wHave you ever caught yourself in a downward spiral. Starting to drown. Your hands reaching up to hang onto something, anything at all as you slip farther down?
This was me, August 2020.
Let me paint the picture for you. My mother had a stroke in August of 2020 which was devastatingly hard.
It’s Sunday morning. We had just come off of a fabulous weekend, and I allowed myself some time to sleep in and rest. As soon as I opened my eyes, I saw a text from my sister-in-law’s sister. She worked at the hospital my mom was in and since none of us were allowed to be there due to COVID, she had been a God-send to our family.
The text said that my mom had woken up with chest pains and shortness of breath and they were getting ready to perform an EKG.
My heart dropped out of my chest.
I was immediately sent into pure panic.
I started to worry about the entire situation and went into a downward spiral. I literally felt like I was going to throw up. I immediately went to, she’s going to die and we aren’t going to be there because we can’t be there.
I felt the dizziness and the nausea start to overwhelm me. I had been sitting in that for about 10 minutes just trying to keep the panic at bay but not be able to because of my thoughts.
And that’s when it hit me. The only way out of this spiral was to shift my thoughts. The only way I could get through this with a clear mind would be to take those negative thoughts captive.
I mean, talk about leveling up your mindset to get through. I had to pull out every trick in the box to pick myself up and push myself through.
Because guys, it’s all mindset. It’s all mindset. How we handle life, how we experience life. It’s all in our minds, it dictates our feelings, and dictates our reality.
I said to myself out loud, something I learned from Tony Robbins years ago, “What am I focusing on?”
And as soon as I said that I knew — I was focused on the worst-case scenario. I was focused on what my biggest fears were. I was focused on all the negatives that could happen.
So I immediately started to rework those thoughts.
Those three questions have the power to change everything instantly. I was able to quickly realize what I was focused on and quickly change it.
I changed my story and I changed my state.
Because there I was barely shuffling down the hallway, moving really slowly, just wracked in fear and I knew I had to change this. I couldn’t stay here.
So how could I rework this thinking?
Well I started with the reality, what I knew was going on — they were calling for an EKG. Ok, maybe this is a gift? Maybe this is God working, so how can I see this as a gift?
My mind immediately went to what we had all been struggling with over the past few months. It was the question most people caring for aging parents ask at one point or another: Where is she going to go next? Is she going to stay with one of her kids, is she going to be in assisted living? How do we make this call when we don’t even know what’s going on?
And instantaneously a thought came to my mind — if she had been at home and if this had happened this morning, it would have been a call to 911, an ambulance and she would’ve ended up in the ER.
And maybe this is God’s gift. Maybe this is God showing me that if she had been home and not in the care of nurses and doctors this could have been so much worse.
Ok. I could do this. I could stay calm if I kept those thoughts circling in my mind instead of letting the negative ones overtake me as I waited for the next word.
And at the end of my waiting? The EKG came back great!
I love how God gives us these experiences along the way. To help us in the journey, to help us when we’re grappling with decisions and we don’t know what direction to go in. God is always there to give us a sign or an experience to nudge us in whatever direction he wants us to go in.
So — when you find yourself spiraling downward and into an unhealthy pattern of thoughts, ask yourselves these questions.
What am I focused on?
What is my story?
What am I doing with my body?