I am a master of catastrophizing. That’s a word, I assure you. I learned it in parent classes I took for my niece when she was in DBT, or dialectical behavioral training, for her mental health struggles. It was actually, um, disconcerting how much helpful information I learned for myself from those classes.
Catastrophizing is the tendency to see everything in black and white, to immediately assume the worst possible outcome and spend precious time and energy spinning out instead of SIMMERING DOWN, and proceeding with reasonable caution and cautious optimism. Isn’t it amazing how quickly we can assume the worst, and spiral into a vortex of impending disaster and doom?
It’s extra “special” that I am so good at catastrophizing, since I’m a Christian who professes to believe that God has good things planned for me, that He is working even the bad things out for His good, and that He walks alongside me in the hard times. I say I believe He is more interested in who I am and who I am becoming, and not in what I achieve.
That’s what I say, but I still spend far too much time panicking and freaking out, careening wildly between frantically trying to fix everything myself and anticipating the worst.
I was doing just that yesterday. We are in the final days of preparation for a church event for which I am nominally responsible (nominally because, you know, it’s really God’s bidness) that is shaping up to be, shall we say, more intimate than we had hoped for. More intimate to a degree that is possibly not, um, self-sustaining.
The more prudent approach that would protect your perception of how awesome I am would be to tell you all about it in a few weeks, after we make it work and we’ve learned lessons and I can tie a pretty bow on it. That would be prudent. But after an exhausting self-centered day yesterday of worrying about what people will think OF ME, I awoke this morning with a clear understanding that once again, IT AIN’T ABOUT ME. (Apparently a lesson I need to have repeated frequently.)
So I’m confessing my crappy attitude now, publicly, to do absolutely everything I can to get myself out of my own way before I even know how He’s going to work it out, because this is where the rubber hits the road.
(Anybody counting cheesy cliches in this post? I hope not.)
This event isn’t about me, and it isn’t about attendance numbers. It’s about what the Lord has planned for the women who He knows are coming. It isn’t about my leadership or reputation, it’s about the message we’ll hear and the stories we’ll share. If worst comes to worst, it won’t be about me being embarrassed but it will be about me being faithful, following His leading, and doing the best I can AFTER centering myself in prayer, in His Word, and in the counsel of others. It will be about me trying to follow as much of Him as I understand with as much of myself as I can.
You know what I get out of that approach?
A clear head for decisions.
A calm mind for creative problem-solving.
An open heart, ready to perceive the best way forward.
You know what I got out of yesterday’s approach?
A self-indulgent pity party, party favors not included.
Shoulder muscles so tight you could bounce a quarter off of them, and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.
You know what my family got out of yesterday?
They deserved better.
Today is better. I am not the center of the universe. You know what? Neither are you. Thank goodness!
So simmer down with me, huh? He’s got this.
How about you, been spinning out lately? What helped? If you’re a Christian, what verse from Scripture helps you remember Who’s in charge?