I have to work really hard to control my thoughts.If I'm not careful my mind could replay the tragic events of this summer in an endless loop. The thoughts are assaulting. What could I have done different? What if we had known this? What if we had done that? The smallest thing will trigger it. Hearing about a person diagnosed with cancer, driving past the hospital on my way to work, seeing a person in a wheelchair. Truth is, it doesn't take much. I could beat myself up over and over again for an end result I know wasn't my fault. But still, I wonder if there was anything, from the smallest of decisions, I could've made differently that might have saved my husbands life. It's natural to have those feelings but I try to work hard not to accept them. I have to tell myself over and over I did the best I could with what I knew. I have to tell myself that medical things happened that were beyond my control. I have to tell myself that life happens, and bad things sometimes happen, and the impact can be devastating. I have to tell myself I will probably never know the answer to "why", even though that's a hard one for me to accept.
Our life events shape and mold us. They leave their mark whether we want them to or not. Sometimes I find myself being pulled back into the events of my past in a non-healthy way. Instead of focusing on the amazing 9 1/2 years I had with my husband, my mind tends to wander back to the horrible last 6 weeks.
Have you ever felt this way? A past event keeps making its presence known. The memories inflict pain and you desperately wish you could go back and change what was. Trust me, I understand. Here's a few things I've tried to focus on when I start to feel that way.
1. Let go of the guilt. Taking on guilt doesn't solve anything. It just makes things worse. I've told myself repeatedly "I did the best I could with what I knew." And I fought for my husbands life endlessly. There's nothing about it I could've changed unless I knew the future in advance, which of course, we never do.
2. Take control of your thoughts. Your mind can not only play tricks on you it can be downright brutal to you. Your mind loves to tell you of all your failures. Kindly ignore the lies and remind yourself of the truth. Even if you may not feel that truth fully yet. The truth is simple, you did your best. The result was beyond your control.
3. Focus on the future. When I get to a place where I'm tortured by the past I try to look forward. It sounds simple enough but it's changed my life. I've written before that I can't run the race before me if I'm turned around and focused on what's behind me. When I start to feel like I'm focusing too much on what happened I make a conscious effort to put the trauma of the past behind me and focus on what's ahead. I make a choice to be the best me I can be moving forward.
God never intended for us to be so damaged by what has happened that we can no longer look forward to what will be.
Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19
Don't allow yourself to get sucked back into what was. To what you can't control. To what you can't change. Let that go. Look forward instead, with anticipation, of what's to come.
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