I love to daydream about places or trips, or just family events. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to come into a big sum of money and have the freedom to just go wherever I want and enjoy life without restrictions. My imagination allows me to feel the wind on my face, or the sand between my toes, or the crisp air while hiking through the woods. It is so enjoyable to allow my mind to escape to these little "mind vacations"! I think it is healthy to let these positive thoughts run free.
But what do you do when your imagination takes you to places of tragedy and deep pain? I have had that happen a lot lately and instead of happy, joyful feelings, instead I am left with anxiety and fear. I think part of the reason is because of all the negativity in the world and it is affecting my thoughts. My imagination starts playing out scenarios of one of my loved ones on a ventilator dying of Covid, and we can't go in and even say good-bye. Or that groups of violent protesters attack my husband while he is driving his Fed Ex truck and beat and kill him. These are just a couple of the story lines that play out in my head. I don't start out worrying about these things happening, but rather a imagined detailed story conjures up in my mind and I find myself adding onto it until I realize I have knots in my stomach and full fledged fear has engulfed me. I try to analyze why I am thinking these things so I can stop these story lines from playing out in the future. Part of it is because these are true possibilities that can indeed become realization, but the probability is extremely low. The anxiety, worry and stress that comes from these imagined stories is very real though. And I don't like it!! So I have to "nip it in the bud" as Barney Fife would say.
As soon as I realize that my thoughts are going down that road of imagining tragedy and heartache then I stop and try to start imagining a desired trip or event. I do have control over where I allow my imagination to run. But if I find my thoughts wanting to creep back to the negative ones then I stop and pray, and give those fears and worries to God. I ask Him to remove them from me, fill me with his peace, and give him all the control over future events. The prayer always works to keep me out of those dark places in my mind. Satan wants to fill me with despair, but God wants me to give it all to him and allow His presence to be in my thoughts.
Do you imagine horrible things that stir up worry and fear? What do you do about them? Is the news and reports of current events fueling your imagination? If so, then shut it off! You can find out everything you need to know about what is going on in our world in a few short headlines and then turn it off. Dedicate more time to reading some scripture, journaling, and prayer. I have found that listening to uplifting music really helps keep my mind focused on positive thoughts. I hope you will find something to keep your imagination running toward dreams and not nightmares. God Bless, Jennifer