When the phone rang, the young, 16-year old boy answered. It was his aunt. Her car had a flat tire, and she couldn’t change it herself. She needed his help.
The young boy hopped into his small, American car and headed her way. When he arrived, he was eager and ready to change her tire, but she didn’t have a lug wrench for her German-made car. No problem. The young boy grabbed the lug wrench out of his American car, not realizing that the US-made lug wrench used inches and the German-made wrench used millimeters. That’s okay, he thought. It still fits.
He used the jack to lift the car up, and then placed the wrench on the first lug nut. Felt snug. So, with all his strength, he twisted the lug wrench. He felt it moving, but it slipped a few times. That’s okay, he was strong. He continued to push the wrench round and round, not realizing he was stripping the lug nuts. Not sure what was happening, he tried the next lug nut. Same thing. Then, the next one and the next one. When he was done, all but one of the lug nuts were ground down to a finely polished surface. Nothing would grab them now. He thought he was fixing the problem, but now the problem was worse.
I tell this story to illustrate a profound truth in my experience with panic attacks. There are lots of “tools” out there today that promise freedom. In fact, I tried almost all of them. But, now that I am free, I have realized that most of these tools actually do more damage than good. Like this lug wrench story, the wrong tool even in the right hands can create more problems than it solves.
So then, what is the right tool for freedom?
Humanity has two key problems:
- We are born into this world disconnected from the Source of true life.
- Because of that, we have connected with ourselves as our own source.
Think about it, when struggling with crippling fear, anxiety, depression and panic attacks, do you find yourself with these thoughts:
- If I just had enough courage, I could beat this thing.
- If I could find the right book or tape or doctor, then I can get free.
- If I could just find the right medication, then I would have peace.
- If I just prayed the right prayer, then God would answer.
- If I just had more willpower, I can overcome this.
- If I fight hard enough, I can win this battle.
The problem with these kinds of thoughts is that we think we are the source of our freedom, but we’re not. We can’t fix ourselves. It’s like trying to arm wrestle with yourself–even if you win, you lose.
Have you heard this phrase: “God helps those who help themselves.” Guess what? It’s not in the Bible. It’s not scriptural. It should say, “God helps those who cannot help themselves.” Or, let me say it this way:
- “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6).
- “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).
- “Whoever clings to this life will lose it, and whoever loses this life will save it” (Luke 17:33).
The harder you work at fixing your own problems, the harder you turn that wrongly-sized lug wrench, doing more damage than good.
I encourage you today to stop using the wrong tool. Set it down. Give it to God, and “cast your cares upon the Lord, for he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Connect with your True Source of freedom. Let him whisper his love over you, because he wants you free more than you do. So, let him take you there.
Prayer: Father, I’ve been working so hard for so long with the wrong tool. I give up. I’m tired to doing more damage than good. I lay down my tools, my efforts, even my strength, and I put all of my trust in you, for you alone are my true Source of peace and freedom.