“Well, I thought,” the three most dangerous words ever to enter my thinking pattern. Any word in the dictionary could follow that phrase, and I would still end up in the same place, making assumptions without all the facts.
One of the worst possible outcomes of any situation is assumed. It holds no merit because it never existed. Oh, how my imagination loves to cook up the most unpleasant in even the best situations! To make myself feel better, I blame it on the creativity of the writer within me. In reality, it is the dangerous swirl of circular thinking that takes me down a dark winding road.
I do admit, on many occasions, this has had a negative effect not only on my mind but my overall well-being. A hazardous place to be is in a worrying state of mind, especially when one makes a habit of focusing on the same thought consistently.
Let’s make it clear that circular thinking does not include times when something needs to be mulled over or instances which require much thought before a decision is made. I am referring to those cycles when the thought patterns repeatedly make assumptions about a resulting outcome. “Maybe if I did this, then that would happen,” or “He hasn’t responded to my email, I’m sure I’ve made him angry,” and phrases of this nature.
I’m not a professional, but I believe many factors induce this thinking pattern. Societal influences, childhood memories, or having a nervous personality, to name a few. In my younger days, in high school, I developed an undeniable fear of public speaking. This was ironic because I had been part of a choir before high school. There were even times when I sang a solo. Yet, something triggered a genuine fear, a circular thinking pattern, when speaking before my peers.
The fear was so intense that I would take a zero on an assignment, not prepare, and skip the class. I had repeated visions, all made up in my mind, that whatever I was supposed to do would be a failure. Another aspect of circular thinking is going back over something again and again. Now, it’s too late to fix my state of mind at 16. However, at my current age, I can face fear and flourish in it.
How I reacted as a young girl is a part of who I am today, and I would not change any of it. Is the fear still there? Absolutely! However, I am old enough to see it, face it and grow because of it. Over the last several years since becoming a spiritual director, I have had to laugh at where God has taken me. Part of my ministry has evolved in speaking engagements, putting myself on video saying prayers, and having a passion for spiritual writing.
So, what do you do when God places your biggest fear repeatedly on your path? You pray through it and conquer it. It is through these events that I have learned to remove fear from my mindset, all with my mighty God! I’m not perfect; after all, it was in the act of circular thinking that this post originated.
Thoughts of this nature are going to happen. It’s in knowing how to shut them down where faith and growth play a part. The only circular thinking I allow myself to remain is knowing that I am in God, and God is in me! That phrase is one I will never tire of repeating! God is in me, and I am in God!