My world got rocked in the past week when I started experiencing panic attacks as I moved into the Jo’burg environment.
Everything was large and unfamiliar, overwhelming to my already over-tired and stressed mind and body. Large waves of emotion and uncertainty washed over me as I tried to figure out how to be back in a place of vast availability and choice.
I missed the simplicity and the smallness of Mmametlhake. I missed the friends and family I have there, and felt small and insignificant in a sprawling city where I knew almost no one.
I was chatting online with a friend last night about how we all have a need to be irreplaceable to someone. God put in us a desire to be fully known—to matter to someone. We crave significance. We crave the knowledge that we are significant. But yet so many of us run from real relationship or choose the facsimile of relationship.
It’s the catch-22 that so many of us find ourselves in—the desire to be significant to someone but the fear of real relationships and the hurt they can cause.
I’ve been hurt by people. I’ve been hurt by relationships. We all have at some point in time or another.
But I’m tired of that hurt being what defines my relationships past, present and future. I’m tired of running and hiding and fearing. I desire to be fully known. I want the dark and ugly things inside me to be exposed to the light. I want to know and believe that I am irreplaceable to someone.
The panic attacks have eased off in the last few days as I’ve begun to find my footing here. There are still things that I find overwhelming, but I am learning to compartmentalize those things and set them aside to deal with when I feel stronger and more mentally at ease.
I am also beginning to believe in my own significance again as I meet new people and remember the worth and value God has placed on me.
The readjustment phase is just beginning, and it will be sometime before I truly know how to live in this type of environment again. For now, it’s a day-to-day process of awakening to the promise I have in the Lord to be fully known and dying to myself so that I can share the fullness of that promise with others.
It’s a process of faith, hope and love.