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Catastrophizing


I had a good friend recently say, “good now that you have a plan you can stop catastrophizing.” I had to look up the word catastrophizing.


First Google result was, “Catastrophizing involves believing that you're in a worse situation than you really are or exaggerating your difficulties. It can be a symptom of anxiety or depression. For example, someone might worry that they'll fail an exam.”


I do that a lot. Do you? I like to couch it in the concept of being prepared.


For instance I am preparing to go to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago. (500+ miles, 40 days and nights) I leave in less than a week and today realized that the pain in my right knee is probably a combination of arthritis and torn meniscus.  Two Docs, X-rays and a bunch of -“does this hurt?” We won’t know for certain till I return and get an MRI. First temptation, “Oh Sh!t! I’m in trouble! What will I do?” Why am I not more like. “Wow! Well, it’s gonna be painful but what an opportunity to do a pilgrimage and see God work.”


Now I have had my ACLs replaced in both knees and I know a lot about knee pain and how the knees are designed. Am I worried? Not really just in a bunch of pain. And pain leads to… catastrophizing. At least that is where I recently wound up.


The Army did not help me with this either. From day one as a private at Fort Benning GA, I found myself believing I was in or preparing to escape a “worse situation.” I guess I got it first from my dad, he did 28 years Army. Anyway it’s how it is.


When my friend wrote that note to me, She was saying, “now that you know where you are and have a plan you can stop imagining the worst.” Fact of the matter is I grew up imagining the worst. I’ve been doing this for a long time.


I went to a church where they constantly talked about the worst. I went to a high school where they prepared me for the worst. I went to the Army and we trained to do worse to the other guy.


What happened to trusting in God? What happened to seeing the good and believing the good. I don’t watch the news because it sends me deep into places I don’t need to go. I don’t talk about politics. I avoid fear at all costs. Why?


Because I have found that folks peddling fear have not anchored their trust in God. I remember as a small child being told that the government was gonna take me away from my family if I didn’t obey. As a youth I was told that “they” were gonna torture all Christians. As a teenager I was told that the world was gonna end with a “Red Dawn” scenario. As a college student I was assured that Marijuana, sex and Rock n Roll were in direct opposition to God. As a young adult I was compelled to believe in the Y2K end of time lie.


Later I went to Afghanistan and Iraq. I started seeing the pattern. There I started to learn just how cruel people can be to each other. There I decided to stop buying into anything that pushed folks into foolish fear.


See the “fear of the Lord” ain’t foolish. It also ain’t what alot of folks who are ready for you to donate money say. The Fear of the Lord is different, healthy and real. -think along the lines of “don’t touch that it’s hot.” All the other types of fear are a trap.


Catastrophizing is like a second or third order effect of foolish fear. I’m working at stopping that. I’m working on focusing on the beauty, the good, the grace, the forgiveness, the restoration and the joy of my salvation.


Wanna know what happens with this knee, the brace, the Camino de Santiago? Me too. Keep up with the story through these blogs.


Vet Church -because we are building The Kingdom not a castle. Live life to its fullest. Don’t just survive, Thrive!


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