Nearly two years ago I had a difficult season of anxiety complete with racing heart, anxious thoughts spiraling out of control, and life-altering worry that engulfed every thought and breath. It was exhausting. One of the major ways my anxiety crippled my life during that challenging time was when I drove at high speeds on the interstate.
Usually when I drive up and down the west coast of Florida on Interstate-75, I’m fine. Driving long distances, at high speeds was never an issue in my life until I had my first experience with anxiety a few years back.
Because my family lives about two hours south of us, I’ve shuttled myself and my boys those 100 miles on I-75 many, many times. I know each exit and overpass, which sections are two or three-lane, and the busiest cities to drive through.
But when anxiety hits, rational thought escapes like a piece of paper sucked out an open window in a speeding car.
During this difficult season of anxiety, I made plans to meet up with friends at the University of South Florida in Tampa. It’s a beautiful, sprawling campus, and one particular pond-dotted section is filled with ducks, birds, and turtles. During the summer I take my two boys and go to USF often enough that the ducks know my vehicle and run toward us when we arrive, begging for corn and Cheerios.
That day I loaded the boys up in our truck, trying to ignore the dread curling my fingers over the steering wheel. As I entered the on-ramp to I-75 and joined the other vehicles on the large, busy interstate, the double, triple-thump of my heart caused a wave of fear to crash over me.
Scripture came to mind, a balm in the middle of my island of anxiety. “…do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NKJV).
About halfway to USF a truck came into view. It was an old, beat up work truck with two gentlemen’s arms hanging out both open windows in the single cab. The truck clicked over from the right lane to the middle lane where I was driving, and my eyes almost popped out of my head.
On the back of the truck’s cab window was a large picture of Jesus’s face.
For the next couple of miles the Jesus truck drove in front of me on northbound I-75. My emotions veered back and forth between laughing and crying about the beautiful reminder that Jesus is truly always with us. When the truck clicked back over to the right lane to head onto the I-4 ramp and drive east, I wiped away a tear.
God is always with us. In a season fear, worry, poor health, difficult finances, or just a time of waiting, don’t doubt. He will never leave you or forsake you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NKJV)