Professor Media Matters

I am a media professional with 6 years as a TV producer and reporter, and college professor in the field of Communications. I am also a Conservative with a passion for pop culture. This will be my attempt to put the "me" in media. It will be my take on movies, TV, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet and all that is the worldwide media.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

ANXIETY VS. AMBITION

"Hi, I'm Rich."

"Hi Rich," answers the crowd circled around me.

"And I am unemployed."

The crowd breaks into applause. You can hear a lot of murmured agreement, as if the crowd was supporting their inner-city pastor with a chorus of "Amens." In this economy the jobless seem like the fastest growing self help support system in the nation. Our families are too close to the situation. They have too many expectations that get in the way.It is easier for the jobless to find support and solace amongst one another.

Even with all that support, you don't realize how much being without a job will rob you of your confidence. Or in my case you don't remember.  I was unemployed once before about 8 years ago. It took me 9 months to find work. But back then I was single and I didn't have any debt. Now I am married with a family and I have a mortgage to pay.

Today the anxiety arrived. And I took my meds. I've had panic and anxiety issues my entire adult life so it shouldn't catch me by surprise. But it kicked my butt this morning. I couldn't focus. I couldn't breathe.  I have found myself cycling through the stages of grief: anger, denial, sadness, fear.Today is just the anxiety day I guess. It's not like there is any big bill due today.

Instead, there is a project. A small free-lance project a friend offered to throw my way. Instead of being happy I got overcome with hysteria. My mind raced with fear: What if I can't do the job?  What if I do it wrong? And questions of confidence and competence lead to questions of character. What if there is something wrong with me? What happened to my ability and ambition?

All of those questions are real. But before I get overtaken by the anxiety train I am trying to remind myself to focus on a few key things:

1. Find things to be grateful to God for on a regular basis. (See my Twitter account where this has been a long term project.)
2. Continue to faithfully tithe on whatever resources God decides to bring my way.
3. Avoid becoming more self-involved, reach into other people’s lives and be a blessing daily.
4. Remember I am not going through this alone and it is OK to ask for help and prayer.
5. Take care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally so my panic/anxiety issues don’t overwhelm me.

Or maybe my list is best summed up by Philippians 4:6 -- "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

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