Negative thoughts are like multiplying bacteria; you feed one and there seems to be more negative thoughts and feelings to come. It becomes a habit, too. You begin an addiction of sorts of looking at yourself a certain way, or feeling a certain way, or saying certain things to others about yourself. Any of these ring a bell?
– I am just so fat!
– I just can’t seem to learn
– I’m just a negative person
– Nothing will ever change
– Or, in my case: I’m in pain, oh why am I in pain, this pain is killing me, I can’t cope with this!!
Just some of the many negative thoughts we can give power to by focusing on them.
A couple of weeks ago, I turned 32. To be honest, I am not afraid of ageing. Actually, I love being my age (at every age so far), but there has been a recurring negative thought about the state of my body: “If this is how much pain I am in while I am young, what is old age going to be like for me!”
It’s a pretty chilling thought to entertain, right? This really makes me stay pretty negative … since, it wouldn’t seem like I have a good prognosis (even though I am basing my projection on faulty logic).
So I decided that enough was enough; I was no longer going to focus on thoughts about my pain. I built myself a house, one room at a time … in my mind.
The very first room I built was to contain my pain: “In you go!” SLAM! Went the door.
This room is about my inability to stop thinking about my main problem – pain. It ruled my life! Not a moment went by that I wasn’t micro-managing my posture, my breathing, my pain level. I’d avoid any contact with people just because I felt I couldn’t cope with both fun and pain at the same time … because NOTHING was fun anymore! Plus I always end up explaining my pain or why I am not training the same anymore. I couldn’t have cared less about anyone else’s problems because I had my own BIG IMPORTANT problem!
Yet deep inside I heard a still and quiet voice whispering to me that I must resist these thoughts and I must contain the problem so that I could be free from constantly fighting it in my own failing strength and resolve. Had I prayed for healing? Many times. But I had yet to hand over my pain. I was still carrying it everywhere and I was still trying to figure out my cure.
I am addicted to my pain-problem.
So I built a SOLID wall around the pain and I left it to God. Now, before anyone thinks I am going to ignore medical science or turn my back on my current therapy (while I do believe in miraculous healing from God), let me be clear about what I mean by leaving it to God: My problem is thinking that it will never get better, that I can’t cope with it, that I keep making it worse, or that all the pressure is on *me* to hear the right “cure” among ALL the many voices who want to try and help me. You know, good-willed people telling me what has helped them. Now imagine each voice creates a wave and each wave builds to accelerate the storm. Handing something over to God is a way to calm the storm. Casting my care onto Him. Trusting Him to show me the best path *through* this. The room is somewhere I do not enter because I am needed elsewhere … in my latest building project: The Blessings Room.
When I creating the pain-room, I still found myself hovering about outside it “checking” for updates on how the pain mystery was coming along. When I had a day of bad pain, I’d get sucked back into thinking doom and gloom and being problem-focused again. I’d be a drain on the relationships around me, or I’d avoid them all together. So I needed a way to get my head off my problems and onto something positive.
The Blessings Room is a beautifully bright and airy place. Like the type of room you’d get facing the ocean and the breezing is flowing through the window lifting and parting the light curtains and leaving a refreshing morning smell behind. This is where I recount and thank God for all the blessings in my life. Actually, this all began from a suggestion by my therapist to say out loud 100 times every day “I am getting better”, even if I didn’t believe it at the time. By simply saying this, it was like I switched from being “down” to being “up”. I became more perceptive to good things. After I had simply said something I was actually able to acknowledge that I even had blessings in my life!
We all know there is great power in thought. But there is greater power in words! The Bible says Life and Death come through the tongue, so why not use your words for LIFE and start telling yourself that you are fit, healthy and happy, instead of wishing you weren’t overweight, unmotivated, and unhappy. Why do we feel the need to reinforce what is already clear – what we don’t want. Changing your words and your thoughts are the first steps to changing your actions. And prayer can help here, too. By praying, you aren’t changing God; you are allowing yourself to be changed!
Since visualising these various rooms (rooms where I do or do not enter) I have detached from my pain and have come out of my shell at last. Like a veil of darkness has lifted and I can finally see good again. And, to top it off, I have made my first friends here. I basically had been avoiding eye-contact with people because I was so negative and depressed, but now I am feeling so much more confident!
And what of my pain?
It’s still there, but I am having more good days than bad (over the last 2 weeks, that is), but when I am in pain, I have been able to be more positive, which is progress.
Exercise-wise, things are becoming enjoyable again. I may not be lifting weights, but I am swimming and doing some body weight movements. My body composition has certainly changed – I have got lighter and less toned – and that has been hard to accept, but I realise that I am more than my body fat % or the weights I use. Let’s just say that I constructed a special room for dealing with my tendency to get negative about my body. Every time I begin to entertain a negative thought about my body I try to imagine I am closing that door and walking out of that room and back into The Blessings Room 🙂
If you’re in pain today (physical or emotional), trust it to God and let Him into that room while you go and build yourself a blessings room.
“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” – Mark 11:23