Panic Attacks - Part 3 - Prescription for Solution

It has taken me a long time to get around to this post.  Yes, I've been busy but that's not what's held things up.  It is important to me to get it right so I have done much research and prayed much and thought long.  And I've worried.  Fearful that I'll not get it right or offend someone or miss the chance to offer genuine help.  So I've put it off.  But the post keeps writing itself in my head.  It's time to get it on the blog. And to move beyond my own fear!  I pray that it will bring hope and help...that it will be Truth - and Grace...that even just one person might be encouraged.

Here goes...........

Panic attacks do not have to control you. No one needs to be debilitated by fear or anxiety.  That is the total and simple truth.

Now, how to live in that truth?  Here are the suggestions  I have for you to overcome and prevent panic attacks. (Some of what I share has been mentioned in the previous posts but it bears repeating and expounding)

1. Get a physical.  While the root of panic attacks is clearly NOT physiological, the symptoms are and it is helpful to address issues such as thyroid imbalance that could be exacerbating the problem. 
However, remember that the cause is not physical.  And the solution is not either.  Try to avoid the use of medication as a solution.  This can actually become a hindrance in being set free from fear but if you truly cannot cope, then use medicine as a temporary support to get you to the place where you can deal with the real issues.

2.  Believe that God wants to heal you of this. Far too many people are deceived into thinking they have to live like this.  I cannot overemphasize how wrong that is!  Fear is never the plan for His children.  Being cured of cancer or becoming debt free or looking like a model may not always be His plan for us but we can be confident that living in fear is NOT what He purposes for us.  How can I be so sure of that?  Because He commands us over and over and over "Do not fear".  Nearly 100 times!! So if He commands us not to fear, then fear clearly is not right for us.  We don't have to "settle" for it or think it is our "normal" and just learn to live with it.  Emphatically NO!  Our responsibility is to believe Him, to take Him at His Word.  (See Mark 9:20-24) Read my earlier posts about this.  God wields incomparable power in the lives of those of us who believe Him.  Ephesians 1:18-20 says having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

3.  Be willing to be healed.  As preposterous as it sounds, we are not always willing for God to heal us!  Perhaps we fear wholeness more than what holds us captive.  There is comfort in familiarity, even that which ensnares us.  And, as difficult as this is to say, I must be truthful - we derive benefit from our captivity to fear!  Pathetic, but true.  "Benefits" such as controlling the behavior of those around us.  Or  absolving oneself of personal responsibility.  Or eliciting sympathy from others.  Playing victim and expecting our "due compensation". 
God wants to give us the authentic benefits of wholeness and not these cheap imitations.  And, while He could heal us instantaneously and without any effort on our part, He usually requires that we play a role in the healing.  (See John 5:5,6).  Because He uses our participation to develop the spiritual muscle we need to hold the ground we will regain.  There will always be a battle, this side of Glory.  And weak, fearful soldiers will be repeatedly defeated.  Only those who have become strong in the Lord will survive victorious.

4.  Dig out the root of the fear.  This is where the hard works happens.  While even unbelievers can achieve a measure of success over panic attacks through controlling and redirecting thought patterns, sustainable victory is only possible by uncovering and removing the root of fear.  That is only done with the Sword of the Spirit...the Word of God.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
 And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.  Psalm 139:23,24

Look carefully and see the connection between "hurtful way" and "anxious thoughts".  Here, God clearly gives us the diagnosis and prescription - when we are plagued by anxiety, there is a root down under that needs the Spirit of God to uncover.  "Hurtful way" refers to "idolatry" and is the opposite of "everlasting way", the way of God, which is timeless and eternal and right. 
I believe the psalmist is explaining to us that the root of anxiety and panic - usually well covered up and only discernible by the Holy Spirit - is something which we have placed above God's rightful place, which is idolatry.  2 Corinthians 10:5 sheds more light on this.  This verse tell us that every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God needs to be destroyed because these thoughts open us up to the occupation of the Enemy in our souls.  When we value something above God - be it something material or a relationship or our own public image - we actually allow the Enemy to build a fortress (2 Corinthians 10:4) in our souls, set up camp, and influence our behavior.

