My Lessons From a Panic Attack

Zechariah Newman —  October 27, 2016 — 6 Comments

Entrepreneurs are go-getters, by nature we work hard to accomplish the vision that is in our heads. We push past pain and discomfort, learn to delay gratification, and many times put ourselves last.

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Photo by: KCNewman Photography

I run two restaurants, groups director at my church over 42 groups, speaker, writer, husband, father, son of God, and oh yeah I am also Zech Newman. You see a lot of times the last thing I acknowledge is myself.  I have been pouring from an empty cup for a while now and Tuesday I suffered through a full on panic attack. Trying to catch my breath was impossible and if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I had a heart attack. My health has deteriorated, and my blood pressure is at its highest. I put health as the least priority, and it’s caught up with me.

Guilt has been my motivator for far too long. Guilty about which vocation is getting the least of me. Guilty about not giving my wife enough one on one time or guilt about not spending enough time with my kids. Either all in at work and skimpy at home or all in at home and skimpy at work. I go back and forth missing the beauty of today and exchanging it for guilt. Constantly being stretched starring into the mirror at the bloodshot eyes wondering why I can’t get it right.

Times on my blog that I sound like I have it figured out I am sorry. The truth is I am a man trying my best and failing forward a lot. Life’s busyness gets the best of me just like I know it does for you. You are not the only one who struggles with balance, priority, patience, and gratitude. You are not alone in your struggle with impatience, anger, and depression. You are not alone in dropping more balls then you successfully juggle.

At the root of it all is a shift of perception that we all need in identity and goals.

*These ideas I read from Victory Over The Darkness by Neil T Anderson

Identity: You are a son or daughter of the King. You are righteous because of what He did not because of anything you will ever do. God looks at you the same when you sin as when you don’t. You are saved because you believe not because you behave. There has been and never will be anything that will make you more qualified to be His or less qualified. Walk out your identity instead of trying to earn it!

Goals:

Success is accepting God’s goal for our lives and by His grace becoming what He has called us to be.

Significance is what we do and say for Christ in this world, no matter how insignificant it seems it will last forever.

Fulfillment is edifying others and glorifying the Lord with my uniqueness.

Satisfaction is living righteously and seeking to raise the level of quality in relationships, service, and product.

Happiness is wanting what you have.

Fun is uninhibited spontaneity and unconcerned about what people think.

Security is relating to the eternal instead of a temporal mindset.

Peace is establishing internal order.

I don’t know about you, but my goals didn’t look like that, and my concern about performance and what others think was robbing me of peace. I was killing myself to meet unspoken expectations that I had made up in my own mind. I am recommitting myself to living from priority and letting the chips fall where they may. Coming from success and significance. Because in God’s eyes, I am His. I will live out the priority of God, health, husband, father, and last vocation. Will you join me? Be blessed on your journey.

Have you had a panic attack?

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  • Zech, thanks for this honest and authentic post. I love you insight about wanting what you already have. Praying for you, my friend!

    • Thanks Kent. I think it was harder to write about since it’s not “fixed.”

  • Fly Fisher

    Zech, last week you were gracious to meet with me to discuss small groups. I now realize, more than I did then, how precious your time is. And how very fortunate I was to meet you for the first time and to gain from your experiences with small groups. Through your words and encouragement, my enthusiasm to pursue small groups at my church in Arizona is bounding! I can’t wait to get back.

    After reading your post, my heart goes out to you to deal with all the demands of your life. Your talent and compassion obviously pushes you in many directions. All I can say to help is to prioritize where your time goes. I think you must let some things go, develop disciples to drive others and focus your energy. Only you and God will be able to sort that out. I am praying for you, Zech. I feel blessed to have you as a friend. Jerry Thomas

    • Thanks Jerry. It was great meeting with you. Enjoy your trip back to AZ. Keep in touch!

  • “Pouring from an empty cup” is so descriptively painful to read. So important to fill up your cup first. As Stephen Covey shared so well, we can’t get so busy driving that we never stop to fill up the gas tank.

    Prayed for you just now, my friend.

    • Thanks my friend! Got a crash course on what Covey is talking about.