I have an overactive imagination. I always have. It’s both a blessing and a curse- A blessing when I want to make up a story, a curse when I am laying in bed at night and I hear a sound outside my door. Often when my mind starts in overdrive, it chases rabbit trails that lead to darker and scarier rabbit trails. I have the ability to work myself up into an anxiety induced frenzy that’s hard to back out of.
I know this about myself.
I hate this about myself.
This is why I have had to mentally check out of certain activities in my life… here are four places that I have chosen to not give food to my overworked imagination.
1- Politics. I grew up in a politically minded family. It was a frequent topic of conversation around the dinner table and at family gatherings. I used to be very vocal, but as I have grown older I realize that I am in little position to actually change the big issues. I’m not saying there aren’t people that can, I just know that those people aren’t me. And besides, a politician, or a political party will never have the ability to save me (or us.) They will aways fail us. Am I being a cynic? Perhaps. Or maybe I’ve decided to focus my attention on where I can make a difference, which is within my own family and with my own children.
2- Scary Movies. I used to love scary movies. Not gory movies, I can’t stand those. I don’t need to see entrails or missing limbs. But I was totally okay with things popping out and scaring the audience. The more the better, I loved the suspense. But then I started replaying those sequences and inserting myself and suddenly I was seeing problems in real life that would never have crossed my mind had I not seen them onscreen. So I stopped watching those things. I don’t need my imagination to feed off of doomsday scenarios.
3- Scary Books. I love to read. At least I think I do. I rarely have time these days, with working full-time and raising all the savages, but I’m relatively certain that love still remains. Like the movies before, I loved scary stories. But even more so than a movie, I can get so lost in a book that I am completely living it. If it is snowing in the book, my body will feel cold. And when I come out of a book, I have to readjust myself to real life. So if I can get that involved in a story, then I need to make sure that it is one that isn’t going to send my overactive imagination off the rails.
4- Pinterest. When I first discovered Pinterest I thought it was amazing. And the more time I spent there, the more I realized that I didn’t measure up. My kids’ parties weren’t perfectly planned, my kids’ snacks weren’t perfectly trimmed, and my house was clearly not immaculate. And again, my imagination took off to all the things I could be and have if I was different. If I was better. To be honest, that’s too heavy a burden to bear and one that I am not called to carry.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45 (NIV)