A feeling of dread came over me as I noticed the fat, overstuffed envelope crammed in my mailbox. It was yet another mailing from my attorney. They seemed to be coming almost daily. Somedays they were bills, and on other days they were copies of the many voluminous letters he was sending or receiving. No matter what was in them, they always filled me with anxiety and dread. This put me in a seemingly permanent state of despair. My world became increasing dark as my storm clouds never seemed to lift.
One day, in the midst of my funk, I dragged myself into my counselor’s office and unloaded. She listened patiently and then gave me some very helpful advice. She said, while I could not change my reality, I could change how I was thinking about it. She stressed that thoughts really do impact emotions, and I could improve my outlook by thinking differently. It sounded too simple. Yet, at her urging, I started thinking about ways I could make the best of the outcome of my divorce, whatever it was. If I lost custody of the kids, I would become a teacher at their school so I could see them daily. If I lost all my money, I would move into a small house and start over. If I lost my friends, I would lean on my loving family for support. Instead of focusing just on the negative, I would push myself to inject some positive thought into my anxious mind. It really helped. The bad news didn’t suddenly stop, but I felt more steady emotionally. I was now approaching each day with my chin up and a sturdier attitude. The sun started peeking out from behind my clouds.
Your mind is an amazing gift. How you use it can be the key difference between hope and despair. Choose hope!
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8