Tornado Tuesdays. That would have been a good thing to know about when I first moved to Chicago after my husband and I were first married. Apparently, every Tuesday morning at 10am they tested the tornado warning system at the hospital facility I worked next to. To say that crazy panic filled my heart would be an understatement my first Tuesday at work.
I remember running into the building from the parking lot thinking we were all about to be blown away to find that everyone was acting quite normally inside. My co-workers all laughed at me. I did tell them that if there was a real tornado they’d most likely find me under a desk since I’d grown up in the Los Angeles area where we had regular earthquake drills in our schools. We were trained to get under our desks or into doorways if an earthquake happened.
Emergency preparedness. Tornados, earthquakes…lions, tigers, and bears, OH MY!
The problem is that I struggle with anxiety. I have this deep fear that I won’t be prepared in an emergency situation. I guess you can call me a “worst case scenario momma.” I feel like I’m always assessing situations and trying to figure out how I could protect my kids if something crazy might happen.
As Pollyanna as I am about most things, I still struggle deeply with mommy fear. If we are at the park I literally come up with game plans for all the possible things that could go wrong. I’m almost embarrassed to share all the “what if’s” that my mind comes up. Maybe I have seen too many news reports, heard one too many scary tales from friends (like when a man showed up at a park with a gun and was threatening to kill himself), or just been near to people who have had tragic things happen. I take that information, put myself in the situation, and formulate my plan.
The root of all my weird obsessing is fear. I know we live in a fallen world. I know that death, disease, and tragedy are sometimes just part of life. Yet, somehow I try to convince myself that if I worry enough I’ll somehow be better prepared.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
–Matthew 6:34 NIV
Recently, a friend of mine passed away in one of my “worst case scenario” situations. She and her husband, along with two of their four kids, were killed in a house fire. I’d just been talking with her a bit earlier that very night. In fact, I saw I had a message from her and was about to check it when I got a text that she had died. It was almost more than my mind could process.
Beyond my sorrow, I could feel all of my anxieties creeping in. Since I’ve struggled with mommy fear and anxiety for so long I know that there is really only one thing that I can do:
Immerse myself in God’s Word!
I know that God doesn’t want me to stay stuck in my fear. In fact, I know that the enemy tries to take advantage of times like this. He tries to remind me of all the worst case scenarios and get me to stop trusting God.
One little trick I’ve learned through the years is keep verses handy for when I feel anxiety start to set in. I write them out on index cards and carry them around with me. Here’s a few of my favorites.