Rebekah Lyons headed to New York looking for meaning. She likened the journey to going off to college when she was 18, only this time, she was traveling with her husband, three kids, two toy poodles, and a minivan.
Her days in suburban Atlanta, filled with trips to Target and Chick-Fil-A playgrounds, weren't satisfying her desire to engage with culture. Inspired by various speakers at Q Conferences and pastor Jon Tyson of Trinity Grace church in New York City, she and her husband, Gabe, were eager to leave the suburbs and make their faith relevant to artists, musicians, academics, government officials, and high fashion representatives in the city.
What she found there was a cesspool of stress, anxiety, and crippling fear.
"Everything in me said, I want to run back to Atlanta, I want to run back to safety," Rebekah said. "I'd rather live with an empty longing and not be crushed by panic, I thought to myself."
Panic attacks would strike on airplanes, in elevators, and subways, and often kept her from carrying out everyday tasks.
"I'd always managed my life so well, but when you can't breathe in and out without help, that's no longer possible," Rebekah said.
One of millions suffering from anxiety in America, here's what Rebekah had to say about tackling fear and anxiety head-on.
How did you find a way out of that season of panic and anxiety?
My husband Gabe knew God needed to meet me in my moments of desperation. He was always present and prayerful, but also gave me space to hurt and to cry out to God. Prayer without ceasing has also taken on such new meaning for me. I was more desperate in my prayers than in the 30 years I'd called myself a Christian. Anxiety is fear, and that's not what God orders.1