Right now you are probably wondering if you have time to read this.
You are considering whether you should just scan through it or if it's worthwhile.
The reason you are thinking this is because you know you've already spent too much time scrolling through social media, when you decided to stop by my blog.
This happened most likely because you are trying to avoid something else you need to do.
But you still have to finish thinking about it before you begin anyway.
So you might as well mindlessly spend this time allowing your brain to be consumed with the thoughts that you must address regardless.
Well, my fellow friend, hopefully this post will be worth your time and slip some helpful, almost sub-conscience ideas into your overwhelmed mind.
I am one of you.
Life isn't easy when you can't flip off the switch inside your head.
Yes, I do believe there is a switch up there.
I believe it because I've seen the evidence of it.
I know people who can literally think about nothing at any given time.
Frankly, I cannot grasp this concept even when I try to close my eyes and imagine a switch causing the room inside of my hollow head to go pitch black.
Even then, a little sheep ends up running by.
Then that sheep reminds me of my cousins who are sheep farmers,
which then reminds me that I need to visit them soon,
which then reminds me that I need to spend more time with family and friends rather than being busy,
which then reminds me that I'm busy,
which then leads me into my never-ending to-do list on repeat.
Something like that.
Am I just crazy?
Don't answer that.
But maybe, just maybe, all of us overthinkers are a bit crazy.
And maybe, just maybe, it can be to our advantage if only we allow it.
You see, the reason we think so much is because we want to do things right.
Some call it perfectionism, others call it paying attention to detail.
Either way, when every aspect of a task is thought of before it's done, it usually turns out pretty awesome.
Thing is, it took forever to get to that point because you thought about it for so long.
So a plus side is that we do things to the best of our ability and usually we have some pretty great ideas to bring to the table.
The downside is the emotional toll that overthinking takes on us.
On top of the tasks we are thinking about, comes the thoughts of all of the struggles that we need to work through.
Then, all we can do is think about the pain.
We replay every insult we've heard, every mistake we've made, and every heartbreak over and over.
We blame ourselves.
We blame everyone else.
We believe it when we feel like we are "too much" or "not enough".
Many times, our thoughts are self-directed and self-degrading.
We can't understand why they won't go away.
We can't understand why they are there in the first place.
We can't see why God allowed any of the heartache to originally occur.
We can't see why it doesn't make sense.
Why can't it just make sense?
No matter how much we think about it, we can't make sense of it.
So what do we do?
Well, we just keep thinking about it until maybe one day it does.
Until one day, when God decides to show us why He allowed all of these things to happen and we will finally be able to see how every single painful event strung together to form a perfect story.
A beautiful story.
Someday, it will.
Until then, we wait...and wait...and wait
And the sheep keep appearing over... and over ...and over.
And yes, we even go a little crazy.
Now, I know this is technically just advice from a fellow struggling overthinker BUT I do believe I have a few tips to help when your head is about to explode and you're desperate to make your mind stop.
In order to clear my head I usually resort to four things:
1. I go to the beach. The beach is my happy place and my sad place. It's where I go when I want to get away from it all and let the wind carry the thoughts away from my poor tortured soul and throw them into a sea of vastness, where they can never be found again. That is, until they wash back up when I return back to reality. Still, the beauty of the beach distracts me from my tasks and my problems. So my suggestion to you is to find a place that you love to go, and let it free your spirit, even if it's just for a short time. Let it be so amazing that you can't help but think that since you're there, life isn't so bad after all.
2. I listen to worship music. Something about music soothes my soul every time. I forget how much it helps sometimes and don't always realize the necessity of it in my life. In fact, having it constantly on in the background at all times, changes the atmosphere and slows down my thoughts in general. I find myself subconsciously humming and singing along, which scientifically improves morale (fun fact). Not to mention, worship music invites the presence of the Holy Spirit, who is the Prince of Peace, bringing a sense a calmness and reassurance. In His presence, is where we can find rest in the midst of our restlessness.
3. I recite verses of truth in my head to distract any thoughts that contradict what God tells me to think on. Here are a few of my favorites:
Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV
I love this verse because it reminds me that the war that I am having with my own thoughts is not against myself, but rather against the enemy who is putting the thoughts inside of my mind to discourage and destroy. Ultimately, I have control over what I am thinking about if I choose to acknowledge every useless or ungodly thought and replace it with something good. (Of course, this is still a daily work in progress for me.)
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2 ESV
The reason why many of us overthink is because we are trying to figure out what we should do next. We are listing pros/cons, weighing the options etc. When really, we simply need to renew our minds with God's truths and promises, in order to understand His will for us. This is all we really need to do, we don't have to try to figure everything out.. but trust me, I know that's not very natural for us overthinkers.
"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." ESV
If our thoughts are running rampant we need to test them against this verse and if any of them don't line up, try to take them captive and replace them.4. PRAY. We need to pray that God will take away any anxieties, fears, worries, doubts, pressures, stress, restlessness, etc and thank Him for all of the good things we have. We can be thankful for so much and talking to God continually throughout the day helps us turn our struggles into prayers and our pain into praise.
Now, I am far from perfect at doing all of these things consistently everyday.
In fact, I zoned out several times while writing this blog and started drifting into daydreamland about other things in my life.
But I do believe these are the keys to a calm mind.
I know because they are in God's Word and everything He says is true.
Plus, I've experienced His peace that passes all understanding when I am participating in them and I know it can only be divine (aka it's impossible for me to experience it on my own).
I will be praying for each of you reading this to find peace.
I know it's hard, especially in heartbreaks and struggles.
But everything starts with our thoughts.
The second we let them go, we let our whole selves go.
Sometimes all I want to do is let my mind run wild, and wallow in my misery.
But it's really not worth it.
All God wants is for us to praise Him and seek His presence in our lives.
If we are doing that, everything else will work itself out.
So let's do our best to not even try to make sense of it all.
Or else we will just be left with a whole lot of sheep and a farm full of worries.
I always have to end with something weird like that, sorry.
But you have to admit, it was pretty profound.
"May the God of peace be with you all. Amen." Romans 15:33