Well, to be more exact, the process of getting to fly gives me anxiety. I love the lift off, the cruising through the air, the view from the window, and the sudden stop when we land on the ground. None of those things causes my palms to sweat or heart to race.
What gets me is the part where you stand in line, waiting to scan your ticket, show your ID, and walk through the scanners. The process of finding your gate and making sure you are in the right spot at the right time makes my shoulders tense and my breathing go shallow. Questions loop through my head: Is my ticket correct? Am I in the right line? What if we don’t get through in time and miss our flight? What if the machine rejects my ID? What if I set off the metal detectors? What if they find something in my bag that I didn’t realize was there?
Can you relate?
As I near the kiosk where the security guard waits, I feel akin to a fugitive, trying my best to look normal and safe but sure they will call me out at any moment for some illegal activity.
I understand a bit of this is irrational. Although, I think it’s OK to have a healthy respect for the office of security and to do your due diligence to make sure you are following the rules. If, for the one reason of not holding up the line for everyone behind you. But the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, wobbly legs, and rising anxiety do not need to be a part of it.
So, what do we do in these kinds of situations, when our mind starts to run away from us and we feel ourselves spiraling into irrational thought?
Focus on what we know to be true.
Go over the facts in your head. Replace the negative with a positive. Ironically, a friend of mine calls it “landing the plane.”
A verse I keep tucked in my mind for times like these is the promise of Isaiah 26:3:
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
I’m writing this just days before I take off on a cross-country flight. By the time you read this I will have already been through security and out on the other side. So often anxiety causes our vision to narrow. We focus on the one thing that causes us angst and cannot look past it. However, if we can thought-stop and take a moment to look past what is causing us the anxiety, we see that there is so much to be enjoyed and appreciated.
When we take our eyes off of what is causing us stress and instead focus on the One who has it all in His hands, we can take a deep breath and know His peace.
This week, look into your own experience with anxiety and irrational thought:
- What causes anxiety in your life?
- What is a scenario that drives you to irrational thought patterns and unhealthy responses?
- What words can you speak into those moments to help you land the plane and focus on the positive?
- What verses have you found helpful in those moments?