Asking God to Sit With You When Words Won’t Come

TW: anxiety attack

At the beginning of the year, my anxiety was at an all-time high. The destruction and death toll of 2020 weighed heavy on my mind, and the uncertainties of the future were not lost on me. More often than not, I preferred to hide from the outside world. I struggled to shut my mind up long enough to even fall asleep at night. 

One January night, I bounced around my living room on the verge of a panic attack. Each  one I’ve ever had has looked vastly different, and that night’s was particularly active. I felt my heart rate rise and my breath quicken as my thoughts refused to slow down. I couldn’t sit still or focus on anything. As I tried to figure out how to calm myself down, my mom’s constant advice echoed in my head: pray. 

“Pray?!” I thought. “I can’t even focus long enough to form a coherent thought.”

At that, I felt a bit of shame. I can’t even talk to God when I need him most? But the shame lasted only for a moment before grace took over. I would never tell someone that their inability to focus during a panic attack warrants blame. Why am I telling myself that? 

Focused prayer or not, the Lord has never been inaccessible to me. He promises in His word to never leave us nor forsake us. It is His presence that helped me through some of my darkest moments. In those moments, my prayers often consisted of only one word: “help.” And He always did. In that particular dark moment, I felt that God was telling me this: 

A good friend is willing to sit with us in silence when we can’t speak. 

And Christ is the best friend; He is the one who sticks closer than a brother. If anyone could understand the depths of our dark feelings, would it not be our creator? Wouldn’t the One who knows us most intimately be most understanding? He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, and surely that includes when we can’t speak. 

I asked God to sit with me– that, I could manage to get out. And guess what? He did. He was faithful to surrounding me with his comforting, strengthening presence until the storm passed. So to my readers and friends who struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, I advise you to do the same: 

When you don’t have the words to pray, ask God to sit with you. 

Because He always will. Talking to God is wonderful, and something we should all make a habit of. But when you’re out of words, asking for His presence is enough. It’s simple, but life changing to know that no matter the depths of our struggle, God is there. 

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