Life as I knew it had ended. And I had a choice to make. Either I could let my circumstances dictate my joy and happiness going forward, or I could intentionally choose to be positive and refuse to sink under the weight of negativity. That may have been the most important decision I’ve ever faced.
After twenty-six years of marriage, my husband and I separated. The heartache and devastation were overwhelming, and I spent the first few months after he left in a puddle of tears and negative thoughts every day.
My vision of what the future was supposed to look like was wiped away in an instant, and my losses seemed to keep piling up. My fears about the uncertain future seemed innumerable, and I was consumed with worry for my children and how their parents’ separation might affect their hearts. With each passing day, I felt the toxicity of negativity, hopelessness, fear, and pessimism seeping deeper and deeper into my heart. I felt as if I was stuck in a whirlpool, slowly being pulled under by the weight of my thoughts, yet desperately longing to be free and happy again. A tsunami had slammed into my reality, and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t stop sinking into sadness and, at times, even felt I was struggling with depression.
But the day finally came, several months later, when my emotional and mental exhaustion seemed overwhelming, and I realized I was fed up with feeling sad and hopeless. I was tired of assuming the future couldn’t be bright simply because the present was difficult. I knew that I needed to be a role model for my children and that my attitude would permeate theirs—either positively or negatively. I also knew that I needed to put my hope in God, trusting that not only was He able to heal broken hearts and broken relationships but also that, no matter what, I could have peace and joy if I intentionally invited Him to help me with my thoughts.
I realized I didn’t want to spend my life being bitter and negative and stuck in pessimism, whether because of the current situation, hard circumstances that lay ahead, or simply the small struggles and frustrations of everyday life.
I certainly did not want to be the kind of person who always sees the glass half empty instead of half full and inadvertently overlooks her blessings because of the negative or bitter blinders on her heart. I had never been that type of person before, and in a moment with the One who holds all hope, I became determined I was never going to be.
My heart lightened when I surrendered my negativity and committed to trusting God through this storm. I realized optimism and positive thinking were still within my reach because I had the power within me through Christ to choose to be positive, despite my circumstances. I merely had to make an intentional effort to do so. And when I did, my whole perspective and outlook completely changed. My circumstances stayed the same, but over time my thoughts and my heart did not.