Do not freak out - I am not suggesting that Christians can be possessed by the devil!!!!!!!!!

But I am conveying the Truth of His Word to you - and we can be (and are) most surely influenced by him!  Just take a look around you...and then apply Psalm 139 to your own heart and look within you.

The stronghold of fear (which manifests itself as panic attacks and the like) involves an idol.  And an idol is anything that becomes our chief focus, directs our behavior, exalts itself above the knowledge of God.

And the only way to get rid of the fear is to destroy the stronghold by demolishing the idol.

5.  Now, to the demolition process.  Once God by His Spirit has revealed to us the idol(s) , we have a choice.  We can deny the truth and continue to live in fear.  Plenty of people do that.  Plenty of people choose the comfort of familiarity and its "benefits" over the joy and freedom that is possible.
If you, however, decide to choose the light instead of the darkness, here is what you can do :
       a.  Confess your sin.  Agree with God that you have allowed the Enemy to occupy your soul through your idolatry.  Name your idol, whatever it is.  Speak aloud the desire to repent of this and to cast off the stronghold of fear.  Admit that you even feel fear to do this!  He already knows; you just need to hear yourself say it.
        b.  In faith, bow your heart to the One True God.  Read aloud verses that proclaim His position such as Nehemiah 9:, 1 Chronicles 29:11, Psalm 95:3-5.  Repeat and repeat and repeat  (It is actually a good idea to make this a daily practice, that of acknowledging Who God Is!)
       c.  Believe in His goodness towards you.  Isaiah 42:3 assures us of His gentle grace towards His frail people - A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.    Rehearse the truths of passages such as Psalm 31:19 and Psalm 116:1-9.  One woman shared so beautifully with me that "Jesus knows our frailties but He loves us too much to leave us in them".  Amen!!
       d.  The Word of God destroys the fortresses of the Enemy and it is the building block for a life unshakeable by fear - Matthew 7:24-27.  And 1 Thessalonians 2:13.
6.  This last point is major.  Critical. Huge.   I urge you not to overlook it.  Often, we think that the opposite of fear is courage.  Or faith.  While those are great attributes to have, that is not what Scripture teaches us is the antidote to fear.  Read carefully what God says to us in 1 John 4:16-21
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.  By this is love perfected (completed/matured) with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected(completed/matured) in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
I have  heard it said that we need to know the love of Christ for us, in order to be freed from fear. I do not disagree at all.  The Apostle Paul expresses this truth in Ephesians 3, where he prays for us to intimately know and experience the height and depth and breadth and length of Christ's love.  Indeed, we need that indelibly imprinted on our souls.
But that is not all that is needed to free us from the stronghold of fear, to give us the freedom to live confidently and joyfully. This passage so very clearly outlines what else is needed.
Not only do we need to know God's love for us, we need also to love God and our brother!
The failure to do so, dear sisters, is what puts us in the place of idolatry.  This is the sin that causes us to value something more than we do God.  Ultimately, it is the sin of pride, of self-exaltation, that conceives, gives birth to, and nourishes the root of idolatry.  Instinctively, we know this.  (Even non believers have a God-given conscience that whispers this to them but we believers are especially aware of our failure, deep in our souls). And this knowledge leads us to condemn ourselves and lose our confidence (re-read the passage from I John to see this clearly).  Not just the failure to love God but also the manifestation of this failure in our lack of love for others is what causes us to respond in all sorts of emotionally handicapping ways, including panic attacks. The presence of love (not just God's love towards us but this passage is particularly dealing with our love towards God and others) gives confidence.  But the lack of love (towards God and therefore others) is what brings fear.  Fear of God's judgment. Which breeds the desire to escape.  We saw this first demonstrated in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve and we see it today in lives all around us.  We just didn't know what caused it.  And now we do. A failure to love leads to a desire to flee.  Unreasonable fear.

