A few years ago—February 11, 2019 to be exact—I tried to kill myself with sleeping pills on a lazy afternoon.
Obviously, it didn’t work.
I fell asleep, not wanting or intending to wake up, but two hours later, my eyes opened. To say that I was disappointed, pissed off, and depressed would be an understatement. No one knew.
A Musical Invitation to Vulnerability
A few months after that night, I was vulnerable in a way that I had not previously been in a long time. I was on the phone with a beloved friend from college and told her things I hadn’t shared much about with anyone lately, not even my therapist. We started talking about God and how, as He is a gentleman, His nature is to offer love, not force us to come to Him. I have had many struggles in my spiritual life, especially during my formative years, and it’s documented here, here, and here.
During my time unloading all of my darkness to her, Renata, at one point, decided to softly play her acoustic guitar while I sat on the other line, in silence, trying to find the courage to speak the name of God.
It took a while.
Panicking Through a Heart-to-Heart
In between the silence, I had multiple panic attacks (marked by hyperventilation) stemming from a paralyzing fear that God was so upset that I had tried to meet Him prematurely that He’d remove His love from me and I would die right then and there and go straight to Hell, with Renata playing her guitar indefinitely.
Once I found the courage to open my mouth—and my heart—to the One who had saved not just my soul but my life, I think the first words I spoke were “I’m sorry, God! I’m so sorry!” I wasn’t ready to meet my Maker, and both the guilt I wrestled with and the panic that washed over me more than proved that.
I did learn one important thing that night and it is this:
Renata was praying for me that night as she played her guitar—she told me later—but she couldn’t come with me to the place I needed to be; she could walk with me to the entrance but I had to walk alone to the throne room to meet God by myself, to tell Him things my heart dare not admit aloud.
Some Things are Worth Repeating
I need to be reminded of that lesson now.
I hyperventilated for a good span of time in my sleep—between 15-20 minutes— before actually waking up in panic mode, and spent another 10 minutes consciously slowing my breathing down, trying to convince myself that I’m safe, and that, despite my sin, God still loves me—that He still wants me.
I’ve already had flashbacks for an hour this morning. I don’t know what the day will hold but I pray, even through the fear I still feel in this moment, that God gives me the strength to come boldly to His throne of grace… even if I panic.
Going to Him now with prayers
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