Like you, I can find it hard to control my thoughts. Not always, just sometimes. But when it happens, it is miserable. A tsunami of useless, junk thinking. With me, much of it concerns regret, second-guessing, and discontent. The “what ifs” and “whys” and “if onlys” we all know so very well. Aren’t they tormenting? Don’t they drain all joy and ambition from life? And, perhaps, most of all, they sap hope. Those in a quagmire aren’t looking for much more than minute by minute survival. It is no way to live, is it?
So, like you, I try to get on top of this destructive pattern as it periodically attempts to take over my life. I have learned to do several things- in no particular order. First, I remind myself again and again that this thinking leads in only one direction – downward and downward again. To a place of little light and little God – at least, not in a sense worthy of His name – a pit of regret and bitterness. I encapsulate all that with a phrase I repeat over and over again: “This way lies the abyss.”…. And that is no place for a Christian to take up even temporary residence! I preach to myself not just the truth of heaven, but the truth of hellish ways.
I “claim” joy and peace. If Christ died to bequeath them to me, then they are mine by right. And because they are mine by his bequest, they are mine come what may. He has more ability to give them to me than I have ability not to receive them. I stick my faith to that crucial sticking point. That allows faith and hope to revive, even a little. And a little bit of faith and hope are so much better than none.
Then I continue to press His ability to revive me and apply blessings to me, in prayer. Again and again I remind Him of His Self-chosen responsibilities. And I go on living for another day, but with a shade more of hope, of joy. Of course, He eventually revives my soul. But never as quickly as I hope. And never for always – not yet. And I am sixty now. And the battle continues to rage. At my age? With this intensity? Yes!
Why? I do know and I don’t know. All-pervasive sin both within and without, of course. But fighting this hard, to the finish line? I just didn’t expect it. But I do know that what I have learned, and am learning, is to live and endure, come what may. Often, with joy. And, honestly, that is a lot, given the nature of life in a sinful world. Perseverance. The Perseverance of the Saints. Like you, and – more importantly – like God, I consider that the main thing. Ultimately, the only thing.