My wife and I decided to navigate some of the wooded trails at Mt. Airy Forest this morning. We're not big hikers but we do enjoy being outside and thought it would be fun to check out some of the local trails. We parked our car just before 11 this morning and headed towards a 4.2 mile trail. After reading on the internet that the trails at Mt. Airy were poorly marked I decided to use my hiking app to ensure that we stayed on course and didn't end up lost somewhere in the middle of Mt. Airy's 1500 acres.
What I failed to consider before we left on our hike was the battery percentage on my phone. As the percentage of my battery life continued ticking down my anxiety began to tick up. I'm deep into a trail that I've never been on, my phone is about to die and I'm standing at a crossroad in the middle of 1500 acres.
I've never really talked about my anxiety before but from time to time I deal with situational anxiety. I'm not even sure that's a thing but that's all I know to call it. It doesn't happen all of the time, in fact it generally isn't an issue unless I find myself in situations where I feel trapped, lost, unable to reach help, etc. My mind starts to race, my legs get weak and I feel like I just want to lay down. I begin the process of overthinking the "what ifs" of the moment.
What if we can't find our way out?
What if we take the wrong trail?
What if my phone dies?
As I turned a corner today and realized that we weren't anywhere close to what I thought we'd be I suddenly felt my anxiety welling up inside of me. All of the signs were there; lump in my throat, weak legs, mind racing. In that moment, I feigned confidence and said to my wife, "You good? I think we're almost there." I whispered a prayer to God for strength and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
If I had stopped to think critically about my situation I would have recalled the sound of the highway in the distance, taken solace in the fact that my phone wasn't quite yet dead and remembered that if push came to shove, I could simply turn around and walk back the way I had come. But in that moment, none of that seemed to matter. I allowed fear and anxiety to overcome any rational thought.
When we eventually emerged from the longest 4.2 miles of my life I was able to chat through those tense internal moments with my wife. As I reflected on those moments of anxiety I was reminded of the importance of continuing to put one foot in front of the other. Perhaps you are dealing with some sort of situational anxiety? Maybe your rears its ugly head more often than not. Allow me to encourage you to continue putting one foot in front of the other. Continue following the trail that God has mapped out for you and when you come to a crossroad, whisper a prayer to God for strength and keep moving. Be encouraged and keep moving forward.