Confronting My Voice of Pessimism


Every morning a cell-phone alarm wakes me up at about 6:00. The first action after turning it off (or hitting snooze depending on my mood) is to check my emails. And with sleep-filled eyes I quickly scan each one to see if there are any updates about my return to Australia.

Most days there aren’t so over my first cup of coffee I ask the Lord to bring me back in His time. But in the same moment there is a little voice in the back of my head that I hate. It whispers “wow I sure am glad they didn’t email me!”

I hate that voice because it’s pessimistic, or always expects the worst thing to happen. However it has grown due to the fact that my journey back to Melbourne has taken much longer than expected, and involved more than one setback.

Becoming pessimistic about a situation where things don’t seem to work out right is actually normal [1] so I know that little voice will be part of my life. The important thing is making sure that whispering voice doesn’t keep me from doing God’s Will.

A few weeks ago I was exchanging emails with a ministry partner who has taken on the responsibility of communicating with Immigration on my behalf. In one of the last ones I encouraged him to send a “strongly-worded” email since it would have a better chance of getting a response.

Almost immediately I heard the voice of pessimism

Oh you’ve done it now! All this is going to do is make them send you that bad news sooner, you better email him back and say just wait another week!

I didn’t and later that afternoon while mowing the grass he copied me into the email that was sent to Immigration.

And the voice of pessimism started screaming

What is your problem! Don’t you know that they will get mad when someone sends them emails like this! Get off this mower RIGHT NOW and send an apology to the Immigration department before they read it!!

To be honest a big part of me wanted to get off the mower…but the Lord helped me remember the voice of pessimism is over-reacting 95% of the time. It takes the absolute worst scenario that could possibly take place and makes you believe that is the ONLY thing that could POSSIBLY happen.

So I stopped and asked the Lord to give me faith even as my heart was filled with doubt.

That evening a response from my Immigration lawyer came up on the phone [2].

He apologized for not responding sooner
And gave encouraging news!

Unfortunately things don’t always work out that way. There are even times when the 5% worst-case scenario actually becomes reality. But you know what’s funny? Even when that happens it isn’t as bad as I imagined it to be..because God gives Grace.

So now as I roll out of bed and reach for the phone I expect the voice of pessimism. And instead of running from it I embrace it, reminding myself that the worst-case scenario of God’s plan is still God’s plan.

  1. it’s pretty hard to be positive all of the time  ↩
  2. which I had been refreshing every five minutes to see if he had responded  ↩

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