A couple of weeks ago, we had a pretty severe gas shortage here in Atlanta. Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Ike each made landfall in the Louisiana and Texas area and forced shutdowns of gas refineries. A couple days later, word began to spread around town that gas supplies might get low and the people of Atlanta did what they do best. Freak out. This is, after all, the town that clears out the bread and milk aisles at the grocery stores when one snowflake hits the ground. It wasn’t long before lines formed at gas stations 30, 40, and even more cars deep.

Now, I was determined not to participate in this. I was determined to wait it out and hold out until the shortage ended. I thought the shortage might last days, however it turned out lasting weeks. The funny part is even though I had nowhere to go, I still felt a lot of anxiety about the shortage. I had a car with a tank full of gas. I could make 100 trips to the grocery store and back before needing a fillup, so we were in no danger of starving or running out of supplies for the kids. I was telecommuting from home, so I didn’t have any need to buy gas to drive to work. Yet, the fear that I would be stranded (and I guess I was, by choice) was paralyzing. I found myself checking newsites every couple minutes, hoping to find some encouraging news that things would end soon. Of course, the newsites only fed my fear, there were no answers to be found immediately. So, for a full two weeks, for no good reason, I was gripped with anxiety.

I learned a lot about myself during that time. I talk a lot about “trusting God and depending on him only”, but when it comes down to it, I’m not very good at it. When my life as I know it is threatened, I don’t take it as well I should. I’d like to think I didn’t make a total fool of myself (I wasn’t swinging punches or yelling at people at the gas pump), but still, I think I could’ve have been a little calmer and trusted that God is going to take care of me and my family.

Now that the shortage is over, the news has moved on to more anxiety filled events. I knew the election would be all about fear as each political party told us what awful things would happen if their opponent was elected. Now, we have the daily update of dread about the economy to pile on top of it. It’s good to keep up on current events, but I must never forget, there is always another impending disaster to report. I can’t forget there’s only one place to find Good News.

1 thought on “Anxiety

  1. Jeff, thanks for the reminder. While we haven’t had gas shortages here in Iowa, I had a similarly-anxious day back 10 days ago or so re: the economy. I had no real reason to be anxious, yet the whole day I was on edge, had trouble focusing. It took a bit to realize what I was doing, and to force myself to stop and turn it over to God.

    I once heard someone describe worrying as “trying to make yourself responsible for things you have no responsibility for”, and that’s helped my thinking often enough. If I can do something about it, I’ll do it. If I can’t, no sense stressing about it. (As Becky will tell you, though, sometimes that works well for me… and other times, not so well. Still learning.)

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