Sunday, September 02, 2007

Dread--A Life Spoiler

I'm still here... Tom returned from California safely and he's now on his long string of days off and I'm now on my long string of not getting much accomplished. :)

So I'll repost this which I wrote years ago, something which often returns to my mind in a flash, causing me to adjust my thinking.

Have a great Sunday!


Speaking of Fear.... Dread is Fear's cousin.

Yeah, really.

Think about it. When you're dreading a dentist appointment, you may be fearing that the time in the waiting room will be long and boring like the last time. There'll be no good magazines. The hygienist will nag you about flossing and will take out her problem marriage on your gums. Or the dentist will get a little drill-happy when he fills your tooth. Etc. Etc.

What else do we dread?

How about driving through slow or insanity-prone traffic to work?
Or the long eight or ten hours at work~~the stressed-out co-workers,boss,consumers, patients, etc.? The paperwork? The meetings? The potential problems? The Muzak?
How about carpooling our kids or sitting through their recitals, sports or doctor's appointments?
Or paying bills? Cooking dinner? Cleaning house? Car repairs? Harsh weather?
Or shopping in crowded stores? Paying obscene prices for groceries or gas?
How about waiting in long lines?
Or buying clothes (and those ghastly-lit dressing rooms)?
How about discussing touchy subjects with our spouse? The grumpy neighbor? Or an upcoming visit with in-laws?

If you never dread anything , pour yourself an extra cup of coffee. You deserve it.

Fear is crippling and brings torment. If Dread is a form of fear, then dread brings torment, too. And who wants to spend their daily life being tormented?

Not me.

So years ago I asked God to deliver me from a vague, year-around sense of dread. To alert me when I begin to dread anything. I wanted to enjoy my everyday life because there was so much of it, and I knew I had to fling away anything which would spoil joy.

Now, when I catch myself dreading an upcoming situation, I take myself by the scruff of the neck and say, "Stop dreading things!" Then I purposely think of at least three good things which may come out of the situation, instead.

Examples, you ask?

Well, the time at the dentist office may be just what I need to slow down a busy day. I can spend the time meditating on God's goodness. Having my tooth filled will help me avoid worse pain in the future.
Or my shopping trip may result in a great sale.
Or I may be able to smile at a fellow-shopper who needs a smile desperately (when you've gone through depression in the past, you think of those things).
Or I may discover a new friend at my daughter's recital.
Or I can listen to my favorite teacher on cd while I'm driving in traffic.

The list is endless, one you can expertly add to with practice.

All I really have is Today, and I don't want my Today to be colored grey by dread.

I prefer the light of joyful anticipation.

Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.
Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.
Mary Hemingway



Saija said...

amen ... when worry starts to wiggle it's way into my thoughts, i turn it into prayer ... i'm not saying i am always successful right away, but if i keep at it - the end result will be LOTS of prayer and a worry (dread) free day! :o)

~Jennifer said...

This is apparently my year to confront fear in it's many forms, including dread, both by facing the situations that I dread and by watching my daughter learn to manage her own fear, which escalates to panic. So, I appreciate this post and your idea about catching yourself when you are dreading a situation and thinking of good things that could come. I'll use that!

Julee Ann said...

I have sincerely enjoyed and gleaned a lot from your last two posts. Lately, I have been dreading dying--and it's really beginning to tick me off. I am a believer and should be looking forward to meeting up with my creator, but I'm also human and simply enjoying my life on this earth. Thanks for your insight.