What it’s Like When I Panic
“What is wrong with you?” my wife asked.
I was cranky, snippy, and easily annoyed – by her, by my daughters, by the universe. I knew why, but I didn’t want to talk about it.
“I’m fine,” I snapped back.
I wasn’t fine. I was panicking inside.
My wife and I have some big decisions to make in the coming months, and that afternoon, I started imagining everything that could go wrong.
The more I let my imagination run wild, the more my life felt out of control. So I found myself trying to get control over everything in the room – my toddlers, my wife, the counter space, the air conditioning – you name it.
In the midst of all this, it began thundering and lightning outside. This provoked my three-year-old daughter, Daniela, to begin screaming like someone was throwing grenades into our home.
I tried to reason with her, and my wife tried to comfort her, but it wasn’t working. Every time it thundered, Daniela had a meltdown – and at one point, she got so scared that she started aimlessly running through the house bawling.
Finally, we gave her a bath to calm her down, and it worked – for her. I was still anxious about the decisions we had to make in the coming year.
During Daniela’s goodnight prayers, I brought up Daniela’s thunderstorm freakout.
“Father,” I prayed, “please help Daniela trust me when it’s storming. Help her understand that I’m always close by, and that she doesn’t have to be afraid of anything. Please help her believe me next time it thunders and I tell her it’s going to be okay.”
Suddenly, I paused and realized something: that was God’s prayer for me.
My daughter was a picture of my faithlessness, a picture of my inability to trust my Heavenly Dad, who was saying, “Calm down, son. You’re safe with Me. I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
I took a deep breath, and sitting there in the dark next to my little girl’s bed, I prayed, “Father, would You please help me believe next time I hear the thunder?”
A few days later, we had another thunderstorm.
This time, Daniela was nervous when it thundered, but overall she did okay – as long as I was close enough that she could run to me when she heard the rumble.
I’m doing my best to follow her lead.