I’ve been thinking—a lot. You know what—let me just go ahead and not understate that.
I’ve been OVERthinking a lot.
Overthinking is a problem—a challenge many of us face each day. It needs to be addressed and it needs to be recognized for what it is—an angle the enemy can use against us.
Due to the degree to which I’ve been overthinking, I have recently given my mind a new nickname. “ThunderDome.” Maybe you’ve seen Mad Max: Beyond ThunderDome—a delightful 1985 flick starring Mel Gibson and Tina Turner. If you have seen it and have ever dealt with the mental warfare of overthinking—you’ll very likely understand this analogy.
When I consider all of the wild thoughts that come to me at the onset of a thinking binge—I get the image of a bunch of battle hungry and blood thirsty post-apocalyptic warriors from the third installment in the Mad Max franchise. They very much like my thoughts are irrational, filthy and out for blood—my blood. Each thought with its own unique weapon designed with the express purpose of paralyzing me with fear or anxiety.
While that illustration may be a bit over the top, it accurately represents the warfare that is taking place in my mind.
When I start overthinking it’s usually a sign that something important to me has gone or even just has the sensation/appearance of having gone awry.
As soon as it starts I am thrust much like a gladiator into a mental ring/cage/colosseum(what have you) for another bout of fisticuffs with an ill tempered session of cyclical thinking looking to bruise me up—if not worse.
Satan—enemy number one—loves nothing more than to sit back and watch us beat ourselves up and convince ourselves of lies. Which is why it is paramount that we learn to take our thoughts captive as stated in 2 Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
In my moments of overthinking sometimes my thoughts develop arguments and opinions against and about my self-worth. Gods’ opinion about my worth is quite contrary to what my thoughts (aka arguments and opinions) try to convince me of. Hence arguments and opinions being raised against the knowledge of God.
I say that just to give a look at the warfare that goes on in our minds and to give example of how scripture already addresses many of these issues.
I’ve let mine be enemies far too often and for far too long. The real danger of allowing your thoughts to be your enemies is that they are YOUR thoughts. Which makes YOU your enemy—makes the phrase “my own worst enemy” very real.
Being ruled by our thoughts only means one thing to the enemy. It means that we are not being ruled by Christ—our true lord. For he knows all too well that we can only serve one master.
Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
Now “mammon” is not directly relative to thought—it is however representative of idol worship. Which is what uncontrolled obsessive thinking can become when it has our devotion.
We can’t be a slave to our thoughts and be obedient to God at the same time.
As far as how to actively work against overthinking—that could be different for everyone. I have however found a few things that help me and I want to share them with the hope that you or someone you know could benefit from my experience.
For starters the Bible has a few things to say. One of which has been invaluable to me. The apostle Paul has some encouragement for us found in his letter to the Philippians.
Philippians 4: 6-8 “do not be anxious about anything, but in anything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
Paul first encourages that we should worry for nothing—that instead we should pray about everything. I know what you’re thinking—easier said than done. I agree, but practice makes perfect—so I’m practicing. He also later in the passages presents us with a list of the kinds of things we should think about. I compare my thoughts back to the list all the time.
Another great help is seeing a counselor.
Counseling has been invaluable for me in this arena. Talking with a completely objective person who has been equipped with and has honed the skill set of helping you sort through your thoughts and feelings.
Don’t let the thought of needing counseling intimidate you and don’t allow yourself to place a negative stigma on it. EVERYONE should go to counseling. Its an amazing tool for building a healthy framework for your mind and emotions.
Through counseling I was introduced to some meditation and mindfulness techniques—these have helped me tremendously. When I find myself getting “stuck” on a thought I can apply one of these simple and very quick techniques. It helps me get out of my own head and shake back to the life that’s happening right in front of me.
So there’s a bit of what’s been going on with me—thought I’d share. I’ll be back on this topic soon in a post entitled “Weapons of our Warfare”—an extended look at 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5.
For further notes on my bible study or more information on counseling and mindfulness techniques just shoot me an email. I’d love to share.
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Thanks for reading.