I've recently learned that I am like a fainting goat. Let me start at the beginning.
For as long as I can remember, it has been easy for me to pass out. This usually occurred when I hurt myself or after some kind of traumatic event, like when I had surgery. Over time I was able to sense when the fainting was coming and could sit down, take deep, slow breathes, and overcome the tunnel vision before my head hit the floor. After I learned to recognize the signs, the passing out happened only very, very occasionally. My mom took me to the doctor when I was in middle school, and the doctor said I had a "low pain tolerance." Medically, I'm a wimp.
When my son was born, I started to fear passing out again. Between the ages of 18 and 30 I'd only passed out two times, but however unlikely, I was worried I'd pass out while holding him, or while driving, or while walking him in the park. I developed a great deal of anxiety because of this fear, which eventually lead to a panic disorder, which eventually lead to depression because I was completely consumed and ruled by this fear. Part of this was fueled by postpartum depression, and a part of it was fueled by my deep feeling of loneliness.
I saw my doctor and a counselor who helped me get back on track and in control of the panic disorder, and by the grace of God I am in a much better place when it comes to sweating the small stuff. Still, in the back of my head, I wondered WHY it was so easy for me to pass out, and if there was something bigger going on. I saw several specialists, had my thyroid and numerous other blood samples tested, worked with a naturopath and chiropractor, and finally met with a neurologist who ruled out all of the terrible worst-case-scenario things I'd been thinking about a brain tumor or something. No, she had a much simpler diagnosis. She said, "Have you ever seen the video of the fainting goats?"
Forgive my lack of medical jargon, but basically she said I have "short receptors" or something, so even the smallest adrenaline spike can make me pass out. It's benign, and since I can usually catch the process early enough to avoid passing out, and since it has happened so infrequently in the past 15 years, she encouraged me to not stress about it and just live my life.
So, after all that, it came back to my pediatricians diagnosis: medically, I'm a wimp.
I'm a fainting goat!
I thought that after I had a diagnosis, the residual anxiety of wondering what was wrong with me would fade and I could move past that worry in my life. But when the diagnosis is, "you will faint sometimes, and that's ok," I now had to conquer the mental battle.
Is it ok? Is it ok to go to the store knowing that if I accidentally jab my knee into the cart, I'll possibly pass out? Is it ok to travel by myself, even if there's a possibility of fainting far from people I know? Will people help me? Will God really protect me?
All these questions I wrestled with lead me to a big question: do I believe that God is sovereign in my life?
That is a question I have to repeat to myself on a daily basis when worries and fears sneak their way in. Do I believe God is sovereign in my life? Do I believe that nothing happens apart from Him, and no evil can befall me that He has not already conquered? If I DO believe those things, then what is the point of the worries? And I realized that every day, anything could happen to any of us. And I realized I paid lip service to placing my security in God, but when it came right down to it, I still felt like I was in control. That's why I developed the panic disorder. I was trying to control the uncontrollable. I was destined to fail. All the doctors and anti-depressants and herbal supplements and glasses of wine in the world weren't going to heal me. The only place I can find peace, the only place I can find rest, is letting go of the control I never really had in the first place. The only solution to my worries is to shout them out to the Lover of my soul, and let Him lead me when I'm so afraid. I know many people who never really live their life because they don't want to be out of control. They stay safe, and that seems like the sensible thing, but I've realized that God is sovereign, and He is going to take me home when my work is done, and not a second before. I no longer want to bury myself in the sand like the parable of the talents. I want to go big, multiplying everything He's made me, maximizing everything He's invested in me, whether that be a day or 100 years. As long as I have breath, I want to live.
The only way to do that is give up control. Give it all up. Reach into those little crevices where you feel too fragile, and know that He made you, so He knows your fragile bits and He knows your fears. He cares more for those fragile parts of you than you do, and He is sovereign.
Genetically, I'm a fainting goat. There's nothing I can do about that. If you see me out in public looking pale or wobbly, I'm probably trying to keep myself in control, so please remind me that God is sovereign. If you see me passed out on the sidewalk, I'm sure I'll wake up in a second--stay close and remind me that I don't have to be afraid ;) These are the cards I'm dealt. You have been dealt cards, too. Don't be like me, living so long with those cards as obstacles. They are just your cards, and God is sovereign, even over the crappiest hand.