agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, cycling,, Prayer

Agoraphobia diary: introduction

Warm greetings to you all. Some of you may remember a short trip I made by bike a couple of years ago, during which I stretched the boundaries of my agoraphobia. Today I’m starting a new challenge: the most demanding and complex journey I’ve ever made on my own. It will use all the skills I’ve slowly been working on throughout my life, including flying, cars, and trains (though I haven’t actually been on a train for many years). I’ll also be staying in 3 different locations, and having some painful hospital treatment, just to add an extra touch of excitement and exhaustion. As well as the agoraphobia, I also live with chronic fatigue, chronic depression, and chronic migraine, so the whole project will be taxing in a variety of different ways.

During this 7-day trip, I’ll do my very best to keep up with the daily blogs, but will also add a short, honest report on how things are going. So, to kick off, before I leave for the airport later this morning, here is today’s prayer, which is introduced by one of my very favourite quotations from the Bible:

Agoraphobia

Ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12; KJV).

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Lord,

I’ve suffered
All my life
From agoraphobia,

But now accept,
Embrace it,
Without pain.

I know that
It’s the product
Of my childhood,

For fear
Has shaped my body,
And my brain.

I live with it;
I’m not ashamed
To speak of it;

But manage it
As best I can,
With prayer;

So in one sense
I’m no longer
Agoraphobic,

For I do not suffer,
Now I’ve learned
To care.

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God is all

In seething, blood-red darkness,
At the heart of silent prayer,
No sense of self remains,
And God is all.

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The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2; KJV).

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13; NLT).

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Beyond

How great is God – beyond our understanding! (Job 36:26; NIV).

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8; NLT).

He hears my voice (Psalm 55:17; NIV).

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Lord God,
You are beyond
Our understanding;

Far beyond
Our thoughts,
And all our ways;

Far beyond
Our weak
Imagination –

Yet not beyond
Our love, and prayers,
And praise.

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I don’t just want to pray

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NIV).

Work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically (Romans 12:11; NLT).

Praise God (Psalm 68:26; NLT).

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12:9; NLT).

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Lord God,

I don’t just want to pray –
I want my life to be
Continual prayer.

I don’t just want to serve –
I want my life to be
Continual service.

I don’t just want to praise –
I want my life to be
Continual worship.

I don’t just want to care –
I want my life to be
Continual love.

 

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When silence is too much

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

Never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5:17; NLT).

I love you, Lord (Psalm 18:1; NLT).

Praise the Lord (Psalm 68:19; NLT).

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When silence
Is too much
For me to bear, Lord,

May I whisper
Love and praise,
In simple prayer.

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Still, small voice

After the earthquake there was a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice (1 Kings 19:12; KJV).

Be silent before the Sovereign Lord (Zephaniah 1:7; NIV).

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Lord, thank you
For your still, small voice
In silent prayer –

For how else could I hear
The thoughts
I constantly suppress?

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Wandering thoughts

I will give you treasures hidden in darkness (Isaiah 45:3; NLT).

I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).

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Friends,

Don’t reject
Your wandering thoughts
In silent prayer,

Pushing them back
Into your shadow self,

Or substituting them
With views you find
More “positive”.

Instead,
Please hear them out
With due respect,

So you can learn from them,
And change, and grow –

For their purpose
Is to tell you
Who you are.

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