Can you imagine if we had to introduce ourselves by the way we most often think?
“Hi! I’m Worst Case Scenario Lady,” is probably what I would say.
I wish it were, “Hi! I’m the Lady that Fully Trusts in Jesus About Everything,” but, unfortunately, it would not be accurate. Because while I am a follower of Christ, I confess honestly that my day-to-day complete trust in Him—over every aspect of my life—is lacking.
The reason I know it’s lacking is because I do this weird thing in my mind about most situations. It sounds like this:
What would I do if someone broke into my house right now?
What if this person doesn’t like me?
What if this is not an ordinary illness?
What if this tough conversation ruins our friendship?
What if I’ve worked so hard on this and my boss hates it?
What if my child never learns this math concept and has to stay in the second grade forever?
What would I do if someone came into this store and tried to rob it?
What if I get lost driving to this new place and wind up driving the wrong way down a one-way street?
What if this guy walking behind me in the parking lot tries to attack me?
What if I get rejected and am totally embarrassed?
Do any of these sounds familiar? Does anyone else think like this? Or am I nuts?
My husband doesn’t think like this. Maybe it’s because he’s a 6-foot-9-inch-tall world traveled male. But besides all that, he generally has a positive outlook on life. He doesn’t go through life thinking we might go broke or worried he might get attacked by a psychopath at a strip mall.
I’d propose that it’s a female thing—because we are the more vulnerable sex in some ways—but I have some friends that are very optimistic about everything.
So, I’ve tried to analyze this “Worst Case Scenario” way of thinking in order to break out of it. I’ve realized a few things that I want to share in case it helps any other “Worst Case Scenario Ladies” like me.
Cause #1: Fear:
We fear the unknown. We fear the things we read about in the news. Tragedy befalls the people we know and love, and we feel there is no way we can be immune to the same things eventually happening to us. Maybe your fears go back to your childhood, like mine? Being a latchkey kid, I’d imagine what I’d do if someone broke into my house when I was home alone. (Thank you Macaulay Culkin for giving me some viable strategies.) And because my mom had survived some horrible things in her childhood and young adulthood, I was aware at an early age of some of the evils out in the world.
Proverbs 28:1 says,
“The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Sometimes I think about this verse when I’m afraid. Hey, wait a minute—I’m not a wicked person! But how foolish it is to be scared when no one is coming after you?
The enemy wants us to be afraid. Fear cripples and paralyzes us, preventing us form doing what God has called us to do. But God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). So let us pray: Oh, Lord, please perfect Your love in me that I might not fear!
Cause #2: Desire to be in Control:
The reason why we often think about worst case scenarios is because a.) we think we won’t be disappointed if it happens since we thought of it already [It’s like, “Boo-yeah! In your face, Future!”], b.) we feel like we can be prepared for it. I’ve found that the source of this thinking is a desire to be in control.
As Christians, we love to say, “God is in control.” But when we try to control our emotions by imaging the worst case scenario, are we really trusting that God is the one who is control? Or are we trying to put ourselves in the driver’s seat?
Here is a sobering verse:
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)
If I am constantly thinking about the worst possible thing happening, what does that make me? A person who doesn’t trust in God completely. A person imprisoned by fear. How awful is that?
God says, in Jeremiah 29:11—
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
This is a verse I have loved since I first became a Christian. I have shared it with new believers, writing it neatly in letters and birthday cards for years. And the sad irony is that, my tendency to, as the old expression goes, “wait for the other shoe to drop,” demonstrates that I don’t believe this verse to be true in my life. Ouch.
So What’s the Solution?
The big lesson God is teaching me this year is how important my thoughts are. Proverbs 4:23 says,
Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (Good News Translation)
When I find myself stuck in my own head, I often meditate on Philippians 4:8. I say to myself, “Okay, Angie, what is true? What is noble? What is right? What is pure? Lovely? Admirable? Excellent? Praiseworthy?”
JESUS is usually all I can come up with, so I just think about Him. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” I’ll say to myself. I’ll think about who Christ is, and what He said and did. And I feel a sense of peace. I get unstuck from the thought prison I had myself in.
2 Corinthians 10:5 shows us that we can actually make our thoughts obedient to Jesus:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I need to get in this discipline and exercise daily. How about you? As women, we tend to analyze and ponder things for far too long.
What if instead, when a negative thought pops into our head, we take it captive right away and make it obedient to Christ? Feeling fearful? Take it captive and make it obedient to Christ. Envious or entertaining lies from the enemy? Take those thoughts captive and make it obedient to Christ. What freedom if we allowed Him to obliterate every negative thought that enters our mind!
In closing, I want to tell you about my nine-pound Maltipoo.
His name is “Thunder,” AKA “Pup Pup,” AKA “Thunder Pup.” This little dog will hear a noise outside at night, and do you know what he does? He runs to our sliding glass door with a scrappy, “Let me at ’em” attitude until I let him out. I’ll open the door and he bolts out into the darkness, with no regard for what might be out there. His little self barks boldly to scare off any possible intruders, and then he paces around the yard like a macho man.
I want to be fearless like that.
And I think in time, in drawing near to God…in letting the truth of His word truly soak into every square inch of my heart…in taking my thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ, worst case scenarios won’t come so easily to me any more.