Inspiration: Disconnect the Panic Button  

Disconnect the Panic Button

It started when Uncle Bobby didn't answer his phone. Had he fallen ...or worse? A neighbor checked on him. He had fallen asleep and the ringer on the phone he kept near him didn't ring. Once pushed, that nasty panic button opened floodgates on reasons to panic. What would happen if Uncle Bobby fell when he was alone? What if...

Within hours, I had been offered reasons for panic from 4 generations in my family and 3 generations in the family of a dear friend. Panic invitations came in the form of health, financial, and spiritual issues. No one thing was disastrous in its current state but one of the results of an engaged panic button is that overactive doomsday imaginations fly free.

As an example, my daughter sprained an ankle and dislocated a toe zip-lining. The hospital treated her and sent her home on crutches. Panic had a party. Could she care for her babies? Why hadn't they x-rayed her feet? Would she be crippled for life? My husband's travel schedule changed and potential dangers of some of his destinations grew ugly heads. A friend called to share her disconcerting life events and misery must love company because I encouraged her to push her own panic buttons. When I heard myself offering fear to my friend like chicken on a platter, I took stock.

Fear is not from God. It gives the devil a foothold and when I give him an inch, he takes a mile. The Bible is clear - fear not! My fear was disobedience to God. Fear is like any other form of disobedience - we already have the power to turn from it - we just have to exercise it.

I literally saw myself taking a screwdriver to that red button and disconnecting it. Peace returned. None of the potentially disturbing but probably unlikely imagined outcomes had resolved themselves; I just had shut down my fear driven imagination.

On Sunday, I was getting my 3 Pekarek grandchildren out of the car when a sudden cloud burst soaked us. Abigaile (5) screamed and bolted across the parking lot. In reaction, Frederick (2) hollered and jumped back in the car. Georgia (1) wailed. "It's just rain, Abigaile," I scolded when we all got inside. "Rain isn't dangerous but running in the parking lot is. You panicked." I explained about pushing panic buttons. "Yes, Gigi," she agreed. "I panicked. Sometimes it just feels good to push the panic button."

Sigh...she's right. Like most things bad for us, fear offers a confusing sense of satisfaction. Maybe engaging our imaginations is interesting. Maybe fear gets us attention or panic offers emotional release. Whatever it is, giving in to fear is spiritual disobedience. Fear is contagious and dangerous. Living in fear is awful. For today, I've disconnected my panic button. Anyone need to borrow my screwdriver?


Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to or call Cheryle Touchton at 904-614-3585.

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