The thorn in my flesh.

Yesterday, I participated in an online bible study on FB in the evening. A good friend of mine told me that she enjoyed her experience and it sounded good to me too. I really like the book that we are reading for the bible study. The idea of connecting with other Christian women online, very much appealed to me. The reality however, rocked my world and not in a good way. I was unprepared for the rapid fire nature of the comment alerts that popped up on my screen. So badly I wanted to fit in and keep up and participate. My anxiety got the better of me. I didn’t just myself for feeling anxious in the circumstances of something new and challenging, but I was so disappointed. Lately, due to the problems I’ve been having with my low blood pressure, I have been trying to cut back on the beta blocker that I take twice per day to control my adrenaline response. When things were at their worst with my son’s illness, I was having debilitating panic attacks. I don’t want to relive them by describing them. Trust me when I say that the physical symptoms of a panic attack can be horrible to experience. I’d cut back on my medication at the beginning of this week and was feeling good. I had more energy, better blood pressure and was feeling successful. I even talked about how encouraged I was with my therapist yesterday morning at my weekly appointment. I hadn’t had a panic attack in months. The milder symptoms of anxiety had been kept at bay, even during stressful situations. I felt cured of my anxiety. Really I believed that the coping skills I’d been using including radical positivity and Heart Math had changed my life. I wanted to give myself the credit for living better, rather than rely on medication. I don’t like medications. I hate the side effects.

My experience with physical anxiety symptoms last night really made me feel so discouraged. Being faced with the reality that I can only do so much to control my over exaggerated adrenaline response feels like a failure. Logically, I know that this is a medical condition to be managed with multiple modalities, once of the most important, the appropriate medication. I think I’ve finally gotten to the acceptance phase of my life with anxiety. For years, I’ve posted slides on FB and Pinterest about depression and anxiety being medical conditions. It’s so hard for me to accept and not to see it as a shortcoming. I’m very hard on myself and hold myself to very high standards. (Unresolved issues from being an adopted child. It was hard for me to understand that I was still worthy of love when my mother gave me away.)

I was sharing my discouragement with a trusted and respected coworker that I have much admiration for, today at work. She listened and easily, thoughtfully said “Maybe this is the thorn in your flesh.” I knew the moment the words escaped her lips that they were right from God. I’m sure I had a stunned expression on my face. Her words resonated with me so strongly! Later, in my office alone, I looked up the phrase on my iPhone. I knew it would lead me to the Bible and a verse I was as of yet, unfamiliar with. Google’s first search result took me to There I found 2 Corinthians 12:7.

The New International Version “or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.”

New Living Translation “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me to keep me from becoming proud.”

It goes on and on. I’ll admit that although I love and praise God and his Son, Jesus Christ, I don’t know my way around the bible very well. I’d like to. I know that I can apply much of it to my life and grow stronger in my faith. I’ve never been a fan of reading about Satan but this verse spoke to me. Reflecting on the verse, I strongly feel that God is behind all the things in my life. The good, the bad and the annoying. He gives me hope that I will learn to live with and appreciate the challenges and continue to look for the positive in everything. I have more to say about this but need more time to reflect first.

As always, thank you for time and attention. With love and hugs, Rebecca

2 responses to “The thorn in my flesh.

  • Hal

    I had never considered the possibility that my ongoing anxiety could be my “thorn in the flesh”. I have a temperament type that leans naturally towards anxiety and dread – but the Word keeps telling us to “fear not” and “don’t be afraid” so I didn’t think it could fit the “thorn” idea. But I see from a web search that others have thought this way as well. Thank your for sharing.

    • reinventingrebecca

      Sometimes when we are hardwired to be anxious, it’s very discouraging to be told by the Bible and friends and family, “Fear Not,” or “Get over it!”. I didn’t think of anxiety as the thorn in my flesh until a friend of mine suggested it. It really clicked for me. I appreciate your comment on my post. Hugs and prayers, Hal. Rebecca

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