Internship Journal VII


Last week I had a taste of burnout. I’ve been thinking about so many things and worried by so many things that for a period of time I completely lost hope. I went from living in faith to living in fear. I think the worst is over, but it was one of the most horrible things I’ve encountered. Beset by irrational fears all I could do was worry or distract myself from the worry. When the distraction was over the worry returned.

During the beginning of the week people would ask me how I was doing. I would say I was fine except that I was worried about my corporate tax return for my company. Underneath the surface I was quickly becoming overwhelmed and I didn’t realize it. When a number of stresses combined it’s like this huge mound of anxiety was unleashed. Unexpectedly I found myself shaking with my heart pounding. As I worked through many of the urgent things that were paramount in my mind last week my anxiety eased. I feel tempted to believe that it was just a bad set of circumstances that combined to send me off. In reality I believe that deep down inside I really don’t trust God with some areas of my life.

There are a few things I can take from this experience. I can relate to people when they say they are “stressed out” over seemingly irrational things. I learned that lots of people live with anxiety but don’t talk about it. After I shared my struggles in a staff prayer meeting a couple people told me they often experience anxiety. Sometimes I wonder if many of us are hurting alone in our little worlds imprisoned by the fear of condemnation and judgement.

Last summer we had a particularly warm streak of weather. A good friend of mine raises Llamas. I joined him as we filled up a water tanker with good clear clean city water and trucked it down to the Llamas. We filled up the barrel with far better water they would get out of any pond or stream. The animals all gathered around it but none would drink. Brett explained to me that there is a heirarchical order in the Llamas social structure. If any Llama but the highest ranked tried to drink the other Llamas would physically show their displeasure. In the end there were a number of animals gathered around this water each suffering from thirst but too afraid to drink. It seemed like the purest example of hell I’d ever seen. I think our churches are like this. So many of us are suffering but we are too afraid to let people in to help ease our burden. We stand at the edge of the healing water but our fear of condemnation and judgement keeps us from drinking.

Fear is one of the principal enemies of mankind. Through my crisis I asked God to do many things. I asked Him to change my circumstances, remove my symptoms, help me sleep and a few other things. It didn’t ever seem to help much. Instead of asking God to take away my fear I began asking for faith, hope and vision. I’m trying to simplify my life and let people see my weakness. I feel much better. I can see my way through some of the challenges that face me.

  1. #1 by jamie on December 5, 2002 - 10:23 pm

    Hey Leighton, I just wanted to say that I have bad anxiety attacks as well. they started when i became a Christian….hmmm…..
    you’re not alone!

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