Last week I had a doctor appointment that caused me to derail my thinking for a time. It was a routine appointment that didn't take long at all. The doctor and I shared pleasantries and regular medical conversation about why I was there. There were statements like, "Women in your age bracket....." and "Only needing certain tests......"
Then as my formal examination commenced she said, "Actually ummm.... I am going to change my mind. Let's do this other test."
She made a point of telling me that the test results would say negative and it was no big deal. I smiled, agreed and laughed it off until she left the room. Then against better judgement I crumbled. My brain kept thinking, "Why would she change her mind? What did she see?" The word WHY was playing on a ticker tape in my brain and spinning in circles. I could have had the presence of mind to ask her......but I never did. I mentally chided myself for being so quick to jump to a partially suggested conclusion and told that 'me' to grow up.
But as the next couple of days elapsed, I found myself distracted and lost in imagined scenarios. WHY became replaced by WHAT IF as my mind created scenes of how life would be different. My husband, my girls, my mom, different milestones that are on the horizon for us......they were all tied together. Mingled in with those picture clips were scenes of 2 years ago when I cared for Daddy through his cancer battle.
Seemingly against my own will and rational thought, my days became a fog and then arrested by the WHAT IFs. I even had a couple of times where I thought I might hyperventilate as I tried to get a hold of myself. A small voice in my head kept saying, "Reach out for help. Don't battle these thoughts alone. You are not alone."
Finally, I took opportunity to tell my husband and that is when things changed for me. I told him how my fears and assumptions had developed monsters of their own. I even confessed to the crazy truth that I had googled images and information on my laptop of key words I heard during my appointment. As we talked and prayed, those monsters became less intimidating and my shoulders felt lighter.
Yesterday the test results came in the mail. The results were "normal" just like I was told they would be. You want to know what is funny? My thoughts had changed so much after confessing, praying and partnering in accountability with my husband that I almost forgot to open the envelope. I wasn't worried at all.
Thoughts can be a tricky thing. They are constantly in motion. We hear statements all the time that speak to the power of our thoughts:
I couldn't help myself.
It makes me so angry (sad, frustrated, hurt).
It is all I think about.
I don't know. It just came out of my mouth.
Our thoughts carry strength and power but they do not have to control our lives in a negative way. We have the awesome ability to CHOOSE what we dwell on. Sure, things will always pop into our thoughts. But God gives us the privilege of being able to weigh them out and choose what we give our time and energy to.
"We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)
This scripture clearly says that we can change our thoughts. If we can make our thoughts "obedient to Christ" as it says, then that means that the anger, fear, shame and out-of-control thoughts don't have to have power.
Now that doesn't mean we run around with our fingers in our ears and quote Bob by saying over and over, "I feel fine....I feel great.....I feel wonderful." There is a time for deep thoughts and weighing heavy things. But even deep thoughts don't have to have the privilege of consuming us.
We have opportunity to evaluate, measure and change our thoughts. We can look at each thought and say:
Is this a truth thought?
Is this worth spending my time and energy on?
What should I be thinking on?
It was an important lesson for me to learn right now.
Currently my Nana is in a rehabilitation center working on gaining strength in her back after a fall. The combination of seeing my Nana becoming more frail, watching her wrestle with a bit of confusion and memory loss, witnessing my mom handle so much as her daughter and care-giver (a feeling I remember so well).....I have to confess to flashing back to all of the feelings and situations I found myself in with caring for Daddy.
This small situation with learning not to let my emotions partner with panic from a single comment at my doctor appointment is so perfect for helping me to bring into alignment this bigger time frame as well. I get to choose to make my morning visits with Nana be just about her and me. I get to choose to enjoy instead of feeling sad. I have the joy of choosing what to dwell on.
Thank You God for Your gift of choice. Thank You that You give us the ability to not be subjected to whatever whim that passes through our brains. Thank you that you give us the strength to look and grasp what is right and true. Thank You for making each day new and fresh, full of hope, joy and purpose.