I like to go to bed early and get up early. This morning at 4:30 a.m., I was in the kitchen, starting the coffee. Morning is a happy time for me, when the rest of the world is asleep and I am getting started on my day.

The thoughts start their usual parade across the screen of my mind. “Where is the cat?” “I need to start my son’s laundry.” “How much time do I have to write before I have to leave today?” And slam, out of nowhere, the “deep hurt in my heart that I have wrestled with for years” pops up. Just out of nowhere, “thoughts of what was missing and what was disappointing” were right there, in the quiet of the kitchen, marching with force across my mind. It’s almost as if I can feel the energy drain from my heart when these thoughts enter. It’s as if someone squeezed my heart, and then harshly slapped my wrist with a ruler. The thoughts of “Disappointing Thing” were unannounced, and didn’t even knock. He just let himself into the rooms of my mind, wanting attention.

So, there I am, waiting for the coffee to brew, thinking about how many years “Disappointing Thing” has cut me. And honestly, I realized that I see little hope for things to change in this area in the future. Just like so many times before, there I am in my jammies with “Disappointing Thing”, all cozy together in the kitchen at 4:30 a.m.

However, I am not my old self. I have now learned that when I see “Disappointing Thing” enter the room of my mind, he is immediately escorted right back out the door, since this is not a good time for him to visit. My response to “Disappointing Thing” is “You’re not welcome to come and make me sad.” I immediately find another thought to think about. I only talk about and think about “Disappointing Thing” when I am with God, talking about “proactive ways to fix this” with someone who cares about me (or who could have answers), or when I am proactively researching answers.

What is so interesting to me is that I have the power to make “Disappointing Thing” leave. He is not in charge of my thoughts; I am. The coffee was now ready so I go to my office (ha, my office—which is an undecorated spare bedroom) and begin my day, back with a happy heart.

Whatever your “Disappointing Thing” is, corral it. Quarantine it. Don’t let it consume your thoughts. Decide you will only think about it in the three situations that I just stated: in prayer, when you are legitimately discussing proactive solutions with someone who cares about you (or has access to answers), or when you are proactively researching answers (awww, thank You, God, for Google). Otherwise, put “Disappointing Thing” back in a box on a shelf in heaven.

Whether your hurt and disappointment is infertility, a lack of intimacy in the marriage, a child that has repeated struggles, loneliness, health issues, financial problems that won’t resolve, relationship issues, weight trials, dreams that are not happening…address these issues in your mind ONLY in the above three situations. Don’t let “Disappointing Thing” burst in unannounced and unwanted into the sacredness of your mind. He’s not welcome. He’s not wanted. And you get him to leave by thinking about something else.

There’s a whole new science about the plasticity of the brain (how the brain can change) that is truly amazing. You can change your brain by what you think about. You can change your life by what you think about. And you have control in this area.

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I don’t think that the random and sudden appearance of “Disappointing Thing” on the landscape of my mind is an accident. I think Someone very devious and very intentional is trying to keep me from joy. Don’t let your enemy suggest upsetting thoughts to you, but instead, have a strategy to fight back.

By now, I hope you have some pages in your Turquoise Journal called “Recurring Problems”. On the left side of the page, you write down your problems. On the right side of the page, you write “encouragement from the Lord on this issue, proactive ideas that might solve the problem, and how you are to ‘frame’ this issue in your mind while you work on it and wait on the Lord”. After you pray through this, you put it on the shelf in heaven, not letting it slap you around. Instead, substitute Philippians 4:8 thoughts for “Disappointing Thing”.

We have to fight discouragement, Friends. We fight it in our minds, on our knees (with Scripture), and in one more place, which I will now discuss.

One more very important piece of information about fighting the hurt of “Disappointing Thing” is that burdens are to be shared in life. When we lived in Virginia, a certain lady was new to the area and went through some very hard trials in her life. Not being well-connected to a community, she shouldered the burden alone with her husband. Later, after she got connected to an intimate group of friends in her church, she again went through another painful trial. This time, she said, the burden was halved, because she was able to share the burden with others who cared about her.

There is a video that has gone viral called “This Might Be the World’s Most Romantic Proposal”. http://www.godvine.com/This-Might-be-the-World-s-Most-Romantic-Proposal-2275.html What I loved about this video (loved!) was of course, the effort of the man to propose like this. But what really made this video was the community of the couple. (Get your Kleenexes out before you watch it.)

Who is this community for you? You may need to proactively seek some new relationships because living “alone” stinks. We were created for community and you will never find great joy living by yourself.

Don’t try to make it alone. You won’t.

The “Disappointing Thing” in your life is probably not going to go away anytime soon. “In this world, you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But having a strategy to battle “Disappointing Thing” will help you tremendously.