I’m somewhat of a dichotomy. I’m fairly optimistic in my views, I look for the best in people instead of assuming the worst, and I try to keep discouragements to a minimum by reciting that “this will pass” and “I’ll be better for it.”
But I’m also a worst case scenario assumer. If my husband is late coming home, my mind thinks he must be in an accident. When my kids play, I imagine all the ways they could hurt themselves if this, that, or whatever happened. I clearly have issues.
One thing I’ve noticed about these seemingly opposite personalities is that the worst case scenario me is much more stressed, unhappy, selfish, and tired than the optimistic me. And that makes perfect sense if we stop and think about it.
Recently, when my mind started to dwell on the what ifs and unknowns of life, I took a moment to stop and think why those thoughts were consuming me when I had no basis for them. The cold hard truth was that in the moment, my trust was in something other than the Lord.
I was looking to control the situation or the people involved instead of having an attitude of surrender toward him.
If this sounds like too easy of a solution to a real life problem, let’s dig a little. We know God spoke of trust throughout the Bible and several Bible events record for us what happens when people choose to trust in someone other than themselves. But we also have familiar verses like “Casting all your care on him, for he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:7) and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understandings.” (Proverbs 3:5)
In both of these verses we see that we are responsible to choose how we respond (cast, trust). That is the starting point. We are to stop dwelling on our problems and give them to God. If we aren't consumed with all the what ifs of life, it's much easier to not let them control us.
The next step is to focus on what we know to be true. God is love. God is all knowing. God is all powerful. When we remember Who is ultimately in control we see that we have no reason to let anxiety rule over us. We might be helpless but God….
Unfortunately I still struggle with these differing personalities. I remind myself daily of God’s goodness and might as I seek to keep the worse case scenario me at bay. Memorizing Bible verses is a great place to begin. By filling our minds with his words, we grow less dependent on our own faulty control and lean harder on God's faithful guidance.
Photo by Renee Fisher on Unsplash