Refrigerator Angst

Written by Carl Greene

December 27, 2023

“He’s angsty.”

My daughter named it, and the rest of my family agreed. All because I was ensuring that the leftovers in the refrigerator got used. I was being a practical, good steward. I was also brooding way too much over the demise of the Chicken Divan languishing on the top shelf.

An informal definition captures angst especially well, “a feeling of persistent worry about something trivial.”[1] My standing at the fridge and lamenting about wilting vegetables is pathetic—but uncovers a deeper heart condition.

Refrigerator angst is more of a “dashboard light” in my life revealing when my personal health is not where it should be. When I start focusing on the trivial, it is because my eyes are no longer fixed on the most important. I have blurred the boundaries of healthy living to a point in which the dashboard lights are indicating that something is not well with my soul.

I would much rather read the dashboard lights and address my issue of a soul sprain early on. Refrigerator angst is just that sort of dashboard light for me. It is a call back to healthy boundaries. The call to healthy boundaries is especially important in this season that often bridges from busy to hurried. We leave no time for healthy practices that include rest and contemplative prayer.

The story of 2 Samuel 6 is a story of great celebration and joy. The ark of God was being moved to a new home where there would be more focused attention. But the story is dominated by the tragedy of Uzzah’s death after grabbing the ark of God as it shook. The healthy boundaries required for being in such close proximity to the ark were not practiced, and the “natural” response to the stumbling oxen was to take personal control. When we are hurried, how often is our natural response to take personal control rather than trusting God?

I have found that an angsty life is directly correlated with taking personal control rather than eyes fixed on Jesus. In this season, let’s check the dashboard lights. For me, that’s refrigerator angst. What’s your dashboard light of being angsty?

[1] Oxford Languages. Accessed by Google Search of “angst.”

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