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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)

TITLE: Be Anxious For Nothing
By Joshua Janoski


“I can’t go in dad. I just can’t do it.”

Those were my words as I sat in the passenger’s seat of the car. The vehicle was parked just outside of my school. My dad sat in the driver’s seat waiting for me to go inside. I hung my head as low as possible, hoping that none of my classmates would see me sobbing as they passed by. After all, I was a thirteen-year-old boy, and I shouldn’t be crying like a little girl.

Scenes like this had become all too frequent for me. It all started happening when I entered seventh grade - emotional feelings of fear and dread overtook me in the mornings and were accompanied with physical symptoms of hyperventilating, dry mouth, and shakiness. It wasn’t that I didn’t like school; in fact, I loved it at one point. Even with my struggles, I managed to maintain a 3.5 GPA. I couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of my fears, and yet something was keeping me in bondage.

“I hate making you go in, but the law requires you to go to school. I don’t see any other options,” my dad said as he tried to coax me out of the car. Normally, I would force myself to go into my classrooms, but today was particularly hard. My dad finally gave up and took me back home.

A meeting was arranged with the teachers and authorities at the school to explain my struggles. “Panic attacks”, “anxiety”, these were terms that my teachers and principal did not understand. In their eyes, I was just a clever kid who had found a way to manipulate my parents into letting me stay home from school. Only the school counselor, Mr. Williams understood my pain. He too had suffered with panic and anxiety problems as a kid. Aside from my parents, he was my only other advocate.

Mr. Williams helped convince the principal to allow me to attend school only half of the day. I went in at noon and then spent time at home after school catching up on my assignments. I also began counseling sessions. These special arrangements helped me for a while, but then the symptoms began to hit me again.

“Why am I going through this God?” I would pray daily. I just couldn’t figure out why I was experiencing such difficulties.

A family friend asked my parents if they had considered home schooling me. My mom didn’t feel like she was capable of being able to teach me, and so it hadn’t previously been an option. However, my physical and mental conditions were not getting any better, and so my parents pulled me out of public school.

I spent the rest of my middle school years, as well as all four of my high school years, at home. I was angry with God. I felt like he had abandoned me.

“I am a failure,” I would think to myself every day, as I was getting out of bed. “My dreams are ruined.”

I wanted a successful career. How was I going to get that being at home? I wanted friendships and social interaction, but I couldn’t even handle the social aspects of public school.
It finally came time for me to graduate high school. By this time, I had calmed down and gained some control over my emotions. It had been a long time since I had a panic attack.

I was excited about my first week of college, and the thought of furthering my education gave me a renewed feeling of hope - until the anxiety began to build up inside me again.

I started to feel the same terror that had gripped me five years earlier. Thoughts of quitting college began to fill my head. I was ready to retreat into my comfortable shell at home, never to be seen again by the general public. It was at this time, that I began to hear a voice whisper to me.

“Remember seventh grade? Will you keep on running from this demon? Or will you allow me to help you overcome it once and for all?”

It was at this moment that I realized that the difficulties I had faced as a teenager were now helping me avoid ruining my life as an adult. I wasn’t going to repeat the mistakes of the past. I was going to get that Bachelor’s Degree…

And in May of 2006, I did get it. Praise the Lord!

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This article has been read 873 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patrick Whalen03/06/08
Congratulations! What an encouraging story. This brought back many memories of my own schooltime struggles..although I had to laugh when you mentioned your GPA in 7th grade. I don't even know what mine was when I graduated! :) Welcome to the working world.
Cori Mann03/07/08
Excellent testimony of your struggle with anxiety in your youth! I can understand the battle you faced at that time in your life. My daughter experienced the same thing---I homeschooled her for a season---now she is back at school and doing well. I think she gained similar strength as you have and has chosen to not allow it to ruin her adult life.
I was also plagued with anxiety attacks for years.
Well written--I can see the silver lining at the end of your story as you carry on in the face of anxiety and fear. Great job!
Nancy Quinn03/07/08
Well done! And a wonderful testimony for others to show God's grace and strength when we reach out to Him! God bless! :)
Mandy White03/07/08
Thank you for sharing this. The scripture that you took your title from was one that I clung to for a long time. I'm sure many of us can relate.
Shirley McClay 03/10/08
Eesh..I had the same times of sobbing outside my school while sitting in the car with my mom! Nicley written.. and congrats on your degree!
Jan Ackerson 03/10/08
A moving testimony--thank you for sharing it.

