Is Murphy’s Law Training You to Forebode?

Listen to the perspectives and murmurings of many conversations and you will probably find the influence of Murphy’s Law in the midst, keeping people bound to a fearful and foreboding perspective.

There is speculation as to the origin of Murphy’s Law, but one story on March 3, 1978, The Desert Wings printed a fascinating backstory on the birth of Murphy’s Law:

“Murphy’s Law—If anything can go wrong, it will—was born at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949. It was named after Captain Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981, which explored how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. One day, after finding that a transducer was wired wrong, he cursed the technician responsible and said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he’ll find it.” (Source)

The Foreboding in Murphy’s Law

There are many aspects to Murphy’s Law that you will find operating in settings of life:

  • “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
  • “If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.”
  • “If anything just cannot go wrong, it will anyway “
  • “If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which something can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way, unprepared for, will promptly develop.”

I gotta jump in here and just say that statement above could really make you feel nutty!

Here are some more:

  • “Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.”
  • “If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.”

Can you see the joy and hopeful expectation being sucked right out of your heart with these dangerous belief statements? If Murphy could not get any deeper into the foreboding swamp:

  • Murphy’s Law of Thermodynamics: “Things get worse under pressure.

I don’t know about you, but many times in my past, I got better through seasons of pressure. You don’t have to get worse under pressure. In fact, it can become some of the greatest chapters of growth you’ve ever experienced.

  • The Murphy Philosophy: “Smile . . . tomorrow will be worse.”

If you had a friend that said this to you every day, you would need a new friend right away. So why do we bother listening to that negativity and hopeless thinking’?

If you want some more negativity added on:

  • Addition to Murphy’s Laws: “In nature, nothing is ever right. Therefore, if everything is going right … something is wrong.”

That statement actually followed me for many years of my life. If things were going well, my mind defaulted to, “something must be wrong.” I could not just rest in the moment and allow the blessing of enjoyment sink in. I remained on guard, awaiting when the next dreadful event was going to strike. This foreboding also led me to catastrophize moments. A domino of negative dread would flood my system.

Now let me make this clear: I do think it is helpful to recognize that stuff in life does goes wrong. Things happen. We all need to be prepared for the fact that life is not perfect, resistance comes our way and many things in life don’t work out. This is all part of learning and growing.

The Inability to Joyfully Anticipate a Good Future

But for so many, Murphy’s Law has become a foreboding way of life, where you cannot anticipate the joyous future God has for you, because you are narrowly fixated on all that can go wrong. Any little wrong occurrence simply feeds the catastrophizing you find yourself practicing.

On top of all this, we develop mindsets that defend this. In fact, I really want to attack is the pattern where we say:

  • “Always expect the worse, then you’ll never be disappointed.”

And . . .

  • “I never want to get my hopes up.”

When bad experiences happen, we take it further:

  • “See, this always happens to me.”

A False Self-Protection

So we avoid the pain at all costs, but we disconnect ourselves from the joy that is available to us. Any time something good happens or presents itself, a deep cynicism and doubt rises up. Thoughts say, “I can’t enjoy this, because something bad is going to happen and I need to keep an eye out for it.”

The enemy would want us to think that with every good thing, something evil needs to balance it out. Similar to a “yin and yang” kind of thinking, which is really a demonic deception.

Movies often teach us to forebode. Anytime you watch an enjoyable scene in a film, you are conditioned to think, “Ok, when is the bad thing going to happen?” Movies do not start off great, stay great and end great. There is always a problem. It’s what often makes them enjoyable. But is there a subtle conditioning that leads us to look for the bad to fall whenever good is manifesting? I’m just asking a question to get us thinking. 

Learning to Anticipate the Good

God wants you to anticipate and look forward to the good He has in your future. Foreboding is the enemy of that. No matter what’s going on in your life, your Father wants to build a hope in you that sees the better which is to come. If you do not see the good overwhelming you, just know, it’s not the end. This is not over. The best is yet to come.

He says that He “all things work together for good to them that love and Lord and are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) He takes everything that happens in your life and builds them towards a good in your future.

But we need to get used to seeing the good in our future. That is why we need healing from our disappointments. Those areas of pain often dictate our perspective more than we will admit.

I can remember so many times I could not land into enjoying something. If I overcame an anxiety or worry issue, many times I would feel like something was wrong if I did not worry. I was so used to fear and foreboding!

That’s the pain of breaking out of disappointment, fear and foreboding. We get so used to focusing on the pain and hardship, we struggle to embrace the good future available to us.

But today, I invite you to break agreement with foreboding and chose to embrace the hope and joy available for you today.

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