When you worry about situations that don’t even exist

Things aren’t necessarily always as bad as you think they will be.

But that doesn’t stop us from letting our imaginations get the best of us.

I think it’s easy sometimes to create worst-case scenarios in our minds that don’t actually exist, and we end up dealing with unnecessary anxiety. There’s an episode of Modern Family that depicts this pretty perfectly when Claire freaks out about Haley’s whereabouts and what possibly could have happened within the last 24 hours. She spirals down a crazed worry path, but it turns out that Haley was upstairs in her room the entire time, and all of Claire’s panicking was for naught.

I’ve definitely been guilty of that more than once in my life, and I let those anxious thoughts get the best of me recently.

If you’re worried about being on a trip without your purse, get yourself a pink fanny pack from the nearest Walmart. It’s less than $8 and is a total game changer.

Last week was rough for a number of reasons, mainly because of the whole kidney stone thing. I’ve been feeling like a train wreck since then because something still isn’t right (don’t worry—I’m going to the urologist this week), and I didn’t do a great job of making sure that I got enough rest. I made the perhaps unwise decision to play in my flag football game on Saturday morning, and when I was getting closer to the beach, I noticed a strange sound coming from my car’s front right tire. I started worrying that my car was falling completely apart and that I was going to have to get an entirely new car ASAP if I wanted to be able to drive anywhere. But I really don’t want a car payment right now, so this wasn’t going to be good at all.

I parked on one of the streets near the beach and got out of my car to inspect the damage. All I saw was some circular silver thing stuck in my tire, and I wasn’t able to pull it out, no matter how hard I tried. I didn’t have time to deal with it at the moment because I needed to get to my game, but during my walk over to the beach field, I started thinking about how I was going to return to a flat tire, and I didn’t know how to change a flat. I didn’t want to have to call anyone to help me, so I then started worrying about trying to figure it out on my own and putting it on the wrong way.

By the time I got back to my car, the tire was still intact, and I drove to the nearest America’s Tire (I have a lifetime warranty with Discount Tire, and America’s Tire is the same thing as Discount out here), but it had closed at noon that day. I called two more America’s Tire stores, but it turns out they all closed at noon for some company event ON THE ONE DAY THAT I NEEDED THEM TO HAVE THEIR NORMAL HOURS.

As I drove to the nearest auto place that Google Maps had found for me, I started panicking about how much it was going to cost to fix it or get a brand new tire all because freaking America’s Tire had to have a company event. (I honestly hope that all of the employees had a great time—I used to love it when my company in Dallas would close early to have some fun as a company family.)

I sat inside and watched college football on my phone (don’t ask me why the store had a throwback NBA game on its TV, instead) and had a convo with God to try to get rid of my worrying. It wasn’t too long later that the guy who had been working on my tire came in with the keys and gave them to the guy behind the counter, who turned to me and said that I was all set. It was a bolt that had been in my tire, and homeboy had removed it and then patched up the hole. I braced myself as I asked him how much it was, and he said four words that made my heart soar: “Don’t worry about it.”

He didn’t realize it, but he was speaking to me about so much more than the tire.

All of that worrying and stressing ended up being a waste of energy that I really didn’t have in the first place. I feel like I should know by now that going down the worry path is a horrible idea and usually leads me in the wrong direction. What’s the point in stressing so much about situations that don’t even exist and may never be actualities?

I’m really thankful for people like Amanda who remind me what it means to be a good friend and go through tough times together. (P.S. IT’S HER WEDDING WEEK!!!!)

I have a lot of unknowns ahead in my life right now, and at least one has been causing me more anxiety than it should. Here’s the truth, though: I can handle anything that comes my way, because I know that I’m never alone, and God has never once turned away from me—and He won’t start now. No, that doesn’t mean that everything will always work out in my favor, but it does mean that I can endure the trials and trust Him through them all.

