Mark Affleck

OVERTHINKING Killed Spontaneity In My Life

August 27, 2021
Spiritual Growth

I spent a couple of decades OVERTHINKING everything. Overthinking my career. Overthinking my personal life. And, yes, overthinking my faith walk with God. All three had negative consequences. Especially the first two that emerged in my quest for success and wealth. But the third one—overthinking my faith—KILLED the spontaneity in my entire life and erected a barrier between me and God. Put simply, I did not have a relationship with Jesus. Did not spend time with him in solitude. Did not know him.
It’s obvious that we cannot embrace and appreciate each moment in our life while analyzing every step we take. And we certainly cannot develop the right relationship with Christ that produces an abundant, Godly life of purpose and significance if we overthink everything.
Part of the dilemma here is defining “overthink.” The dictionary’s take on it is startlingly simple:
o·ver·think: to think about something too much or for too long.
That’s not enough for me. So I add two descriptors to keep me on alert for signs that I am OVERTHINKING. I do this because we can be watching for the “vague notion” of overthinking and miss it entirely. The two words I use as filters for me to spot signs of overthinking in my life are: 1) Complicate; and 2) Proportionality.
COMPLICATE: Nobody wants to pile additional complications onto an already-complicated life!
PROPORTIONALITY: We need to differentiate between when we are overthinking the Christian life and when our thinking has expanded beyond reason and is disproportionate to where God would have our thoughts be focused.
With those two filters in tow, I watch for signs when my overthinking tramples things that I SHOULD be doing. Call it the important stuff–commitments to God and family and the rest of our life.
I am overthinking my faith walk when I should be praying or trusting instead. When fear or worry or control are the drivers of my overthinking. When insecurity in my relationship with Christ has me falsely assuming that if I “really think this through,” I will get closer to God and he will accept me.
CAUTION! Do not overthink this idea of overthinking the Christian life. After all, Jesus tells us to “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy 2:7
We’re searching for that healthy balance.
I ask God to help me uncomplicate my walk with him by not OVERTHINKING everything. I want to instead have my focus on trusting him to show me where my thoughts should be directed.
Are you OVERTHINKING your faith walk with God? If so, what one thing can you do in the next week to reduce the time you spend overthinking?
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20

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