Practically, how do we deal with this?  Can we ever expect to live a life of perfect love?

Perfection isn't needed.  What the word translated as "perfected" means is actually mature.  That is a life that is obedient.  Not perfect but mature.  Walking in the Spirit instead of the flesh.
How do we do that?
Regular and consistent confession of sin.  Let the Holy Spirit reveal where we have not walked in love and then confess it.  He is faithful to forgive us of that as well as to cleanse us of all else that we are not even aware of.  (I John 1:9,10).  Without confession and repentance, we cannot walk in the Spirit   And apart from His Spirit, we cannot love Him or others.  And that leaves us open to all sorts of failures and strongholds and snares.
But by His Spirit...oh, by His Spirit, there is peace.  Joy.  Love.  No fear!

Even as I type this, I am overcome by a feeling of might by His power.  I cannot sit by while my sisters are paralyzed by the deceit of the Enemy.  We do not have to be controlled by fear!  And we do not have to depend on hours upon hours of expensive therapy or mind-numbing medication to gain freedom.  What we need is for the Light that shone out of darkenss to shine in our give us the  light of the knowledge of the of the glory of God  and to know that we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves (2 Corinthians 4:6, 7)  And what we need to do is to love others with God's agape love.

Do not settle for a life controlled by fear.  Do not use your anxiety as a tool of manipulation.  Do not let the Enemy remain in a position of influence in your life.  Be willing to repent of idols and begin to walk in love.


Dealing with Panic Attacks - part 2

I had alot of good feedback from the two earlier posts about panic attacks.  Thank you.  So very much.  I am grateful for your input and your encouragement.  And I'm glad to know this is indeed a relevant subject.
If you missed the earlier posts, scroll down and read them -- both are foundational for this one and the next because I will pick up where they left off but I won't recap them here.

Based on my research and interviews, I have some suggestions for what to do when panic strikes, some tips for the "real time" of a panic attack. One authority described a panic attack as "a comprehensive emotional nightmare".  Agreed.  But it's not only emotional.  It's also when your heart pounds and you can't breathe. You might experience dizziness or an inability to catch your breath.  Or symptoms that mimic a heart attack, chest pains, a heaviness in the chest.  Chills, tingling in the hands or feet, sweaty palms, flushed face, twitching muscles, trembling all over.  "Comprehensive" is quite accurate.  You are controlled by there feelings and that is helpless.

1.  The first thing I would share is that courage is not the absence of fear. You do not have to "feel brave" in order to gain victory over feelings of panic and fear.  Courage is rather doing the right thing in spite of how you feel.  So speak that truth to your heart now, when you are  not in the midst of paralyzing panic, and commit to reminding yourself of that truth when you feel suffocated by alarming anxiety.

2.  Because I confidently believe that God's Word is not only Truth but it is also powerful, the next thing I have to offer is what Scripture says in Proverbs 3:25,26

Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught

"Sudden terror" is describing a panic attack.  There are other passages such as Psalm 55:4,5  which recount the symptoms
My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
    and horror overwhelms me

and the next verses illustrate exactly what one longs to do in the midst of such fear:

I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah
I would hurry to find a shelter
    from the raging wind and tempest.”

There is a desperate desire to flee but that won't solve the problem.  Instead, rehearse these steps ahead of time, when you don't feel the raging wind and tempest, a time when the fear is not controlling your thoughts and body. And know that you do not have to fear the fear.  You do not have to be afraid of the panic.

3.  Here are the steps:
  - Admit that, although embarrassing and uncomfortable, panic attacks will not kill you and no single attack will last forever.  All you have to do is endure some difficult moments - you will not die.  And in a relatively short period of time, normalcy will return.
  - Anticipate places of "trigger" and rehearse exactly what you will do when you step into that situation. 
  - Acknowledge the attack for what it is - do not fight it but rather name it and then accept what is happening  It is uncomfortable and undesirable but it is not mysterious.
  -Advance - do not isolate yourself or "flee" thinking you should just "deal with it" until it passes.  Instead, proceed with whatever you are involved in as normally as possible.

