I am feeling all bright and bushy tailed again, and a few friends have asked how I came out of that particular tail spin. I can’t pin it down to one thing, but I can tell you something significant that helped.

A few weeks ago Shawn went to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit and heard a talk by the business psychologist Henry Cloud (he of the boundaries). It was about preventing a downward spiral and Shawn thought I should listen to it. In essence, Cloud argues we are not powerless when it comes to our state of mind,
but there are things that we can’t control. We need to identify those things, and not let them cause us to do three things handily beginning with P- take the situation personally, begin to see the setback as a pervasive pattern, and then conclude it is permanent. 

One of the key ways to halt the downward spiral is to log negative thoughts and dispute them.

man with thought bubble

picture credit:

That’s the theory. Here’s a little sample of the practice straight from my journal. I actually wrote this on the train on the way in to London for the meeting with the commissioning editor (see HERE):

Thought: I don’t have much speaking booked right now. That means no one wants me. The only way to get more is to push myself on people. I don’t want to do that, and if I don’t, I won’t have that thing I need, a platform, and that means everything is going to grind to a halt.

DISPUTED: Actually it is a great relief to have a bit more of a peaceful patch just after we’ve moved. There’s
loads going on in other areas of my life and I need the space. PLUS, I have had really lovely feedback from the speaking I have done over the past few years, so I probably shouldn’t take the sparse invitations personally, or think the situation is permanent.

Thought: I am a commercial failure. None of my books have ‘taken off’. I am worth less if people don’t buy my
books; if they don’t buy them I shouldn’t keep writing. If I don’t write I don’t know what to do.

DISPUTED: God says to me, “I made you and I love you. My love is because you are mine. I rescued you and I chose you. If you never write again, that is OKAY. But by the way, you should because you are really good at it and it mostly makes you pretty happy.”

Thought: I am not in control of how I feel. This freezing lump of fear inside me is something happening to me and I can’t stop it crushing me.

DISPUTED: I have tools and self-knowledge and support. I have within me God’s spirit, a spirit of power,
of love and of self-discipline. He who watches over Israel will not let my foot slip.

In 2 Corinthians. Paul talks about taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ. Shall we resolve to catch those rotten, weasily lies that burrow their way into our minds and try and disguise themselves as truth? Shall we catch those lies them and beat them into submission? Shall we hunt them down in the darkest recesses of our brains and squish them with superior logic?

Sounds like a good idea to me.

One thought on “GOTCHA!”

  1. David Harper says:

    Hi Jo. Hope you do not mind but I am studying be a Lay Reader in the Church in Wales on the Theology for Life course and in my essay on ‘God’s mission in Old Testament and New Testament’ I cited form your articles from Way in to Acts 17 – 19: True grit in Daily Bread Words for Life – Scripture Union April to June 2017. I have written: As the writer Swinney (2017 p.98) states: “These early evangelists had grit. Without grit they would have given up after the first arrest and gone home, thanking God for saving their lives. It wasn’t easy then and it isn’t easy now”. Trust this is okay? I found your daily bread articles very informative, God inspired and meant a lot to me on my faith journey. Wishing you every blessing. Yours in Christ. Dave Harper.

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