I think too much.
Sometimes I think that my overthinking comes from living alone and having nearly twelve beautiful hours of silence to process my chaotic life between the times when I get home from work and the time that I walk out the door the next day.
Sometimes I think back to my childhood and realize that I’ve always been a deep thinker. While my social butterflies of sisters would be off gallivanting about the neighborhood, I would usually be doing something nerdy like looking at rocks in the backyard and thinking out loud about what minerals or fossils they might contain. (Let me tell you, talking to yourself out loud about rocks is not a great way to win friends at the age of 7…or 8…or 9.)
Then sometimes, I think about the way that I process arguments and conversations after they happen. I can’t help but think: What could have gone better? What would have happened if that one little thing had gone differently?
And at the end of all of my thinking about thinking, I realize that I am once again, indeed thinking.
My thinking is a problem, really. (Although, I would personally rather be an over-thinker than an under-thinker if I had to choose. But moving on before I make any more snarky remarks…)
My problem doesn’t necessarily come from the fact that I sometimes think out loud, leading me to talk to myself (or my dog), but from the fact that when I start rehashing my life, I’m usually not talking to God. In fact, I usually am taking my eyes completely off of God. I’m essentially saying,
God, I don’t like how that ended. If You could please put Your Sovereign Knowledge and the good that You’re trying to work here on hold for a minute so that we can tend to my selfish needs, that would be great.”
I will literally dissect and analyze a troubling conversation to death before I offer it up to God, and usually by that time, I have internalized the conversation on a deep level. I understand that sometimes internalizing conversations is beneficial to us as humans and as Christians, especially if the conversations were encouraging or full of wisdom that we need to hear.
However, mulling conversations over and over can easily become detrimental to our walks with God if we aren’t careful with what we are over thinking.
My most recent example of this?
My mother and I don’t have a great relationship, and unfortunately we haven’t for a rather long time. For the majority of the last three years, we haven’t spoken to each other, but just last month she got back in contact with me. For the first few days, I felt like I had a normal relationship with my mom. We caught up on what my siblings were up to, her recent divorce, the happenings of her sunflower farm and ranch, and the like, but unfortunately that quickly fell away and the patterns of verbal abuse that I had grown up with began to return.
Some days when she would call and drill into me, I would turn the other cheek, pretend that her stabbing words didn’t bother me, and give her an excuse as to why I had to hang up. Other days I would blow up at her, serving her insults right back. But no matter how the conversations ended, I always mentally replayed and analyzed them, yet very rarely did I pray for guidance or wisdom.
Last weekend, after absorbing several weeks of verbal assaults I finally blocked her number and tried to go back about my life.
But by then, the conversations and lies were already written on my heart.
Had I simply run to God after every conversation and confrontation and let Him heal my brokenness, I know that I wouldn’t have been so deeply wounded by my mother’s words or the words that came out of my own mouth. But instead, I had replayed them and let them take root in my heart. Slowly her words became my words:
“You’re never going to go anywhere.”
“You were a mistake.”
“You’re just like your father.”
And because I had started believing these lies, I couldn’t hear the truths that God was speaking into my life at that same time:
“You’ve been accepted into this graduate program because I’m taking you somewhere.”
“You are worth my Son’s life.”
“I created you for a reason.”
“You were created in My image to become more like your Father.”
I don’t think that over thinking is a disease that you can magically be cured of, and I’m honestly still not sure that I would want to be cured of it if this was a possibility. However, I do know that I need to remember where my healing and love comes from, and that is not from my own heart or mind, but from my God.
I am not doing anything productive by metaphorically beating my head against a wall, but God, the author of the Universe (and my own weird brain) would be able to do something with my situation, if only I would offer it up to Him instead.
What is God trying to tell you right now? Can you hear Him? Or are you thinking over your plans and actions instead of offering them up to Him?
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”