As a teen, I struggled with separation anxiety quite a bit. The feeling was quite overwhelming. I would break out into a sweat, mutter to myself, get extremely nervous and panicked feeling.
I was not medically diagnosed, because it was a spiritual problem.
See, I was afraid of being separated from God for all eternity.
I am not making light of people who suffer. I was really petrified. My fear was real and almost crushing at times.
It started the week I gave my life to Christ. I was 13 and not versed in Biblical knowledge. Being the inquisitive type, I made the mistake of asking my assistant pastor, "What happens if I sin, now that I am a Christian?"
Instead of using wisdom and pointing me to Scriptures on confession, repentance, and so forth, this man told me I would lose my salvation!
That pastor did not qualify or expand on his comment....EVER!
Thus began my long nightmare.
Because, of course, I made mistakes and committed sin AFTER I became a Christian. With no one to offer wise counsel and being spiritually immature, I would "get saved" over and over and over, week in and week out. I was in bondage to fear.
This continued for YEARS! I would "rededicate" my life to the Lord whenever I heard an altar call. I would say the sinners prayer every time I turned around.
I was battling in my mind to the point where I began to suffer physical manifestations of stress!
A breaking point came when I literally was forced into bed. I was in such pain I could hardly move. The Lord offered relief through a well spoken word. I was asked by my Mom if I was dealing with anything spiritual. I admitted my doubts and fears. She left the room and I literally slid to the floor and truly repented. Except this time, I knew what I was repenting of and for: fear and doubt!
I would love to say the problem instantly stopped. It didn't. However, the Lord led me into His Word where I read a few Scriptures that became very important to me in the battle:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? (Romans 8:35)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Today, free from this fear, I realize how important it is to use Godly wisdom when answering questions about faith. I think the best answer is always to encourage the person to go back to the Word themselves!