by Kit Hinkle
I mentioned on Monday that today I would offer a little bit deeper incite on turning around a bad day. I’ve covered this earlier on A Widow’s Might using a series I titled “A Bout with Doubt”. It’s a five part series, and if you struggle with trying to get yourself out of a pattern of discouraging thoughts day after day, please try reading it. The five parts have an introduction, and four steps to fighting your self-doubt: recognizing habitual tears, observing the habit, replacing the habit with truth, and giving yourself freedom to grieve honestly. Reading through them might bring you something to help you bring yourself into brighter days.
Some twelve-step programs to all sort of recovery (alcohol abuse, codependency, overeating, enabling alcoholics, addictions) use not only the twelve steps but some helpful little catch phrases to remind its members of some healthy habits to help them with recovery. Even though grief is natural and not the same as an addiction or behavior we have to stop, excessive worry and anxiety which can sometimes be the root of a bad day is not natural and from God, and learning to stop it can help you.
If your bad day started with waking up late, or some circumstance that set you back, perhaps it’s worry or anxiety, or perhaps it’s guilt or anger or lack of forgiveness that keeps you from having the positive attitude you need to get your day back in line.
Here’s a catchphrase that these twelve step programs use…. Act as if. Now please be careful to understand that “Act as if” means within obedience to God above. Here’s how it works. You’re having a bad day. It got started because something made you feel inferior/guilty/inadequate/lonely/hurt. Whatever it is you’re feeling is causing you to freeze up—paralyzed by your obsessive thoughts over your feelings. You can’t seem to stop yourself and you can’t push ahead.
On Monday, I described a path to dealing honestly with what’s bothering you—usually what’s bothering you is a lie from the enemy and surrendering to God and inviting the Holy Spirit to clean house can cleanse you so well, you’ll feel dynamite after you’ve faced it!
On Tuesday, I recognized that sometimes we’re just at that point where we’re not ready. Maybe you just need time to heal. Maybe a distraction can help, so there are funny movies and videos that will help you through that rough time.
Today, I want to offer another tool—“Act as if”. You can’t do it forever. Eventually you must surrender what’s bothering you to God in order to move on. But sometimes you need time. I think of it like waiting for that scab to form so that the wound can heal on the inside. For me that was a few years. In the first year of losing Tom, there were certain feelings I wasn’t ready to face straight on. But the pain—oh the pain!
“Act as if” means take whatever negative obsession is causing you anxiety and paralyzing your day and reverse it. If you’re feeling lonely and unmotivated, what would you do if you weren’t lonely and you felt a surge of motivation? Clean your house? Start a workout plan? Learn how to apply makeup like a professional? Get a new hairstyle? Clean out your garage?
Then, you simply “Act as if”! You get up, move yourself to the garage, and no matter how hard it is to start to organize and clean, you do it: one item at a time, until you suddenly look around, and your garage is… wow! Clean! Suddenly, you feel a bit better, don’t you? You acted as if you weren’t so down, and now you feel better!
I did this over and over in the first year after losing Tom. I have to tell you, my friends wondered about me. I think they expected me to sit and be sad all day every day. And I did sit and I was sad many, many days. But truth is, God placed in me a desire to be productive, and it makes me happy to be productive. So I learned that when my sadness got me down for too long of a period and I was going day after day of bad days, I had to stop myself and “Act as if”.
Please know, ladies. I occasionally try to put in my posts a caution. All of us go through our loss differently. Many widows LOVE being motivated by ideas of how to move forward. If you are in a place where you feel led to spend time praying and healing in a slower way, and your not wired in a way where getting out and doing things makes you feel better, perhaps this isn’t the way God’s called you to heal for the moment. It’s a tool, among many that God gives us along the way.
Blessings and I pray for lots of better days ahead for you!