable tears, your body can handle sweating and dizziness, you begin accepting the fear, and you can’t really be afraid of something that you accept, something you know you are equipped to handle even if you pass out. You will wake up. Even if you cry your eyes out, you will not die from crying. Even if you need to change your underwear afterwards. You have more clean underwear somewhere. Do you hear me out there?!?!
This is exactly what I was doing when I jumped off that bridge, when I agreed to go to Africa at all! I decided that I may feel fear but my body can handle it. God made humans the most adaptable species on the planet, if we can only learn to accept what is happening around us, instead of fighting against it.
So I have tried this new technique a few times since I’ve been home. I tried it when I got cut off in traffic and wanted to snap angrily but decided I can handle people who cut in. Bring it on! I tried it when I felt a painful twang in my stomach and difficult memories of IBS came flooding back. Bring it on I told myself. I can handle this, I have survived this for a long time. When I’m excited by a group of people and begin to ramble nervously, just go with it I said to myself you’re not hurting anyone. God watches over me! He has got me! I can tell you in all honesty it all just fades away. Like it was never there! Amen!
I am yet to try it as the passenger to my learner driving daughter but I am feeling the triumph building within and I am very curious to see if I can ask for more fear whilst driving with her. I must try to tell myself that I may have been in a bad car accident before, but I can handle it! Bring it on!
I am not a thrill seeker, my jump was never about chasing the thrill. It was a leap of faith, a test of my trust! I am not now looking for fear but I am aware that it lurks around me trying to trip me up and this concept is to remind myself that I can take it when it comes! To challenge it to try its best because God has got me!
There are so many things I learned about myself and God whilst on this trip and I look forward to sharing more on here soon. I’m just excited to go live with this new self and really enjoy the changes God has brought about in me. Blessings to you all!