When talking to people about panic attacks and root issues, I find myself using a common analogy: a splinter in your finger.
There are many ways we can deal with the pain of a splinter. We can numb the pain with ice. We can cover the splinter with bandages so that it won’t be exposed. We can learn not to bend our finger a certain way that causes the pain.
Sometimes that splinter will fester into an infection causing more pain and more restricted movement. If nothing is done, the infection can spread, leading to even more serious problems.
Ideally, the best solution is to dig out the splinter. This brings up memories as a child when my mom would get a needle, a match and some alcohol. She would burn the end of the needle to sterilize it. Then, she’d get the alcohol ready to clean the hole she gouged in my finger. As a kid, I knew it was going to hurt.
Yes, there may be some pain in cutting out that splinter. Yes, there will even be some time required for proper healing. And yes, there may even be a scar. But, ultimately, the splinter will be gone. You will be able to move again without any pain, without any fear.
For most sufferers, panic disorder has a splinter. Root issues deep in our soul can trigger fear and panic. I believe one of my root issues was an inability to trust God, leading to a fear of death. For years, I anesthetized my pain by drinking. I covered the pain with the bandages of perfectionism. My splinter was buried deep in my soul, yet it continued to cause problems in my daily life and the lives of those close to me.
“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15).
Today, I encourage you to seek God for clarity about any splinters in your life. Trust him even when he burns the needle and grabs the alcohol. The pain of removing the splinter will be your first step towards healing. True freedom is within reach for everyone. God is ready to start work.
Prayer: Father, the roots of my anxiety run deep. I have tried to deal with the pain in my own ways, but nothing has helped. I ask you to remove any “splinters” from my life, understanding that it may be a long and painful process. I trust you to bring healing where the “splinters” once pierced my heart.