It happened in the middle of the night. I received a phone call from a friend who was overtly anxious. I could hear her pacing the floor as she practiced taking deep breaths. (It wasn’t the first time this had happened, and her counselor had suggested breathing exercises). Between huge gasps of air, her trembling voice said, “Please pray for me.”
Immediately, I went to the Lord in prayer, asking His Spirit to flood her mind with peace and comfort. She was able to relax a little, and after a long pause, she mentioned that “it” had happened again. A wave of emotions hit me, for I knew exactly what “it” meant. My struggling friend had hurt herself to relieve the stress.
Something needed to be done. She was already getting professional help, but I wondered what else I could do as her friend. She didn’t want me coming over, as she was too embarrassed for me to see her in a sullen condition. So, I invited her to come over to my house the next day.
We sat on my living room couch for 3 hours. We laughed. We cried. But most importantly, we spent quality time together in a safe and loving environment. She mentioned on her way out the door, “I wish we could do this more often.” Her words reverberated so deeply within my heart that I had no other option but to put them into action.
Once a week, I began to host a group of college girls at my home. We would sip on coffee and socialize, study the Word and ask questions, then pair up and pray for each other. Our souls were strengthened as we genuinely shared life together. We celebrated each passed mid-term, birthday, and personal victory while also working through every family dispute, breakup, and loss. Deeper friendships were formed, which led to hanging out more regularly in other homes or at public outings. I’m happy to say that our heavy burdens were made lighter as we walked through the highs and lows of life together. We found His constant peace in the solace of our group.
It’s estimated that 1 in 5 people struggle with anxiety and are in a constant battle for their overall peace of mind. What better way to face anxiety than to be part of a healthy and welcoming community that gathers for encouragement, love, and comfort. May Christ fill you with peace on your journey and give you the courage to join or start a group today.