Three years ago, a friend gave me a ticket to the She is Free conference. Rebekah Lyons, author of You Are Free and Freefall to Fly, was at the conference speaking about her experience with anxiety. I was sitting there, not comprehending what she went through and struggling to have empathy. Fast forward to a year later and I found myself struggling with debilitating anxiety. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to have a chat with Rebekah about anxiety and I’m so glad we were able to have this conversation and share it with you.
Struck with Pain
“I think God always makes our pain become purpose.”
- She never set out to be a voice on anxiety, but that is where life led her.
- She developed a panic disorder in 2010 after moving to Manhattan and remembered feeling alone in her experience.
- “My surrender moment was my first panic attack.”
- Her first panic attack was four months after moving to New York. It was sparked by a claustrophobia while her plane was landing in LaGuardia. This marked the beginning of a turbulent year of panic attacks.
- Rebekah remembers praying for healing one night in bed with her husband and waking up the next morning, a bit timid, thinking, “Did it take?”
- “When you’re sick, you only see inward, you see what is broken, you see what is lost. When a healing journey begins, you begin to look up and look out and notice everybody else.”
- She remembers walking around that day looking outward.
Finding an Answer for the Fear
- We are so gripped in fear, and we don’t always know why.
- “It’s the first time I’ve known the rescue of God in the 30 years I’ve called myself a Christian.”
- She began to research mental health in the church in search of the underlying root to her fears.
- “We are supposed to shout peace from the rooftops.”
- Rebekah recognizes that self-idolatry and false idolatry keep us from being stewards of God.
- “Holy Spirit, would you please show me any counterfeit Gods in my life. Have I elevated my gift of writing over you, the giver of words?”
- We have to put our trust back in God to find freedom and joy.
- In this new season of life, Rebekah and her husband are welcoming joy in to their life and are adopting. Their baby girl Joy will be joining them in December.
In the Pursuit of Peace
“You cannot heal what is hidden.”
- Rebekah advises those of you going through anxiety to get a journal and write down your thoughts every morning.
- Start a conversation with God; there is no right way to do it. “Invite God into the stress.”
- Reach out to friends to help you find the root of your anxiety, they can help identify the moments when you stop looking outward and retreat inward.
- When you know what is causing those deep-down feelings of discomfort, lay it all down and prioritize it all below God.
- We fall into traps of tying our identity to some thing instead of God.
Rebekah is such a voice of healing and I adore her for it. Visit her website for free resources like tips for mental health and anxiety. Her book, You Are Free, is for sale wherever books are sold. Keep up with her work, life, and beautiful family on Instagram.