THE TROUBLE WITH OVERTHINKING AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD

The human spirit is so weak that when it would look too curiously into the causes and reasons of God’s will it embarrasses and entangles itself in the meshes of a thousand difficulties, out of which it has much to do to deliver itself; it resembles smoke, for as smoke ascends it gets more subtle, and as it grows more subtle it vanishes. In striving to raise our reasonings too high in divine things by curiosity we grow vain or empty in our thoughts, and instead of arriving at the knowledge of truth, we fall into the folly of our vanity. –St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God

I’m an over thinker. To be an over thinker simply means you think about something too much for too long.

Any over thinkers here?

Here’s how good I am at overthinking: If over thinking were an Olympic sport, I’d have a gold medal. If someone would pay me for my overthinking skills, I’d be a millionaire. My husband says that I even overthink thinking. Hmmmmm.

But overthinking is not a spiritual gift and it’s certainly not anything to brag about. It’s actually a hindrance to walking by faith and living a Spirit-filled life.

Overthinking is a hindrance to walking by faith and living a Spirit-filled life. Tweet this

Why? Because overthinking is usually an attempt to do the following:

  1. Figure it out. Why did this happen? What might happen?
  2. Fix, control, or manage a person or situation. What can I do about them/it? How can I prevent it from happening? How can I fix them/it?

And as St. Francis de Sales wrote, we find ourselves “entangled in the meshes of a thousand difficulties” and “instead of arriving at the knowledge of truth, we fall into the folly of our vanity.”

This week I was waiting in the car at Walmart for my daughter and I was in full-blown over thinking mode. Thinking, thinking, thinking, trying to figure it all out and fix it.

Very clearly I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, “Over think Joy.”

Wow!

I decided to give it a try because I’m weary of the struggle with the tangled mess of my own thoughts.

You know what I’ve learned?

The more I think about joy and look for the joy in my circumstances the more I see and experience joy.

I’m not suggesting we live in a state of denial about all the things that are going on in our lives but there’s so much we can’t fix or manage or control no matter how much we overthink them.

We need to fight for joy and fight back with joy.

Two of my favorite verses that help me when I’m tempted to overthink:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
 Hebrews 12:1

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
 2 Corinthians 10:5

Margaret Feinberg has written a book and Bible study called Fight Back with Joy. I’m leading a group of ladies through the study at my church right now. Here are a few nuggets of truth she shares in the book:

Fight back with joy

Fight back with joy

Fight back with joy

If you’d like to experience more joy in your life, regardless of your circumstances, I highly recommend you click here to get your own copy of Fight Back with Joy. (affiliate link)

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