The “What If” Syndrome

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Do you have a physical problem right now that will not let you enjoy your life? Is there an emotional issue that is draining your energy? Are these concerns occupying your mind day and night? Do you toss things around in your mind and play the“what If”game? You know the game…What if this pain turns out to be…?”“What if I end up alone?” “What if I lose everything?” on and on and on until you feel you are going crazy.

If you answered yes to these questions I want to share something that might help you. Get up close to the computer screen so your nose is almost touching it. Read what it says. Could you read it? Why not? Wasn’t it because everything was out of focus? Well, that’s exactly what happens when we focus too closely on our problems.

Whenever we are emotionally entangled in a problem it is almost impossible to see things objectively. We can’t find the solution to our dilemma because when our emotions are rattled they affect our ability to be objective. It took a while for me to get into the habit of taking myself out of the picture when trying to solve my problems. Stepping back from the situation lets us get a different perspective on what is going on. Stepping back helps us see things clearer and helps us to recognize the things we can change, and the things we have no control over.

Next time you are having trouble coming up with the answer to your problem just consider how you would help someone else with the same situation. You would probably give them advice from an objective and detached viewpoint. That is exactly what we must do when we are trying to solve our own problems. It takes discipline not to focus on what affects us personally, but it can be done.

There are times when trying not to focus on the problem causes you to think more about it because the mind is unable to process two things at the same time. Anytime you concentrate on not worrying about your pain, the pain is the only thing you are going to think about. That is why the bible tells us to reflect on what is good, about those things that encourage and uplift us.

The best way to get a negative thought out of your mind and stop worrying is to replace it with a positive one. Get involved in a fun activity. Find someone to help. Take a break from the mental gymnastics and stop scrutinizing your predicament. Whenever I’ve continually kept an eye on a concern to see if it is improving I can’t focus on anything else. This finally hit me…Faith does not monitor. Doubt monitors.

Once we have turned over our problems to God we have to let go of the reins and let Him take over. We’ve got to stop looking to see if the problem is getting better and get it out of our mind, get on with our life-without stopping to check for a pulse. Worry doesn’t change anything but the quality of our life. There are some things that are totally out of our control. Figuring out the things that are ours to handle and those that are beyond our capabilities is a good way to relieve ourselves of a lot of stress. Letting go of whatever you can’t do anything about and allowing God to handle the rest is highly recommended. Worrying about things that are beyond your control will wear you out physically and emotionally.

Our bodies need rest to function efficiently. Worry is not a good prescription for a peaceful night’s sleep. We can’t manage the activities of our hectic days as we should when anxiety keeps us awake all night. A troubled heart and weary mind tend to view the world through blurred vision, and good judgment is adversely affected when the body and mind are fatigued. From now on, right before you go to bed, whisper a little prayer of thanks to remind yourself that when you give your troubles to God, your life is in the best of hands.

Do not be anxious. Do not be afraid. Lay your head on your pillow and close your eyes knowing that you have a faithful watchman who never sleeps.

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