We have literally thousands of thoughts about the future every day. “Hmm, what do we need at the store?” “The girls have a dental appointment next week.” “What’s for supper tonight?” Thinking about the future is normal, natural and unavoidable!
We make projections into the future with our goals, hopes and plans. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But when we allow fear and anxiety to attach themselves to our projections, that’s something else.
Often our current reality isn’t matching what we projected–and we’re not even aware of the emotional drain. The constant tension between what we projected or expected has a cumulative effect that leeches our emotional energy.
My Epiphany About Energy Leaks
You may know that I recently had sinus surgery, the culmination (or so I thought) of months of sinus pain and problems. I had been sick for so long that I thought surgery would be The Answer. I somehow thought that I would feel SO much better after surgery, when the structural problems had been corrected. I missed the memo that recovery from sinus surgery is both messy and painful. I’m rather amazed that I didn’t even Google it before the procedure! The crazy part is that in the week after surgery I was frustrated with my recovery. I had complications and an extra doctor visit, resulting in a setback in the process.
After the doctor visit, I had an epiphany. It dawned on me that it was going to take a while to feel better. I gave myself permission to say “this is normal for recovery” when it hurt. And you know what? That helped me feel better almost immediately.
I had been wasting valuable energy by being disappointed by my unrealistic expectations.
How to Stop Emotional Energy Leaks
These energy drains won’t stop themselves. We have to notice and make some decisions.
How much time and energy do we spend wondering how things will work out?
How often do we project that we won’t have enough? Enough time, enough money, enough “me”?
When these emotional energy leaks accumulate, it prevents us from staying present. We can’t even create the future we want because we’re so tied up with our negative projections about it.
“There’s been a lot of tragedy in my life. At least half of it actually happened.” ~ Mark Twain
Neither hope nor despair can predict the future with 100% certainty. So why do we act like despair is the sure deal?
Try this: Just for today, when you catch yourself thinking of the future in any way, attach hope to your plans. You’ll be able to tell if you’re projecting anxiety on your future because of your emotions and feelings. Stop and choose to change your thoughts. Instead of going on despair auto-pilot, change course.
Why not think “what if it all works out?” Why not have an attitude of faith? Notice how often you’re assuming the worst, and turn that around to assume the best.
It takes some effort, but it does get easier. It’s really a habit of thinking. Listen to your heart and let it slow you down. Ask God to help your projections line up with what He says about you, not with what pops into your head.
Stop those emotional energy leaks so you can put the energy to good use elsewhere–like staying present in today, and looking forward with hope.
Please share your thoughts…
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