I have been told by those who have experienced panic disorder and found freedom that relinquishment is the key to that freedom.
So, what does that mean? What does it mean to relinquish yourself to God? In the dictionary, relinquishment means “to let out of one’s possession or control completely; to abandon one’s self.”
The world teaches that when fear and panic strike, you need to take control of your life. “Get a hold of yourself Russell!” or “Get a grip!” Yet, Jesus says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25).
A few years ago, a lady wrote to me and shared her story. It illustrates this principal of relinquishment:
I have been house bound with panic attacks for the last 15 years, only having ventured out of my home 3 or 4 times. I live in a very small town where going to a doctor is really very simple but, for me, it was a nightmare just going to the car.
In late March I became very ill with kidney failure and had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. I was more afraid of the fear than of my kidney problem. After accessing my problem, I was immediately air lifted to another hospital about 400 miles from home. As I was being placed in the plane for transport, I told my son ‘good-bye’, as I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was near death or, so I thought. In the plane, I began to speak with God and make peace with him. I suddenly became very calm and peaceful. I had no fear at all and became very aware of my surroundings. I looked out the small window of the plane and admired the beauty of the clouds.
When I got to the hospital, I was placed on dialysis and my month long stay in hospital was a “touch and go” situation but, still no fear.
When time came for my release from hospital, my husband drove me the 400 miles home, and I was amazed that I could not even remember what a panic attack felt like. I am convinced that God allowed me to feel the fear of dying so that I might be able to cope with the fear of living.
Today, I am able to go out to restaurants, shopping, go to movies….do all the things I have not been able to do for 15 years. God saved my life in more ways than one. Yes, there will always be some anxiety but, that is normal in life and I am now able to cope with it, with God’s help.
Although Linda’s experience with relinquishment came as a result of sickness, God revealed to her that freedom comes when you simply trust him with your life–when you give him complete control.
Prayer: Lord, I give you control. Help me to relinquish my vain efforts, to rid myself of any worldly coping techniques. Help me to trust you more.