Sunday, July 28, 2013

Navigating the "What Ifs"

I'm sitting here at Busch Stadium, surrounded by 40,000+ people.  And still, this anxiety plagues me.  This fear that I will run into "him."  It is ridiculous, the power this has over me. 

As much as I "preach" about avoiding the "what ifs" in life, I struggle.  I may have conquered fear, as a whole.  Or rather, God delivered me from the powerful grip it held on me.  But that doesn't mean I don't fall prey to fear and anxiety from time to time.

This used to happen a lot.  Actually, each time I left my house, I was filled with an irrational fear of running into that man.  And as God worked in my heart and freed me from bondage to fear, it happened less and less.

But lately, I find that fear creeping back in.  I go to the grocery store, any in the St. Louis area, and I worry. I find myself thinking "What if he's here?" 

Usually, due to diligent effort on my part, I can quickly cast aside those thoughts and fears.

But tonight, I found myself terrified.  I was so convinced if I turned my head in any direction, he would be there.  It seems irrational, I know.  What are the chances that the box I'm sitting in would be near him, even if he was at the same game?  I'm no statistician, but I can reason out that the odds are slim.

And yet, panic wells up inside of me.  And tonight, instead of quickly submitting those thoughts to God, letting Christ take them captive, I stopped myself halfway through a "what if" scenario, that God-willing never plays itself out!

When I caught myself, I immediately sent a chat to Kris, explaining what was going on.  He prayed for me, and the fear began to fade.  What I don't like is that I found myself so far into the what ifs before I caught myself.  Which means that I must not be on guard.  There must be something lacking in my battle plan that would allow me to let my mind wander so far.

I feel like the enemy has been pressing hard these last few days.  I'm not sleeping well, and the other night, I was really struggling to sleep.  I can't remember all the details but as I often do when I can't sleep, I began praying.  In the midst of this, Satan began shooting darts at my mind, reminding me of the affair.  I had to take those thoughts captive too, and eventually fell asleep.  

That night, I had a dream that shook me up.

It wasn't even the dream so much as the way I felt when I woke up.  In the dream, I was having an affair.  I began kissing another man, and in the dream, it was thrilling.  I enjoyed it.  When I woke up, it was so vivid, and I could still feel that excitement.  I was so upset by this dream.
It was just too real.  And it brought back too many memories.  Memories of a time where I lived out an affair.  It made me mad, to wake up feeling like I was still in the past.  And worse still was the feeling of ecstasy it evoked in me.  I was able to immediately surrender that, but the entire experience just left me feeling disgusted with myself.

And I know that feeling that way, and staying there, is dangerous.  It's toxic.  I've found myself using this word toxic a lot lately.  Like nicotine, drugs, or excessive amounts if alcohol, negative thoughts are toxic.  To your mind and your spirit.  It is so important to recognize these toxic thoughts, and surrender them to Christ.  They will only destroy us.  

**I began writing this post three nights ago, while I was bored to tears at a baseball game.  

Hey, what can I say?  I'm an Indiana girl, and basketball will always have my heart.  

When I was reading back through it tonight, in light of my last two posts (REALLY Loving When It Hurts and A Husband Speaks Out) that were both written AFTER this, I realized that it was just all too convenient.  

My struggles with giving into the fear and the what if line of thinking, rather than stopping it before it began to grow.  Kris' struggles that very night I started writing this.  It was all connected.  It hit me tonight, as I was thinking through it all, how much calmer I have been since Thursday night.  And I realize that it is because my first instinct was to surrender to God the pain I felt after learning of Kris' most recent indulgence and reclaim any ground that the devil thought he had gained through it all.  I have been filled with an overwhelming sense of hope and peace and comfort.  Comfort from God absolutely; but also and from so many friends and readers who have prayed for me and sent encouraging emails these last few days.

Each day I become more and more convinced that there is no good that can come from indulging in negative thinking.

Fear and negative thinking are poison to our soul.  I used to live with both, allowing my heart and mind to be consumed by them.  I have since learned how vital it is to allow God's perfect love to drive out my fear, and to counter Satan's lies (negative thoughts) with God's truth.  Living and walking in that freedom has changed the way I view everything.  

I'm not perfect.  

I don't always get it right.  

Some nights, like at the ball game, it creeps in on me before I know what's going on.  But that is a good reminder that I need to put on the armor of God, and LEAVE it on!  Without being armed for battle, we cannot be surprised when we are wounded from the attacks that come.  And they WILL come.  There is a reason that Ephesians 6 speaks about continuing to stand after a battle has been won. 

"Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil.  Then after the battle you will still be standing firm." - Ephesians 6:13 NLT

I always hear that verse as "When you are done standing, KEEP STANDING!"  It's not enough to just get through one battle here, and another there.  There is a war going on for our souls, for our families, and for our marriages.  We MUST stay armed, and we must STAND FIRM.  Or as we learned in VBS all last week, STAND STRONG!

There is a song out right now--shocking, I know--that speaks to what happens when we trust God with those things I wrote about above.  

He IS faithful.  


He always shows up.  

He always provides what we need.  

He is always there.  

He will never let us go.

At times, we can be standing at that crossroads, between fear and faith.  Between doubt and belief.  We don't always know the answer, or where to turn.  We don't know how to take that next step, or sometimes even the next breath.  But there is always a way.  And amid the confusion and the pain, the fear and the doubt, if we cry out to Him, God will help us find it.


  1. Putting on the armor of God. Such wonderful advice! It applies to any situation, any life, an and all of our 'what ifs'.
    This is my first time visiting (from A Proverbs 31 Wife) and I admire what you are sharing here. May God bless you and your marriage.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! That armor of God is truly important to have on all the time, not just when we think of it or when it is convenient.