When addressing someone in dialogue, use a comma to set apart their name. For example, "I can't go in, dad" and "Why am I going through this, God?"

I know a few people with similar panic issues--this will be inspiring to them.
Laury Hubrich 03/10/08
Thank you so much for sharing this piece. You did a nice job writing it. I'm sure it is very common. Keep up the good work.
LauraLee Shaw03/11/08
What a moving testimony. So authentic and real, yet well-written to take the reader along with you.
Few minor things: When writing an interjection that substitutes a person's name, it should be capitalized. For instance, "I can't go in, Dad." When you say "my dad," it is not capitalized because you wouldn't say "my Bob." But when you could say, "I can't go in, Bob," there you would capitalize Dad. Make sense? Also, commas and periods always come before quotation marks, at least in U.S...
I was struck by your personal experience and how you used it to learn, as well as your parents love for you to home school you when they didn't feel qualified. God really did His work in all of your midsts. :)
Henry Clemmons03/11/08
Excellent lesson. I found it a little bit wordy, but your heart and soul shined through and really ministered your mesage.
Seema Bagai 03/11/08
A good story. I'm sure many people will be able to relate to this experience. Hopefully they will be able to hope for their own "silver lining" ending.
Karen Wilber03/11/08
I can relate, brother. Boy could we talk. This personal account had to be tough to write. I pray that God will use your testimony and experiences to help others. And He will. Trust me.
Celeste Ammirata03/11/08
Wow. There are so many out there who can relate. Good for you for listending to God's wisdom. And for graduating. What a wonderful testimony. God Bless.

Debbie Wistrom03/11/08
So glad you can now claim the title of this entry. This tooks guts, so glad you ventured forth. keep up the good words.
Betty Castleberry03/11/08
You are brave to share this. It is touching, not to mention well written. Thumbs up.
Lyn Churchyard03/11/08
You have captured the feelings of fear that teens can feel when going into high school, there is so much pressure on them, and it can seem like an insurmountable problem.

I'm so glad your father understood, and that later on, the Lord, reminded you that you will get through with HIS help. Wonderful story, well done! :)
Chely Roach03/12/08
Incredible testimony Josh. Panic attacks are horrific, I watched my mom suffer terribly with them. Praise God that you accepted His help.
Bill Obenauer03/12/08
Nice piece. It's funny, every adolescent goes through at least one trial where they feel like they're all alone. If more people could share like you did, that might not be the case.
Sara Harricharan 03/12/08
So much emotion here. You did great with describing the feelings of anxiety and all that strikes when we least want it to. I'm glad that there was a happy ending though. That's the best kind of silver lining. ^_^
Sherry Castelluccio 03/12/08
What a terrible condition to have as a child! I'm so glad you were able to overcome it and get your degree! That is a testament to your perseverence. Fascinating story. You had me glued all the way to the end. Well done!
Lauryn Abbott03/12/08
What a great entry. Thank you for sharing your testimony. Congrats on overcoming such a crippling emotional condition. This is another wonderful example of both God's goodnes and faithfulness. Way to go!
Joanne Sher 03/12/08
A very encouraging story - I hope that some day you will share "the rest" of the story. I wish you'd had more words to share some of how God led you through those years in college. What an accomplishment, Josh.
Patty Wysong03/12/08
God is so good! Not only did He use that time in your life, He'll use your testimony now to help others as they struggle along the same path. Reach out to them and let your light shine. :)
D. Phenes03/12/08
Thanks for sharing such a personal story and for seeing the silver lining to encourage others.
Sheri Gordon03/12/08
Very good story, and good writing. I am glad you mentioned the demons--that is definitely what held me in bondage to panic attacks, too. Thank you for sharing this very personal story.
Sharlyn Guthrie03/12/08
Thanks for sharing this very personal, painful story. Works well for the topic and is very encouraging.
Tessy Fuller03/15/08
I really liked the happy ending to the story and how fear was conquered.
Amy Michelle Wiley 03/16/08
I have struggled with anxiety in the past, also, and I too, found that God used it later in my life. Good story. Thanks for the comment on my challenge story, Knock of Death, also.
julie clark08/25/08
a really good artical my heart went out to you i had a nervous brakdown with panic attacks and agraphobia but the lord helped mer through when most of my family didnt understand and just told me to either sink or swim it was a very lonely and worrying time
glad you conqured it
god bless
Rita Garcia08/13/09
Much wisdom, moving us to know that God will take us beyond the place our fears. Praise God! Great story!