Day 5: Worst-case Scenario - How to Move from Coping to Hoping
Day 5: Worst-Case Scenario
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
Have you ever had thoughts like these:
“This is great, but I know it won’t last.”
“These people are nice, but they probably don’t like me.”
“I will love God, but I doubt he will ever care about what I pray for.”
I know these things sound familiar to me. This is worst-case scenario thinking and it is another way we cope in frustrating and overwhelming seasons. We believe that if we think the worst, then maybe we won’t be caught off guard when something even more painful happens. It is a way we, once again, try to self-protect.
Recently, I have been learning that I will search for evidence for what I believe to be true about me or my circumstances. What exactly does that mean, you might wonder? For me, the fear of rejection has allowed lies to dictate some past choices, and the Lord is continuing to prune those intrusive thoughts. Because I believe I am rejectable, when I show up in a group of people, my go-to thought patterns will be in response to this belief. If people don’t include me, say something that feels like a slight, or just plain ignore me, I believe I have all the proof I need. In my own sad way, I would leave many interactions dejected and feel I had proven myself right once again. I thought I had protected myself.
Worst-case scenario thinking is trying to guard ourselves from being blindsided by more suffering. But are we really protecting ourselves or causing ourselves more pain?
Maybe you know this well. Maybe you are known as a worrier, or you try to use this as a way to cope when things are too much. But friends, this response is one of fear and not faith. Instead of running to our good God with our deepest concerns and wounds, we have laid the burden of our protection and provision on ourselves by building walls.
The Lord began to challenge me to consider my thought patterns. What if instead of assuming the worst about myself and others, I looked for moments of joy or a way I could make someone else feel seen. What a perspective shift! Instead of wondering how I might be rejected, I now looked for ways to make others feel accepted. This takes practice. We get used to coping in the ways that have made us feel safe for years. But God has a new way, a better way, a way that leads to freedom and love.
God clearly shows us to think on things that are true, right and lovely. What if our entire lives could shift by changing the way we think? They can and God will do this in us as we trust Him.
Lord, I confess I have tried to protect myself with worst-case scenario thinking. But you, Lord, are my protector. Help me to shift my thinking and focus on ways I can be a blessing. Help me to focus on all that is good and walk by faith rather than the possibility of the worst based out of fear. Renew my mind, Lord. I trust you to do this. In Jesus’ name, Amen.