 - Alternative attention - distract yourself by talking with whomever is around you (one woman said she chatted intensely with her children about other subjects so she could force her mind to focus elsewhere; another person said she used humor to distract herself)
  -Address the physiological symptoms - when your heart is racing and you feel like you cannot breathe, you most likely feel helpless to control what is happening.  But you are not!  Every single physician and counselor that I consulted assured me (insisted!) that we have amazing abilities to effect changes in our heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory activity by mental disciplines.  Perhaps it sounds cliché, but "mind over matter" is real.  One phrase that was used repetitively was "redirect the circuit" to regain physiological equilibrium.  Things such as breathing deeply and slowly, even breathing into a paper bag, can signal your body to relax and free itself from the panic.

4.  The main thing to do is to commit to these steps, rehearse them, and accept that these tips will work.  Don't let yourself dismiss them or consider yourself an exception.  No one is "so special" that they are exempt from the reality that success is possible.

5.  While "mind over matter" is the key to handling a panic attack, there is much more to address in preventing future ones.  That will be another post.

When Panic Attacks - part 1

Fear has always been around.  Since Adam and Eve hid from God in the garden out of fear, this emotion has been controlling behavior of people everywhere.  If not controlling, then threatening to, and inducing paralysis, guilt, and panic. 

Fear of all sorts of things - heights, public speaking, needles (my personal phobia to address) as well as fear of rejection, loneliness, loss of security, and death.  Even fear itself is frightening.  It is destructive to relationships, careers, and personal growth.  And it is cyclic in that fear often induces more fear, anxiety, and stress.

As followers of Christ, we usually suffer our fears privately, wondering if we are spiritual failures to succumb to the negative feelings that leave us paralyzed emotionally, mentally, and even physically.  We try to address our fears in lots of ways, most of which do not lead to sustained success.  We feel guilty, telling ourselves that we ought not to feel this way. We might try positive thinking or even quoting some Bible verses from time to time.  Or we ignore the fears and try to avoid situations that might trigger those feelings of terror.  Or we convince ourselves that fear is somehow normal and therefore we must just deal with it as best we can, often with medication that at least takes the edge off the panic.  Then we usually lay shame on top of the fear.

And yet, the fears persist. The physical manifestations are indeed real - elevated blood pressure, sweaty palms, acceleration of heart rate, difficulty breathing. So are the emotional symptoms - feelings of helplessness, panic, and despair are brought on by the body's response to fear-induced adrenaline levels.  All too often, those who suffer from fear usually find themselves eventually locked in a battle with depression as well.  It's a natural outgrowth.

So, what do we do?

As I said in the earlier post, I have more to share than can fit into one day's post.  Or even two.  Also, remember that I am not an authority - not a trained counselor nor a physician nor even a panic attack sufferer.  But I have talked with dozens of the aforementioned, I have researched extensively, and, like all humans, I, too, know fears. 
And I want to offer some thoughts over the next few days that I believe can be of help.

For today:

1.  While medication may be able to help with some of the physical and emotional symptoms, it is insufficient to address the root issues of fear.  Those must be dealt with. Two women in different cities told me that every woman in their Bible study (except themselves) were on some type of anti-anxiety medication. That's 10-15 in each group --- surely this should not be the norm! More than one woman told me that it seems "trendy" to be in therapy and/or on medication even among Christians. Pretty much like Starbucks or Pilates,   I find this disturbing. We might find some use of medicines temporarily successful but we must not place our trust in this as our solution.
2.  The root issues of fear are spiritual - fear is grounded in unbelief and we must be willing to examine ourselves to discover the real issues.  And to bring it out into the light and call it what it is.  It is not helpful to hide behind masks of pretense or of defense.  Let's deal in truth, including personal responsibility.
3.   We do not have to be controlled by fear.  While God's will may not always be physical healing, there is not one sliver of doubt in my heart about this - His will for His children is always to walk in peace and joy and victory - not fear. The command "do not fear" appears over 100 times in Scripture and there are over 500 references about fear and exhortations to instead know and trust God.
4.  Since God commands us not to fear and actually to not only trust Him but also to rejoice, then it must be possible to live this way.  Therefore, we can expect that He wants to equip us to overcome our fears and live in joy and peace, controlled by His Spirit instead of our fears.

5.  So the question silly as it may sound....Do you wish to get well?
In the Gospel of John, Jesus asks this very question -
One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”
(John 5:5,6)
Does that strike you as interesting?  I mean, really, here's a man who had been a invalid for 38 years. Of course he would want to be healed!  What's up with that question!!
Well, since Jesus is God, He already knew the answer to the question.  So why did He ask?

Because the invalid needed to know the answer to the question, not Jesus.

Check out his response in verse 7 -
The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.”

At the risk of sounding callous, I want to call it like I see it.  Or like I read it.
This is classic blame shifting and self-pity.  The man sees himself as a victim and claims there is no help available.  He sounds like he's saying "I've tried but it's no use - the deck is stacked against me"

Before we take the poor man to task, let's admit that we can do the same thing.  We can slide into blaming others for our plight or playing the victim card - maybe hoping to either evoke sympathy or avoid personal responsibility.  We can actually get comfortable with our fears, so comfortable that we prefer them to the possibility of change.  Without realizing it, we may even believe there are "benefits" to our fears (Stockholm Syndrome, anyone?)  "Benefits" such as seeking comfort and attention from those around us.  Or a "right" to be relieved of the expectations of others and excused from responsibilities that we really should be accepting.

So. just like Jesus asked that invalid over 2000 years ago, He asks us now - Do you wish to get better?
Because if you do, then He welcomes you to participate in the process.
Just like He did with the man by the pool.

Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.

So, before I share the tips on how to handle your panic attacks and how to deal with the roots and ward off fear successfully, we need to first dig deep and answer the question - Do I wish to get well?
Unless we can truthfully answer affirmatively, we will not be able to participate in the process.  And I seriously doubt that passivity will result in profitable results.

What do you do when it seems overwhelming? Panic Attacks - Introduction

And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest;
 yes, I would wander far away;
    I would lodge in the wilderness

I think every person alive has felt the angst penned in Psalm 55:6,7.  When pressures mount, or sorrows pile up, or demands overwhelm us, there is a soul-cry that bubbles up - "just get me out of here!"

I know the feeling well.  The longing to escape the pressures and troubles that cause pain and angst and sorrow.  The desire for rest and comfort and peace.

I am so grateful for the vulnerable authenticity of the psalmist.  It is great encouragement to know that God deemed it profitable for my training in righteousness (see 2 Timothy 3:16) to include this passage in Scripture.  I urge you to read the entire Psalm; it is very likely that you, too, have felt the need to escape life's unrelenting stresses.  This Psalm might help you process the strain.

Let's have a look at some of it together....

First, let's examine the situation the psalmist is in.  Verses 2-5 describe  what I have had countless folks recount to me as a panic or anxiety attack.  Intense heart rate, restless feelings, gripped by fear, engulfed by sensations of horror and anxiety and despair. Despair even to the point of thinking death would be preferable.  It's all right there in Scripture.  Even though we are tempted to think this malady is a modern phenomenon. 

The next thing I want us to see is the "trigger" of the anxiety.  There are numerous verses that unpack the "source" - 9,12-14, 20-21,  23.  In this instance, the stress is brought on by people,  Specifically, the betrayal from a "friend".  A friend turned enemy.  In other cases, though, the anxiety is induced by circumstances, such as those of Job (Job 3:13, 21:6).  (Even then, however, the feeling of being overwhelmed by horror is exacerbated by the responses of "friends")

And the result is an intense desire to flee.  To get out from under the panic and the stress. To flee to a place of peace, comfort, and an absence of pain.

