Sunday, October 12, 2014

Overcoming Negativity: Day 11: Fear and Doubt

Today's Challenge: Use your past only as it is useful for propelling yourself into your future

We looked at Step 1 (Taking responsibility for your actions) and Step 2 (Recognizing the negative emotions and attitudes) over the last two days.

Step 3 of leaving the Land of Negativity is stopping the cycle.

I've invited a very dear friend as my guest blogger today. Jill Zanger was first my bible study facilitator/leader/teacher, then my mentor, then my friend. She remains, today, my friend, my mentor and my peer (and a pretty awesome writer!). I am forever grateful to have met her and to have learned so much from her. She was and is a friend in the truest sense: she accepted (and still accepts) me for who I was but sees me as I one day will be. I miss you Jill! Thank you so much for your contribution today. 

I compare OCD, or the French term, "Folie de doute" (the doubting disease) to an undertow.

Just as the waves break on the shore and water from the previous wave is running underneath it, one thought can begin to flow over another in this ongoing current which runs back and forth across your mind.

The stronger the waves, the more difficult it is to free yourself while you are swimming or even just standing in the waters. The waves begin to peak and break one after another. As the water goes back out to sea, a rip tide may even be produced. 

A choice must be made when you are caught up in the undertow of the doubting disease. 

When you can immediately identify what is happening, you can get help. Someone might even throw you a rope. You might be able to remain calm and remember that this was not the first time you have been able to swim parallel to the currents looking for a weak spot, and make your way to the shore.

After all, you are a strong swimmer. And you have pushed your feet down hard on the sand and propelled yourself forward into the calmer waters and safety.

Naming and identifying the fears that have come crashing in breaks their power.

Surrendering and trusting them to the God of all power can make the waves become a gentle current. Jesus spoke to the winds and the sea when the disciples cried out in fear, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The disciples marveled, saying, 

Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him? (Matthew 8:25-27)

From the picnic table where my sister and I sat on the last day of her visit, we looked out over the Gulf of Mexico.  We were appreciating all that the Creator had designed for us to celebrate. We were rejoicing in our freedom: freedom from those doubtful and endless thoughts that can drag us into an endless, relentless undertow of captivity where we miss being in the moment. 

May the Holy Spirit remind us to continue to trust God when those old fears and doubts arise, and may we use our past only as it is useful in propelling us into our future.

Thank you for sharing this nugget of wisdom with us today, Jill.

About Jill: 
Jill and her husband are thankful to be able to live in Florida's beautiful Gulf Coast in their retirement. She is presently painting a series of works she calls, "Art for the Soul" as she brings dreams/visions to life on canvas. She continues to enjoy writing essays and vignettes of her family history for her grandchildren.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
Oceans (Where Feet May Fail): Hillsongs United

Linking up today with Janis from Sunday Stillness

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Mare! Your series on negativity is so timely for me. I have recently been really struggling with this in my life The worst of it has been that I kept telling myself and others how I learned to overcome it, yet when the giant waves of hardship hit again, I find myself in a negative place, once again. It is a battle that seems to be ongoing, but I know God won't give up on me. I pray that anyone else who reads these posts understands that, too. He is always there for us, no matter what we do! Thanks for sharing here.
    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds