My mind is so full all of the time. I psychoanalyze everything that I hear, and even the silence. What did he mean? Why didn’t he answer? What is going on? What will happen if this happens? What is the logical conclusion? If it’s not that, it must be this. Why are they not responding? Why did her tone change? Why is that person using that emoji? Are they mad? Are they busy? Are they sad? Are they dumping me?
These thoughts swirl in my head All The Time. I struggle to turn them off. It’s like some sick reality show playing on an endless loop. I over think. I literally overthink everything. And so, then I overthought overthinking of course, because I was trying to understand it. Where does the uncertainty come from? Where do all the guessing games come from? Honestly, a lot of the trials that I’ve experienced in the past contribute to the amount of overthinking that occurs. Also, that is the way God wired me. Overthinking isn’t always a bad thing, if I can keep it in check, in perspective.
But here’s the bottom line. I asked my dad–who is a highly intelligent man, and struggles to ever get a break from thinking– I asked him if there was such a thing as thinking too much. And he said, “Yes, if you’re thinking foolish things.” What are foolish things? “Anything that does not honor God.”
Now, that’s a hard one for me. I’m sure that’s a hard one for most people. It’s actually really awesome that other people cannot hear what we are thinking, because we all have sinned against many people in our minds. We might think we can escape because no one ever heard it. But, God did. He knows the ins and outs of every single brain wave about every single topic that has ever tickled anyone’s fancy.
Overthinking something that is foolish is a regular occurrence in my jumbled mind. So is it a sin? Well, yes I think it is. Do my thoughts honor God when I’m overthinking and stressing out beyond belief? No.
When I’m stressing out beyond belief, am I even focusing on Christ at all? No.
When my thoughts are not focused on Christ, doesn’t that open up the avenue for lots of sin in all areas? YES.
Without our eyes on him, we lose our focal point. And when we lose our focal point, nothing makes sense anymore, and the overthinking ensues.
I’m not saying that every day is easy breezy. We all know better than that. I’m not saying that our minds will never get the best of us. I am saying that we need to retrain our brains. Well, I need to retrain my brain, and if you struggle with what I’m talking about, you need to as well.
When I say retrain your brain, I mean change the jumbled, squirrelly thoughts into thoughts of truth. And we need to be taught how to do the right thing. We already know how to do the wrong thing really well. We don’t have to practice sinning right? Or thinking wrong things? We do need to practice thinking correctly.
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
We need to maintain truth, repeat it to ourselves over and over again. The truth of Christ, his death and resurrection. The reality of our deep depravity and our inability to retrieve ourselves from the proverbial pit of hell, which we all deserve one million times over. The truth that in Christ, we are made whole, healed, kept in the beloved forevermore. But in that truth is the temptation to take it for granted. We need to keep rehearsing these truths so that our mind becomes used to truth, and also so that we do not lose the wonder of His mercy. Oh that we all had the faith of little children! Oh that we had the remorse, repentance and gratitude of a criminal who was released from a death sentence! Because that is the truth.
And so thinking on these things is not sinful. It is possible to overthink these things too, but then we just turn back to scripture to keep our wondering and confused minds on the correct track.
Often when my mind is spinning out of control because I am overthinking what someone said or did, I ask them to tell me something good, or something true to ground me and help my mind stop whirling. Usually what they say, or what I want them to say, is something affirming about our relationship, or something sweet about me being a good friend. Sure, they might be good things, or true things. But I should be craving REAL truth. And the only real good and true things are from God. So instead of a friend grounding me by saying that she cares about me, she should be grounding me by saying, God is in control. He loved you so much that he DIED for you. That is true. That is good. That is the most amazing thing that ever happened, truly.
Truth. Real truth. That is what we should crave. That is what we should ponder. That is what we should overthink, if we must overthink. If our minds are not set on what is good and true, we will spiral out of control, like I do all the time. I need to learn to crave truth rather than affirmation. If the truth of scripture is the center and focus of all thought, over thinking would not be a problem.
Anyway, there’s no possible way that we can know every single outcome of every single situation. So while I may think that I have thought of everything that could possibly wrong, I might most definitely be wrong.
So what can we know for sure? We can know that Christ died for our sins.
“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3
We can know that we are incredibly sinful.
“All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
We can know that if we repent and believe, he will remove our sins from us, and credit us with his own righteousness.
“If you confess with your mouth, and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, you shall be saved.” Romans 10:9
“He has removed our sins as far as the East is from the west.” Psalm 103:12
So when our sinful minds and hearts are whirling with thoughts that are confusing, painful, worrying, or even just downright silly, remember what the real truth is.
And I am preaching to myself just as much as anyone else reading this. I need this reminder Every Single Day.