Testimonies of Freedom from Anxiety, Fear and Lust
For a special Thanksgiving episode of Purity for Life, many of our staff contributed short testimonies of how the Lord helped free them from life-dominating sin during their time in the residential program. We have two of those for you today. Michael talks about how God freed him from anxiety and fear, and Luke shares how he was freed from the bondage of sexual sin.
Michael: I would say in 2012, shortly after my sin came into the light, I entered into a season of just a lot of darkness, fear, anxiety, torment. During this season, I was enrolled in community college and I remember just progressively getting worse and it being harder and harder to focus. I couldn't remember what the professor said. I would get in my car and drive home and would go to my bedroom and just lay down on the floor and basically have a panic attack. All I could remember saying inside was Lord, have mercy on me, just have mercy on me. The predominant thought that plagued me was I'm going to end up in a psych ward and die and wake up in hell. I couldn't escape that reality. The fear just kept growing, anxiety just kept growing with that. Eventually I got put on antidepressants and I remember sitting in my car outside of the college I was attending and having the same thoughts, the same tormenting thoughts, blasphemous thoughts, a fear that I committed the unpardonable sin and just feeling numb. And that was worse than the feelings of anxiety and fear.
So not too long after that, I was enrolled in the Residential Program. And during my time in the program, my counselor just had me getting in the word, had me praying for other people and making gratitude lists. The Lord really used that to get my focus off myself; I didn't realize how full of myself I was and how full of unbelief I was. And that the answer was to get my eyes on Jesus. The Lord to used those 3 things during my time in the program to really get my eyes on the Lord and to get a sight of him and began putting faith in me and I got to the point where I was able to come off my medication—I didn't need it anymore. And when I graduated from the Residential Program I went home to visit for a week or so. And during this time, I remember having this kind of fear come on me, and the enemy saying you're just going to go back to the fear and anxiety, you're going to go back to the panic attacks. And the Holy Spirit just told me, no I've set you free from that you don't ever have to go back to that. And from that point on, I just knew that the Lord had completely set me free. I wasn't going to have a panic attack anymore. I was going to go back to that fear and that anxiety. And I know that the Lord used all of those things and ultimately just getting my eyes on Jesus to set me free and I will be forever grateful for that.
Luke: Prior to coming to the Residential Program in 2015, I was living a double life. Good, godly Christian exterior in many ways, active in my church and all that. But on the side, behind the scenes, there was a whole secret life of sexual sin. And that life just permeated my inside being with a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, always trying to lie and cover up things... and shame... the things that I was involved with were just so dark and evil, it was very shameful. And then there was the discouragement that just goes along with constantly living in defeat because I knew it was wrong. And when I came here to the Residential Program is where the Lord started to deal with my heart. I realized that sexual sin wasn't really the issue. I needed like a relationship with God that I thought I had but evidently was just absent because what God started to do was reveal the heart behind all these good works that I was propping my life up with. It's like I built a house that was built on nothing but self-righteousness and pride. And when the Lord revealed that to me and my house started to crumble, I realized that I wasn't nearly as good as I thought I was. And now I was in a much more desperate and serious state to seek the Lord and cry out for help. And in that desperation is when I began to cry out to the Lord because I knew that if anyone was going to help me in this situation it had to be God.
I was battling with a lot of thoughts of immorality, pornographic images, darkness; I got very desperate and cried out to the Lord for help. And, and one of those times where I was just really battling, I got very sick physically , actually. I had like an experience where I was vomiting, basically dry heaving. And a drop of blood came out after I had vomited. And it was like the Lord spoke to me at that moment, Luke, you will not be able to get through this without my blood. And it was at that point that I really began to appreciate God's love, appreciate his sacrifice, the Cross, what it really meant for me personally. At one point I just remember crying out to him as I was overrun with lust and images and pornographic images. And I just cried out to the Lord for help and he was there, and the images left. And in that whole time, I also realized how much more powerful God was then my sin. Because, not only was the blood sufficient to cover my sin, but it was also more powerful than the enemy and it became very clear to me that God is much more powerful than my sin. And now, you know, I'm so grateful that I'm not in that same bondage, that I'm not in that same turmoil that I was; the fear and the shame of living a double life is gone. And it's a beautiful thing to be free from the bondage of that sexual sin. And I'm so grateful that the Lord... not only did he free me from the sin, but he is still here and able to help me even today with my struggles. So as I continue to learn to walk in an increased poverty of spirit and learn to walk in humility, the Lord meets me every time and I'm really grateful that he is an ever present help in time of need.