What are you saying to yourself about this wait you are in?
I am not asking what you're saying to other people about this season. That matters, but it doesn't matter as much as the brutal honesty of your inner dialogue. That's where the power is, for better and for worse. In my season as a widow, I learned this intimately.
I found myself saying things like "I cannot do this." "I will not survive this." "My children are scarred." "We will not recover."
Depression is like this. It becomes a voice of its own, but quite cleverly, it sounds just enough like your own voice that you can begin to think it might be right.
I needed to learn to speak differently. The differences were subtle and often silent, but they mattered. I began to encourage myself with words like, "I will do this today." "I can give my children what they need." "My children will be men of compassion with a story to tell." "I can never make up for the loss of their dad, but I am a really great mom." "I will do the next thing, and I will do my best."
It took training. And, quite frankly, sometimes it was easier to be negative. The negative voice gave me permission to give up. But when I was really honest with myself, that's not the permission I wanted. I wanted and needed permission to stay in the game, to defy the odds, to win this fight.
Your thoughts are more powerful than you think. They are more powerful than you can imagine. I think we can all agree that so much of life isn't about what happens to you—it's about how you think about it.
Would you say that your mind is controlled by the Spirit of God, consistent with thoughts that are honoring, constructive and positive? Or would you say your inner dialogue is littered with thoughts that are negative, critical and destructive? Which of these voices sounds more like you?
—I am tired of waiting.
—This is pointless.
—I hate this stupid job and my stupid life.
—Nothing will ever change.
—I cannot get ahead.
—God has forgotten me.
—This will always be a problem.
—This will always be my problem.
What could it look like if you sent yourself a different message?
—Waiting is difficult, but I can do hard things.
—My life matters, even as I wait.
—I am not on hold or benched or sidelined.
—My mind is full of life, and my life is full of possibilities.
—I have divine patience to wait for what will happen next.
—I believe that God is in this, at work in ways I cannot see.
—In his season, I will make a difference with God's help.
Here is the beauty of your inner dialogue: God can change the way you think. Thoughts have power; if repeated in our minds often enough, we begin to believe them as truth—whether they are true or not. You can let God change you by changing the way you think, by transforming your mind (Rom. 12:2). Choose some thoughts to tell yourself regularly, whether you believe them yet or not. (You don't have to feel courageous to tell yourself you are.) You do not have to align your thoughts, but you can ask God to change your thinking.
If trust is a choice, what could it look like if you choose to trust? What if your circumstances are not an indication of God's heart for you, whether He loves you and whether He's with you? What if the situation you find yourself in is not an indication of what God is up to? What if you choose to believe He is for you, even when it feels like He is not? What if you chose to believe He loves you, even when it feels like He doesn't?
Imagine how that could change everything.
You may not be able to push the timeline or change your circumstances, but you can change the way you think about them. And as you do so, you may become a new creation. You may have a deepening awareness—an awakening, if you will—that God was with you all along. And that awareness, that becoming, may have been the reason for this wait all along.
"It's not the load that breaks you down. It's the way you carry it." —Lou Holtz.
Tricia Lott Williford is a remarried widow, author of four books, writer, teacher, reader and thinker. Thousands of people join her each morning for a cup of coffee as they sign online to read today's funny, poignant stories that capture the fleeting moments of life. Tricia lives near Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two sons, and right this moment she is probably doodling in the margins of an overdue library book. You can get to know Tricia through her daily posts at tricialottwilliford.com.
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