He Answered And Set Me Joyfully Free

I took my anguish to the Lord, and he answered me by setting me free. ~Psalm 118.5 NIV

Anguish is defined as ‘severe mental or physical pain or suffering.’ As a verb it is described as being ‘extremely distressed about something.’

About five years ago, I took a job that I was so unqualified for. It would require me to stretch out of my comfort zone more than I ever had in thirty years in the corporate world. That first year was so hard.

I was so scared to fail, so scared to even ask questions that would expose my ineptness. Every day my stress increased. Every night I prayed for release. Every day I returned to the job with the same fear. By the end of that year I was a mess. I had gained weight (which I could ill-afford). I was depressed (absolutely new to me!). My marriage and family took a hit.

My physical body was suffering, my moods were suffering, my emotions were aching, held heavy and close to the surface.

Anguish consumed me.

I was sore afraid. Sorely, painfully.

I know that many of you have shared in this kind of experience, or may even be caught in its clutches right now. I know what you are feeling, what you are trying to accomplish with every breath of your prayers. I know. I’ve been there.

Then one night, after a year of this ‘extreme distress’, in a hotel far from home on a business trip that I flailed my way through, I got on my knees and said these words: ‘Lord, help me to fail at this so I can get some relief. I just can’t do this anymore.’

I stopped praying for Him to fix things, to fix me so I could succeed. I stopped asking Him to help me be more confident, more competent. I stopped asking Him for things that were not the real problem.

The truth was that I was terrified to fail. My whole career had been spent managing my image, manipulating career paths to keep me on the path, not always to success, but always to at least a non-failure that I could take personal pride in.

When I finally took the real issue, THAT real anguish, to Him, ‘he answered me by setting me free.’

The next day, I talked it through with my manager. We worked on a plan that enabled me to work it all out and I took a hit on my bonus $$s that year. I had finally failed. And I was so relieved.

I learned a valuable lesson: the situation is not the fear. The issue is not the fear. The fear is in us and He came to set us free from the FEAR in us, not necessarily the situation.

I went through the ensuing months, as my confidence returned, with a joy that I had rarely experienced before. I was rejoicing even as I was paying the consequences. I was joyful in spite of what the world saw as failure.

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. ~John 14.10-11

Obedience doesn’t take us away from our fear. It doesn’t. It takes us right through it. Because we obey, take His hand, and walk through it with Him, we become free to rejoice.

In God’s eyes I had won. That night in the hotel room on my knees, I had won. I won because I trusted Him, finally, with a fear that had ruled my life for decades. I won because He took it and I allowed HIm to teach me with it. I won because we crashed right through what I was most scared of.

I took my anguish to God. He heard me. He answered me. He set me free.

And He will set you free, too.

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Karchner
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  1. Susan Mcmillan on March 6, 2017 at 8:59 AM

    Thank you Diana. Ladies, you have no idea how much you are holding my hand through your encouragement and daily pointing me again to what matters… Christ! And boy do I need it. ?

    • Diane Karchner on March 6, 2017 at 3:01 PM

      Susan – thanks for stopping by and giving us your time. We ALL need daily encouragement, and your note encouraged all of us to keep on sharing our words with you!!

  2. Diane Taranntini on March 7, 2017 at 6:13 PM

    Wow, Diane! This sounds harrowing! It’s amazing how far, how deep into discomfort we’ll let ourselves get before asking for God’s help. I’m very glad you “cried out!” Great story!

    • Diane Karchner on March 8, 2017 at 9:53 AM

      Thanks, Diane. As I was writing, I was saying the same thing to myself…why did i WAIT so long? Ah, the slow learnings of a prideful woman!

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