Have you ever been overwhelmed by a feeling of helplessness? When you are in a tough situation and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change it?
When the rolling blackouts during the Texas Arctic blast left my house cold and dark, I literally felt powerless. The rolling blackout for me meant 90 minutes of electricity every 8 to 9 hours. When the power came up, I felt hopeful. When it turned off my heart sank.
When the 90-minute power allocation happened for a third time, hope was replaced by frustration and resentment because I realized the electrical lines in my area were not damaged. There was someone – somewhere flipping a switch that left my family and millions of others vulnerable. I could find little solace until it was over. All I could think was would the pipes hold up, would food spoil, what if this, and what if that? While others wondered if they would survive, would the back-up power supply for the oxygen tank that sustains their life last long enough?
Seeing baren streets, stores without power, empty grocery store shelves hearing fire and police sirens race to the next emergency felt like a glimpse of the end times. And there wasn’t a thing that I could do.
My sons said they’d never seen me in such a vulnerable emotional state. They were seriously concerned while I didn’t have a clue as to how fragile I had become. The rolling blackouts were more than I could shoulder.
As I found refuge for a second night in a friend’s warm house, I couldn’t appreciate it. I caught a bad case of self-centered negative emotions. I was outdone because there was nothing I could do but wait it out along with others whose situation was far worse than mine.
But, not really, there was something I could do. Being consumed with me, and myself, I booked a flight to Florida. Just booking the flight was cathartic. I couldn’t change the weather or stop the rolling blackout but, I could control how my story of the 2021 winter storm would end.
The third day, at about noon, the power came on and two hours later it was still on eight hours later it was still on. But, I didn’t trust it would stay on. My trust was in my ability to get on a plane and ride it out in Florida…on a beach.
My spontaneous, justifiable trip would have been great, but costly. What I really needed was a change in my perspective and an attitude of gratitude for the unplanned time spent with family and friends.
My heart aches for the families who suffered major loss during this storm. The mental and emotional trauma the blackouts caused is real. But, I learned something about myself. What God showed me was that my old idol of independence is always crouching at the threshold. It affirmed the need to keep my focus on HIM, because without HIM, I am helplessly fragile. Rather than pray and trust God for the outcome, I relied on my own ability to fix my situation. I booked a flight producing a predictable outcome. What’s your “go to” when overcome with feelings of helplessness? Your idol may give satisfaction in the moment, but it comes with a price.
It doesn’t mean do nothing, we should make good choices that are sure to produce a good outcome. But, leave room for God to deliver an outcome that’s More than Enough to see you through.