Life is going to throw challenges at us, and there will be times when it leaves us feeling anxious about what may or may not happen. There are questions constantly filling our minds: How much is this going to cost? What if I can’t afford this? What if I’m single forever? What if the dreams in my heart don’t come true? What am I going to do if this happens? What am I going to do if this doesn’t happen?

You can “what if?” until you’re blue in the face, and you can sweat over your mind’s inquiries until you wear yourself out completely. But, rather than spending all of your energy worrying about things that aren’t realities and may never be, why not use it to enjoy where you are, trust that what needs to happen will happen, and love the people in your life in this very moment?

Because one bolt in your tire can’t destroy the entire car.

Another reason to dislike jury duty

I’m not always as tough as I’d like to be.

And I don’t like to admit that.

Last week I had jury duty (no, not on the same day as G-Dub), and it was a day I would like to forget. Sure, most people aren’t huge fans of getting summoned, but it turned into an experience I was not expecting.

After we watched some thrilling video explaining a little bit about our civic responsibility and the jury duty process, my number got called to go be part of the voir dire for a case. I went with the herd upstairs and waited until the bailiff came to assign us our specific numbers. I was 27, which gave me a corner seat in the back row. As much as I’d love to drop the “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” line, I kind of preferred it that day—and it later turned out to be a good thing I was there.

Waiting for civic fun

The case involved a car incident from a few years ago, and a couple was trying to get money from the defendant. The prosecuting attorney did his little spiel and asked us questions, making notes on his legal pad. He reminded me of someone I used to know (and not in a good way), so I was very happy when he was finished talking. I shouldn’t have been so excited, though.

The defense attorney stepped up for her turn, and not long into her talking, she said something I wasn’t ready for. She mentioned the intersection where the car incident occurred, and it was the exact same two cross streets where a rather traumatic experience happened to me. Of all of the places in the entire metroplex, WHY THERE?? I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a panic attack of the magnitude of the one that ensued. I stopped breathing temporarily, my heart was beating faster than I felt I could handle, and I had no idea where I was. My mind flashed back to that dark morning on that empty street, and all I could hear was the forceful voice of the man holding the gun. All I could see was darkness and him standing there with his weapon in his hand, ready to do whatever he wanted. All I could feel was the need to run as fast as humanly possible away from this unknown man who had followed me. And all I could do was pray.

After a few moments, I finally came back to reality. As I said, it’s good I was in that corner, as it allowed me not to cause a scene with my unexpected overwhelming fear. I didn’t hear a word the defense attorney for the rest of the time. Finally, everyone stood up because the judge had given us a break so they could decide who the 12 jurors would be. I stayed back to talk to the judge, and obviously I was not chosen for the case.

I feel kind of wimpy that this thing that happened to me six months ago is able to haunt me so much. Maybe some people think it’s ridiculous because nothing actually happened. Maybe they have the opinion that the cop did that it isn’t a big deal because the guy didn’t shoot at me. For me, that’s not the scary part. I think I’m more afraid of what could have actually happened. If I had stopped running, what would he have done? Would I be here right now? Would I be scarred for life? I know it’s not good to live in the mindset of “what if,” but what frightens me the most is that he is still out there, and there are still so many individuals out there looking to take advantage of others. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m terrified of rape.

And it’s a crime that is far too often overlooked.

Perhaps it is ridiculous that I still can’t even drive down that street or that I get anxiety when I unexpectedly hear the intersection where he stood and yelled at me. But there are things in life that affect us all in different ways, and this one is apparently taking me longer to get over than I would like.

I don’t think it’s wrong to be afraid—but I also don’t think it’s good to live life in fear. At some point, I will have to go on that street again. At some point, I will have to stop panicking when I hear the street names. At some point, I will have to be brave enough to sit through a full day of jury duty.

Every day is a new day to walk away from pain. Every day is a new day to become stronger. Every day is a new day to be brave.

And every day is a new day to celebrate the fact that you have a new day.