In my last blog I had just heard of Master’s Media from my brother during Christmas time of my senior year.
Lloyd Zeigler who was the leader at the Phoenix First Master’s Commission had decided to start another ministry in Dallas, Texas and my brother had moved there with him. He said, “Listen Zach, there is something coming up this February, (about two months away) and it’s called “The Mix”. Kids from all around the country come to Dallas and spend two or three days at the Master’s Commission there. You will have a compact, fast taste of Master’s Commission that will give you the chance to see if this is something you really would like to do.”
That sounded like a blast, but there was a problem, a HUGE problem. I would be going to Texas by myself; in an airplane by myself. That was a BIG problem for me.
You see, God had allowed me to be launched into a spiritual prison of fear for three months that drew me closer to the Lord than EVER before. (You can read of this is previous blogs) But, there were still things that could trigger hard core spiritual panic attacks in my life where I would leave all reality. The world would be gone for those moments; nothing anybody would do or say could get me back. But at least I had finally figured out that the trick to getting back to reality was the Word of God.
The thought of leaving home had always brought me high anxiety. Not because of being away from my “Mommy and Daddy”. This was always about not being around the things that I knew. Not knowing the surroundings and all new people that were not familiar to me would launch me into a panic attack.
But almost immediately, I said, “Yes! Let’s do it! “ I would be going to Dallas to see what it was that God was telling me to do. I wasn’t nervous or anything! I knew God would see me through! I remember the whole month of January went by and this trip constantly being in my mind; forever in my mind. I was counting down the days for when I would be going several states away and be in an airplane by myself and be away from my home for three days, around people I didn’t know. But, I was also rejoicing in the fact that the entire month of January had gone by and I didn’t have one ounce or fear of panic. I was feeling good about it.
Through the whole month of February until the day we were going to the airport to get on the plane…not an ounce of fear. I woke up in the morning the day of, to get on that plane, and I didn’t feel any anxiety. I was like, “Oh my goodness this is awesome! Am I actually going to be able to get on a plane and not get panicky or have fear? “
I lived in a town called Decatur, Illinois and we had to travel to a town called Springfield, Illinois for my flight into Dallas, Texas. My Mom, my sister and I drove the hour into Springfield. Once we got there we decided to go to Arby’s for lunch. I was sitting on one side of the bench and my Mom and sister were sitting on the other side. I remember that before I had left home my sweet grandmother had given me a couple of her Xanax just in case I had a panic attack.
I was doing really well. Everything was fine. I was very on edge but I could carry on a conversation. I was VERY alert and rather bug eyed and was trying with everything in me to stay so focused so that I didn’t have a panic attack. It struck me that I probably looked like a paranoid weirdo. I was optimistically but frantically saying to my mom and sister, “This is gonna be great. This is gonna be fine!” I remember sitting at that bench and then… I felt it. The darkness was coming and I could see my Mom and sister kind of pulling and fading away from me.
I understand that everyone experiences things differently. When I have a panic attack, everything goes down a dark, black tunnel and I will suddenly find that I am in the world by myself. I started to see my Mom and sister go down that tunnel and I felt the panic begin to enclose me. I rattled off to my Mom, “Give me the keys, give me the keys… Mom… Mom…Mom!! Please give me the keys! I need a Xanax! I need to get one of grandma’s Xanax! I’m having a panic attack!”
My Mother grabbed me and said, “Zach, Zach…you can do this, you’re ok. You can do this!” Her calm voice did get through and suddenly, it was like they came back to me. I could see and hear them though the feelings deep inside were far from over. My heart was beating so fast… I was trying to breathe actually and I was so, so scared! ‘What if this happened on the plane??!’ My Mom and sister just kept reassuring me that “I was fine; I was going to be ok”. I sat there for a few moments and everything seemed to be getting a little better.
And then… Out of absolutely nowhere, the panic attack hit. Once again, my Mom and sister go down the tunnel into the black hole and I am in a world by myself. The keys were on the table and I just grabbed them. I remember running out to the car. I swallowed the Xanax. But, I was so overcome with panic and anxiety that I quickly became sick and vomited in the parking lot. I had taken my two xanax, I knew that I had no more. I was terrified. My Mom and sister had run out yelling if I was ok… but I wasn’t at all. I couldn’t leave! I couldn’t leave on a plane and go to another state! But there was something so deep within me that was saying you HAVE to go! You have to go; you HAVE TO GO! “What if this happens to me on the plane?? You don’t understand… they will think I am crazy! They will land the plane! I’ll be on FOX news! I can’t do this!”
My Mom is a very wise woman and suggested that we just drive around a bit so I could figure things out. We drove to a Walmart parking lot. They were so calm, speaking to me with comfort. They were calm, but I was in darkness and drowning in fear. Everything inside of my mind and body was pushing me, telling me that I HAD to get on that plane! I Literally felt as if God was telling me that if I didn’t get on the plane and go to Texas that somehow my life was going to be altered, that somehow my calling would be altered. I was fighting the darkness. Somehow, I had to find the light.
I think that you probably know that the enemy understands where God wants you to be. How many times have you had to do battle when the Lord was guiding you to His purpose? I was absolutely doing battle, but I was not alone. One thing is CERTAIN…you are never fighting the enemy without God being right beside you! I had to have faith in that…I had to try very hard to find that light in the dark. I had to get myself out of the tunnel.