We can "flee" in different ways.
 Physically.  We can leave the situation that feels unbearable by  creating space between us and the stress.  By severing a relationship.  Or taking a different job.  Or maybe going for a run.
Mentally.  There are mind-numbing options such as alcohol or drugs that allow us to "check out" of stress.  Or we can "fly away" through entertainment or activities that take our mind off the tension.

What can we learn from this psalm that will help us when pressures and panic threaten to be our undoing?  How can we cope victoriously with not only the physical symptoms of anxiety attacks but also their roots? What is the way to successfully respond when the desire to flee overtakes us?

It's too much to put into a single post. In a later post,  I will cover some things I've learned from talking with dozens of counselors, physicians, and panic-attack-sufferers that I think can be of some help.  But for now, I want to leave you with some encouragement.

1.  If you suffer from these attacks, you are not alone.  Not only have I spoken with numerous people (who, by the way, are capable and mature and successful folks) who have dealt with such, here we have in God's Word the very situation that has thousands of people seeking help, even right now.  There is a temptation to feel isolated and desolate in this but that is not accurate.  I Corinthians 10:13 assures that "No temptation (trial/test) has overtaken you but such as is common to man".  It happens to lots of folks, not just you.  And lots and lots of folks have figured out how to win over this so you can, too.

2.  Which leads to the next point - you can win over this.  You do not have to live in fear, controlled by anxiety.  In the next post, I will share with you what I've learned from some experts and some overcomers that I think will help.  There is hope because God is faithful and will not allow you to be tested beyond what you are able but provides the way for you to endure it.  You don't have to run away - you can triumph over it all.

 3. Even though I don't suffer from  full-blown panic attacks as described here in Scripture and in the lives of other folks, I do often have the feeling of desolation and a desire to get out from the pile of pressure I'm under.  Longing for a way to escape, to get away to a place of comfort and relaxation.  I expect that is true of all of us.
Sometimes our life's circumstances enable us to experience some relief.  We might get a vacation or a few hours rest.  Perhaps comfort arrives in the words from a beloved friend or counselor.  A reprieve from financial pressure might appear. Or maybe the situation causing the stress gets resolved satisfactorily.
But what if none of that happens? What if you can't take a vacation or even a few hours away? What if no cavalry shows up at your door offering childcare, a casserole, or consolation?  What if the tension continues to mount and the problems get more complicated?  What if the "worst thing imaginable" happens and we find ourselves in a place we never wanted and can hardly bear?  What then? 
  There is a  "way of escape" that Scripture exhorts.  A way that leads to victory to our heart and brings glory to God.  Because I am firmly convinced that all of Scripture is the inspired Word of God, I know that it is not insignificant that the psalmist uses the words "wings like a dove".  Why not "wings of a sparrow", a fragile, needy sparrow, which is how we feel at those times?  Or "wings like an eagle", a majestic, powerful, eagle, which is what we aspire to?  Why did the Holy Spirit inspire "wings like a dove"?  A dove???
I am surely not a prophet and cannot claim to know the mind of God.  But here is a thought.  The dove is seen not as powerful and capable but rather as innocent and pure. In digging out info about a dove, I learned that doves don't fight back at their attackers nor do they even fly swiftly away to outrun them.  Rather they fly patiently and consistently, not wearying themselves, to a place of hiding from the pursuer.

 Perhaps the psalmist wants to convey the idea of one who is unable to save itself but instead can flee to safety, to refuge, to peace...

 Leave the cities, and dwell in the rock,
    O inhabitants of Moab!
Be like the dove that nests
    in the sides of the mouth of a gorge.

Jeremiah 48:28

When our heart is in anguish and anxiety threatens to reduce us to a puddle, when we feel abandoned or afraid and no help is in sight, we don't have to stay in that state.  I will share some suggestions in a later post- practical helps- about how to handle the immediacy of a panic attack as well as some ways to help prevent further occurrences.  But for now, know that there is help.  Because God's Word is true.  Truer than our circumstances.  Stronger than our feelings.  And bigger than our fears.

Psalm 61:2,3  assures us

from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Wings of a dove that can take us to the Rock that is higher, the strong tower, the refuge...Jesus.