Signs that you may have Phone Anxiety Disorder (PAD)
Before and after calls do you…
- feel extremely anxious when making or receiving calls?
- delay making phone calls due to anxiety?
- worry about bothering the other person?
- worry about what you will say?
- worry about embarrassing yourself?
- avoid making calls or have others call for you?
- obsess what was said after calls?
Do you want to know something almost-but-not-actually-funny? I thought I was being witty by creating the term ‘Phone Anxiety Disorder’ until I googled it and it came up and I could relate to ALL the symptoms! I’m sure if my Mother reads this she will roll her eyes, laugh and ask me ‘is there anything you are not afraid of?’ Truth be told, I had always been a bit nervous when making calls, even when I was much younger. I don’t know what it was about speaking to people over the phone that filled me with dread. Face-to-face interactions were a piece of cake but even having to telephone a doctor to book an appointment could easily cause me to break into a hot sweat. My heart would beat faster, I would stutter and I would feel embarrassed without (in hindsight) any real cause.
A few weeks ago I shared about what I learnt after I got my heartbroken and I mentioned that the first time I got my heart broken, I was 17. During that dark time, I stopped speaking to a lot of people – I had two friends who I spoke to every day and everyone else was unintentionally demoted to associate status. As aforementioned, I had always been uncomfortable on the phone but now there was a dark cloud lingering above me which made sure that all phone conversations were avoided. I could text you, that was fine! But a call? No, that was out of the question. I watched my phone ring day after day until eventually people stopped calling – which was a blessing. No longer did I have to dodge calls; it was as though there was an unspoken agreement between my friends and I that I just wasn’t a ‘phone person’ anymore. Yes, it caused problems with one of my two friends (lol) but it was something I was adamant about: I didn’t want to be called unless there was an emergency. Even when making new friends, I would let them know that calls would probably never be feature of our friendship, this was merely one of my quirks and that they needed to accept it if we were to function.
Calls made me fearful. Calls made me nervous. Calls made me uncomfortable and to be quite frank, I just wanted to be left alone.
I want to say that as soon as the heartache season passed, I suddenly became phone-friendly and confident, able to speak on the phone at will. Unfortunately, even though my depression passed, the fear of calls stayed. Obviously as the years passed, it was more of a preference than a fear but it was still a niggling obstacle that needed to be conquered. Thankfully, life managed to forced me out of my comfort zone and even though I still roll my eyes at calls, I am no longer filled with fear, only curiosity. If I don’t pick up, it’s because I genuinely have no desire to speak to you.
Earlier this week I received a call from a number that wasn’t stored on my phone and in times past, I would have intentionally missed the call because of my PAD. This time, I picked up and engaged with the person (WIN, WIN, WIN). After the call, I began to think about the way that God calls us and how these are the most important calls we will ever receive. It doesn’t just come once, it comes over and over again until we sit and listen; he calls until we pick up. That’s what I love about God, he’s not a whoops-soz-you- missed-the-call-therefore-you-missed-me-and-your-blessing- kinda-God, he is an I-love-you-so-much-I-am-going-to-keep calling-you and keep putting you in situations where you have to do that Thing you do so effortlessly until you realise that this is your gift to your world.
I know it’s not cool to say God ‘calls’ us in the day and age. It’s totally cool and quirky to believe in a ‘higher power’, ‘the universe’ and different types of ‘energy’, but belief that there is a God that can call each and every one of us is often met with raised eyebrows and suggestions of a psychiatrist. But I do believe that God has tasks for each of us to complete during our time on earth which he makes known to us through various moments which are all linked to an overarching purpose that he has for our lives.
Before your insecurities and disbelief (boredom?) make you click the X on the top right hand corner, let me give you some truths:
You are important. You are significant. You matter. No, you weren’t an accident. You make up piece of the puzzle that has been in the works since the beginning of time. Life can make us feel like we don’t have a place, like we don’t fit but that couldn’t be further from the truth. People will also attempt to diminish our bright light that shines from within – don’t let them. You have an incredible part to play. You can be used. And I know being used has negative connotations in our world, but what an honour it is to be used by the Most High God. When I am used by God to do his work, I am never cast aside or left empty and broken because he has taken everything and left me to recover on my own. Instead of the brokenness that is often felt after humans have used me, there is an overwhelming sense of peace and purpose as I begin to see more and more the power that lies within me to achieve greatness.
Unlike some of my fellow Christians, I do not think there will always be disastrous consequences when we miss a call from God. It’s like if we missed the call of friend who had a spare ticket to the Beyonce concert (God forbid I ever miss such a call). It could have been amazing; we could have met her, sang into her microphone and sat up in V.I.P drinking that sweet juice all night but what ‘could have been’ will always be a mystery. I think it’s a bit like that with God. He wants to use you; he is always calling you to do great and marvellous things but if you don’t pick and respond, he’s not going to make a car hit you on your way home from the place you chose to go to instead. You just won’t have experienced one of the amazing moments God has for you. Yes, there will be others. But that one? That moment with Beyonce on stage? Yeah, it’s gone.
I want to experience every single moment God has for me. The Bible says that we can taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). I want to taste! I want to see the goodness of the Lord while I am alive (Psalm 27:13). So often it gets hard seeing other people walk in their calling while we are barely managing to stand in ours but God could be calling you in this very moment:
Calling you to begin a relationship with him
Calling you to recommit
Calling you to give him more of your time
Calling you to forgive someone
Calling you to write, to sing, to help, to serve, to lead
The call may seem bigger than you and anything you could ever accomplish on your own but that’s okay – it isn’t bigger than God. You have to pick up. Don’t be crazy like me and ignore calls because you are full of anxiety and don’t cover your light with that blanket called Fear. Step up to the call and be bold knowing that God will only call you to a place where he already is.
I still don’t like calls. I don’t like texts and these days I even forget that I have Whatsapp but I’ve stopped ignoring God’s calls. Those are calls I cannot afford to miss.
Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you.