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Panic and Prayer

It’s a recurring nightmare that happens to me frequently. A line of cars face me, staring my vehicle down with destructive intent. A flash of colored metal hurls toward me, causing complete paralyzation and panic. I stare forward, strapped frozen in the driver’s seat awaiting possible death. But instead of a massive collision, I wake up sweating in a confused panic. 

Driving is something I’ve always been fearful of ever since I received my driver’s permit. Most teens bask in finally receiving their freedom, but I’ve always been a rare exception. Every day when I go to work, I feel a tinge of anxiety as I back out of the driveway. The thought of being involved in a car crash is one of my biggest fears. Perhaps the fear comes from my mother being in a wheelchair due to a car accident; either way, driving makes me incredibly anxious.

Growing up, I’ve always lived in small towns where traffic involves two trucks and a tractor. However, having recently relocated to a larger area, I’m finding it challenging to navigate my way downtown. My fear of traffic only increases as I rely heavily on GPS whenever I drive alone at rush hour. 

Two weeks ago, my worst nightmare came true. I was driving downtown, heading to Noodles & Company for supper when I came upon a busy street corner. While driving, I was on the phone with my mom talking about the events in my day. I glanced down at my phone before taking a right turn, only to be confused as to why my GPS began relocating. As I looked up, my mind immediately froze and I began to panic. A string of headlights faced my direction, taunting me as they came straight at my vehicle. A familiar and calm voice echoed through the phone,

“Maddie, Maddie are you there?” 

“Mom, don’t hang up. I’m terrified! I think I’m on a one-way street and cars are coming straight for me. I don’t know what to do.”-“Ok. Maddie, just stay calm and get off the one-way road, if possible.” 

I frantically glanced around, looking for a neighborhood to escape into. Seeing a narrow road to my right, I yanked the steering wheel. The cramped road was a dead end and I was wedged in between several cars. I paused, trying to catch my breath and regain my thoughts. After silently praying and taking deep breaths, I finally managed to back out and return to the main road without a collision. 

Despite that terrifying situation, I’ve found that my anxiety melts away when I pray each morning before my drive. When we give God permission to protect us in our daily lives, He promises to do just that. No matter how big or small our fears are, we can find peace knowing that God is always present. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name” (Psalm 91:14).

Madeleine Temple-Lowe writes from Bloomington, Indiana.

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About Madeleine Temple-Lowe

Madeleine Temple-Lowe

writes from the midwest.

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