I never fully understood that Jesus is all that I need until he was all that I had.
6 months ago, I woke up feeling lightheaded and sick to my stomach. I had no clue what was wrong, but I figured I would feel better as the day went on. I didn't. The next two mornings, I felt progressively worse, and finally, my strange symptoms culminated in severe chest and shoulder pain, difficulty breathing, and almost passing out. Becca, my wife, took me to the emergency room because we thought I was having a heart attack.
The doctor did a number of tests, and after 30 excruciatingly long minutes of waiting, he told me my heart was fine. He said that I had experienced a major panic attack, which simulated the same symptoms of cardiac arrest. I was so relieved, and we drove home thinking my experience was simply a one time thing. It wasn't.
Over the next few months, I continued to deal with anxiety and panic attacks, some of which woke me up in the middle of the night. There were times I couldn't feel my arms and legs, and other times I was sure my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I had to cancel a number of concerts while I tried to get everything under control.
Over and over I reminded myself what Paul said to the church in Philippi. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). I needed the peace of God to guard my heart and my mind, so every time I experienced a panic attack, I prayed for that. I would wake up each day and say, "God, this day belongs to you. I can't make it without you. I literally can't breathe without you. I need you to carry me." And He did carry me, and He still does. He carried me through each day even before I experienced the anxiety, but I just didn't realize it. It took these difficult moments for me to realize how much I need Jesus.
The truth is, we all need Jesus to carry us. We are lost without him. As Augustine said, "our souls are restless until they find their rest in You." Maybe you struggle with anxiety. Maybe you're dealing with something else, like divorce, abuse, financial troubles, or doubt. Perhaps everything seems to be going well in your life, but even if that's the case, Jesus is the only one who can sustain you, whether you realize it or not. Colossians 1:17 reminds us, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
I still struggle with anxiety, but God's peace has been palpable during my trials. He is teaching me how to truly rely on His strength instead of my own. He is teaching me that just as he holds this universe together, he also holds my heart.
My prayer has been, and will continue to be the chorus of my song, "Carry Me."
"Carry me, carry me, carry me now, From my sinking sand to Your solid ground, The only way I'm ever going to make it out Is if you carry me, carry me, carry me now."
(you can listen to "Carry Me" on the music player here on the website)