I’d gone to the store one evening, just as the toilet paper panic hit. Hopefully, you weren’t one of those Americans out here fighting over toilet paper.
Side thought: We received one instruction, “wash your hands”, and everybody cleared all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I’m still confused about what went on between CDC’s instruction and our translation, but anyhoo.
I only went to the store to grab some yogurt. I figured that nobody would really be out since people had wiped out the shelves earlier that day.
As I grabbed a mini cart and walked to the dairy section, I noticed random items were gone like fresh broccoli. What are y’all doing with the broccoli? There was, however, plenty of yogurts. I suppose that wasn’t on the national snatch-and-grab list. I got my yogurt and proceeded to the checkout line.
When Panic Knocks, Don’t Answer.
I walked past the toilet paper aisle and noticed there were about 4 twelve-packs on the shelf. I’m sure this was an oversight by the toilet paper hoarders, but I quickly grabbed one and threw it in my cart.
Just then – hilarious moment – my heart started to beat kind of fast. My mind started racing and wondering if someone would try to fight me over these twelve double rolls. Comedy, I know, but folks out here in these streets are crazy.
A woman and her husband passed me, and she began giving me the stare down as she looked in my cart. At that moment, I started to prepare myself for the worst-case scenario. I then heard her whisper, “Honey, she has toilet paper. Let’s get over there quick.” Whew… I didn’t have to throw hands over a basic household item LOL…too funny!
Panic is a Liar.
No, this isn’t about my adventures in grocery shopping during a national pandemic. Although, I have a couple more stories that I’ll spare you for now. Rather, this panic has made folks overbuy stuff that they’ve probably never purchased before (really, what are y’all gonna do with all that broccoli?). And, it causes people to do things in the moment that are not related to the solution, e.g. purchasing all that Charmin after the initial solution was to “wash your hands”.
In life, when we panic over a situation, it’s easy to overdo things. We overspend because “running out” gives us anxiety. And, by overspending, I don’t just mean financially.
Nope, we can overspend in loyalty and energy because we fear that others will run out on us. This leads us to do things that won’t produce the solution we need or desire.
We buy all of this toilet paper and still don’t wash our hands. We go through all these changes and still don’t confront the actual problem. Examples include avoiding proper communication, refusing help and resources from others, or even isolating ourselves from support – even when we know those things are our solution.
Panic also causes us to prepare for the worst. Now, that can be a good thing, but when we allow certain scenarios to enter our minds due to panic, it becomes an overreaction. Just like my mind drifted when that woman started eyeballing my cart, we begin to drift. This creates issues because we then spend all our efforts ready to solve a problem that will never come.
So, What’s the Play Call?
I know that with all that’s going on, it’s easy to panic and fear the worst. I’m not telling you not to prepare, but I am saying to trust the One with the solution. Here are a few things to keep in mind when we’re in a season filled with panic:
- God has given us many tools but fear is not one of them. We must recognize the difference in being cautious and wise and fearing the unknown due to current circumstances. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
- Trust God. There are so many fluctuations in the news and instructions that we’re being given. Be sure you’re placing your trust in the One that has all power. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Psalms 118:8
- Be sure that you are connected to wise, positive people. The wrong communication can cause our actions to shift negatively. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearketh unto counsel is wise.” Proverbs 12:15
- Let God give you peace. With the chaos and crazies we are surrounded by, and the bad news we are being spoon-fed, peace is imperative. Without it, we’ll succumb to the chaos and become one of the crazies. “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” Colossians 3:15, NLT
I know it seems hard not to panic when there are so many logical reasons to do so. But, it’s easier to embrace peace when we realize we serve a God who is not bound by logic. Trust Him and accept His peace.