If you’re anything like me, you probably feel overwhelmed by all the changes you’d like to see in your life, especially around the New Year, when change is the “thing” to do.
I already know what I need to improve–my fitness level, availability to friends, amount of quality time with God. But sometimes, the more I resolve to change, the more I feel as though I’ve failed when my “to do” list of goals ends up a crumpled piece of paper in a dark corner of my desk–and in my mind.
That’s why, this year, I decided to take the opposite approach to make some positive changes in my mental, spiritual, and physical health. No fifty-two-weeks-a-year-or-bust self-improvement plan for me!
When my husband had to undergo biopsies for cancer, I was anxious. But once he completed radiation treatments and life went on, I really fell into the worry trap. I found myself worrying inordinately about our future, about doctors’ visits, even about my own health and the health of our kids. I knew I had to change.
I remembered some advice I’d given my daughter Sarah when she was in grade school. Every year when her school held “Fire Safety Week,” Sarah would lie awake at night worrying about our house catching on fire.
“Mom, I can’t sleep,” she’d moan. “I’m worried about a fire, and I can’t get it out of my mind.”
“Sarah,” I’d tell her, “pretend your mind’s a television set, and switch the channel.”
Years later, it was time to taste my own medicine. Each time I found worries swallowing up my thought life, I forced myself to change the channel. I’d intentionally focus on blotting out my preoccupation with the “what ifs.”
This year, take to heart a favorite Scripture of mine:
“Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19.
I am determined to “take captive” every negative thought “to make it obedient to Christ” this new year! (2 Corinthians 10:5)
by Jane Johnson Struck