Defusing Emotional Bombs
It has been said that if we repeatedly find ourselves in places where we don’t want to go, it’s our thinking that has led us there.
Emily can relate.
All she has done is mislaid a report she knows would be very helpful in a meeting scheduled for today. Yet her mind immediately goes to: I must have thrown it away. It’s just like me to throw away something important. There’s no use looking for it. I’m so stupid.
Emily enters the meeting unprepared when all she had to do was take a moment to calm down, get her mind more at ease, and think more clearly as to where she might have put it. Even if she couldn’t find it, a calmer approach could have prevailed, and she could easily have jotted down key points from the report.
Joe could have benefitted from taking a deep breath, as well. Laid off from his job and convinced that he’ll never find work again, Joe sends out a few resumes and hears nothing. That proves his point.
It’s hopeless, he says to himself. God obviously doesn’t love me.
A friend of his hears of an opening and tells Joe about it. “They’d never want me,” Joe tells his friend, and doesn’t bother to call.
Then, there’s Marcia. She turns down a friend’s invitation to join a committee at church because she is positive no one will listen to her, rejecting any ideas she has to offer. Instead, she stays home and feels sorry for herself. If Marcia doesn’t join the committee, she will avoid the humiliation of being rejected—if she will even be rejected at all.
It’s all in her head. All she can see is that if she doesn’t try, she can’t fail.
Too bad she’ll also eliminate the possibility of making an impact for God and church members. And she certainly isn’t having a good time at home if she fills her hours with self-pity.
Sadly, It’s Automatic
This sort of thinking happens all the time. In a matter of seconds, we can talk ourselves out of something that’s good for us—and remain in a thought process that’s detrimental to our personal growth and trust in God.
The Bible says to not be anxious about anything but to pray about everything. Then, you will have peace.
Emily, Joe, and Marcia are not at peace. However, a closer, more honest examination of their thinking would quickly put their fears to rest.
Who hasn’t at one time or another taken a single piece of evidence and magnified the negative consequences of it? This is what we common refer to as making a mountain out of a molehill.
We are all guilty of it. But we don’t have to be in bondage to it if we can learn how to challenge the conclusions to which our mind quickly leaps—recognizing those conclusion are almost always unjustified by the facts. Learning how to argue with our automatic thoughts will help us avoid self-fulfilling prophecies of “disaster” and enable us to cope—realistically—with upsetting situations. But it requires getting and staying “grounded.”
Defusing the “E” Bomb
Obviously, we can’t always keep bad things from happening, but we can make sure that we don’t read more into situations than they actually mean. This does not mean we should analyze everything we do. But we should be prepared to challenge our thoughts—or get someone to help us do so, providing a proper perspective on the situation—when we are facing stressful circumstances and most likely rushing into mistaken reasoning.
If we were a munitions expert called on to defuse a bomb, we would want to concentrate all our attention on that delicate task in which we are engaged. But we wouldn’t have to be equally intense later while having lunch or shopping in the supermarket. The point here is to develop our skills so that we can call on it when we need them.
Life has a way of producing lots of emotional bombs that need defusing. We can “defuse” them by examining our thinking. It’s what God wants for us. It’s what we should want for ourselves!
Learn how to take greater control of your thoughts. See your feelings and behaviors change as well—for the better, for yourself and those who matter most to you.