“You cannot always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside.” Wayne Dyer
Since this Coronavirus/Covaid-19 pandemic started in mid-March, I’ve been blessed to work from home and other than an occasional grocery store run, I haven’t actually been out of the house much at all and considering that I take the Shelter In Place directives seriously, I’m not going to be out there aimlessly wandering. But, last week my humidifier stopped working and needed to be replaced. I ordered one online hoping to receive it in a few days and discovered, it had to be picked up in the store. Yikes!! I hadn’t been around people in damn near 7 weeks and now had to leave the comforts of my home to go to Walmart. So equipped with – my face mask, gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizers– I ventured off to Walmart.
As I drove to the store, I found comfort in knowing that all I had to do was to go in, pick up the humidifier and head back home. After arriving, I stood in the growing line outside, on the marked red line distanced 6 ft behind the customer in front of me. The line moved fairly quickly and once in, I sanitize my cart, grabbed the humidifier, picked up a few other items and proceeded to check-out. I managed to find a line with no one in it and unloaded my items on the conveyor belt while reminding the customer behind me of the 6ft rule, thanked the clerk for being an essential worker, and was out of there in 35 stress-filled minutes. YAY!! The trip was successful and had gone as planned. But had it?
When I got home I began feeling like my chest was tightening and experienced shortness of breath. I immediately made some tea and laid down focusing on my breaths. I didn’t know what was happening and was actually a bit scared. As I laid there and gathered my thoughts, I realized I was having an anxiety attack. An anxiety attack? What the hell? I had heard of them but had NEVER experienced one myself. It freaked me out. Eventually, after a couple of hours, my breathing returned to normal and I deduced that the anxiety was probably triggered by the stress of having human interactions coupled with all the stressful preparations necessary just to leave the house-masks, gloves, wipes, etc. The next evening I told my BFF about my Walmart adventure and she confided in me that she had also gone to her local Walmart and had the same exact experience when she returned home. Was it irony? NO!! It’s the reality of our new normal.
Although our panic attack didn’t actually have anything to do with Walmart per se. The shopping experience showed us both how easy it was to give in to these feelings of worry and anxiety. In actuality, our anxiety was attributed to the “stressors” of being around people and having to be vigilant at ALL times to ensure- that others remain 6 ft from us when we’re on the same aisle, in the check-out stand, and while waiting in line. This new-normal will inevitably be stressful for us all. Yet, how do we proceed? We already know about physical protections –washing hands, using sanitizers, wearing a mask, etc. But what precautions should we take to protect us mentally? What precautions can we take to ensure that we don’t succumb to anxiety? We simply FALL BACK ON OUR FAITH!!!!
When I planned my trip to Wal-Mart, I had taken all of the physical precautions but realized that I hadn’t taken any precautions to prepare myself mentally. But how? What was I supposed to do? How could I have prepared? Then it dawned on me, all I needed to do was to simply remember 3 of HIS Instructions: 1) To not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7); 2) To”Cast all your anxiety on HIM because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7); and 3) To understand that “anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” (Proverbs 12:25). If we follow HIS instructions, we can then FALL BACK ON OUR FAITH!!!!
Indeed, these past few months have been tough ones and people everywhere are looking for hope and encouragement in the midst of worry and anxiety. So the next time you leave the house, remember that our HOPE is in a Savior that cares for us and WHO wants us to replace our fear by placing our faith in HIM. As we adjust to this new-normal, know when we go out into the world, we are empowered by HIS assurances and all we need to do is just RELAX and FALL BACK ON OUR FAITH!!!!
SHIP TALK: Have you experienced anxiety because of the Virus? Did you have anxiety attacks before? How are you handling anxiety?
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