What If We Refuse to Panic

We sat on the plane for fifteen minutes with the heat running full blast when the captain announced, “We’re going to turn off the heat to make you more comfortable while we wait for the paperwork we need to exit the gate.”  Ten minutes later, the plane left the gate only to sit still on the runway. We were all wondering why we weren't taking off when the pilot spoke up,  “Charlotte Douglas International Airport is not allowing any further incoming flights so we have a 30 minute wait and then we will take to the air. Thank you for your patience.”

This was the last straw for the man sitting in front of me. “I need to get off this plane now!” he told the flight attendant.

“The captain will never do that,” I thought. “We’ve already been delayed multiple times. If we go back to the gate most of these passengers will miss their connections."

The man turned to his neighbor, “I can’t wait any longer. I'm going to rent a car and drive 90 minutes to Charlotte.” Then he directed his comments to us.   “We would have already taken off if the airline workers had submitted the flight paperwork on time. This happened to me last night! You guys need to get off and drive or you’ll miss your vacation."

Immediately the loudspeaker blared and the flight attendant said, “Okay guys, FAA regulations state that if a passenger requests to get off the plane we have to let them disembark. We will return to the gate, drop him off and then I’ll do my best to get you to Charlotte as soon as possible. Thanks for your understanding."

Seriously! Frustration, exasperation, and panic flooded my mind. My eyes shot toxic thoughts at the back of this man's head. I thought, “Maybe the airline dropped the ball, but now your one decision is affecting an entire plane full of people! You're seriously selfish enough to cause 100 people to miss their connections?” My anger rose until the Holy Spirit spoke, "Keep your mouth shut Sharie, or you'll regret everything that spills out. Calm down and trust me.” 

The man disembarked. The planed gassed up, received the new itinerary, returned to the runway, lifted off, and landed in Charlotte 30 swift minutes later. Clayton and I assumed we’d miss our connection but we rushed to our gate anyway. The helpful flight attendant scanned our tickets as I glanced at Clayton and said, “If that man hadn’t panicked, he would be here right now. We passed him in the air and he is probably not even halfway here! I’m so glad we didn’t panic."

It’s easy for me to get worked up at out-of-control situations. I usually imagine anything and everything I could do or say TO FIX THE PROBLEM. But trying to control the situation not only adds to my anxiety, it also adds anxiety to everyone around me. So my new approach is this: I will choose to control what’s going on in my mind so my body doesn’t suffer. Here are my two practical approaches:

  1. Rest before I stress.
  2. Trust before I lose my temper

Proverbs 28:26 says, "Those who trust in themselves are foolish. But those who live wisely are kept safe."

When we are in panic mode, it’s tempting to trust in ourselves. Many of us are in the habit of letting stressful situations direct our feelings, emotions and actions, but 2 Corinthians 5:10b says, "I keep every thought under control in order to make it obey Christ." 

When the pilot took us back to the gate, I wondered if we should we listen to the man; should we get off the plane as well, shaking our angry fists at the airlines for their incompetence? Or should we stay on the plane and hope for the best?

We chose to stay, control our panic, and hope for the best. After all, what benefit could we gain from harboring consternation except filling our hearts with hypertension? Not only did Clayton and I survive the dilemma but we didn’t let it ruin our day.

Maybe this message of "rest in stress" and "trust before temper" is for you. If you’ve let life’s drama carry you away, perhaps now is a good time to let God teach you to control your thoughts before Black Friday gets here. Haha.

It seems trendy and cool to be stressed these days, because it seems like everyone is, all the time. But it's not cool and we can fight the trend. Stress has damaging affects on the body and can even fatally wound the heart. Give your stress a rest. Don’t panic and see what happens. Maybe your trust in Jesus will deepen.

If this blog touched you, please share:

  • How can we break the habit of letting panic control our feelings, emotions and actions? http://goo.gl/Isw0E1
  • If you’ve let life’s drama carry you away, perhaps now is a good time to control your thoughts. http://goo.gl/Isw0E1
  • Proverbs 28:26 Those who trust in themselves are foolish. But those who live wisely are kept safe. http://goo.gl/Isw0E1

© 2015 by Sharie King.  All rights reserved.