Thanks, I thought I was the only one.:)) But let’s just establish this point first: overthinking anything, however way we term, justify, or defend it, is worry. And worry, in the face of what God can do, is short on faith on that capability (and faithfulness) that characterizes God. So now that that’s out…
I haven’t quite lived down overanalysis. In fact, right now a million thoughts run through my head begging for attention. Sometimes, I like to think of it as wisdom (to stop and think). Sometimes I just get confused. I think about everything. I think about things not even happening yet. I dream up scenarios and imagine my best response or decision. You would probably think I’m good at chess or math. But not really. Not even close. Math and I agree to never consult each other unless necessary.
While I have yet to completely shed my tendencies to worry, today I got reminded of what I was missing that leads me straight into overthinking. I was reading Exodus 1 and 2 today and there are four things that caught my attention.
1. The Hebrew people feared/loved God, and therefore obeyed Him. The Pharaoh felt threatened by the increasing number of Israelites in their land. To make up for this, the Egyptians treated the Israelites ruthlessly in every way. When the Pharaoh issued a law to kill all Hebrew baby boys (even at labor), the Israelites sought to do instead what was right by God. There was faith in their actions knowing that God is above any power of the Pharaoh. When we seek to obey God, there is no fear of the future or any consequences because we know that we are obeying a good and just God, because we know that He is above everything we can possibly think of. Any worst-case scenario is overpowered by the grace and the goodness that is God’s.
2. They did what they can. The Hebrew midwives tried to protect the newborn sons (and God blessed them in their own individual lives). Moses’ mother hid him even though Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew boys be drowned in the Nile. In Hebrews 11, Moses’ parents were among the Hall of Famers of Faith. It took their faith also to save Moses’ life because they saw that he was a fine child (they saw his potential), and ultimately a deliverer for their people. Moses’ sister watched as he was caught up by the Egyptian princess’ arms in the tiny basket, and volunteered to find a Hebrew woman to serve as the princess’ babysitter – which was no other than Moses’ mother. She did what she could to protect her baby brother. While we’re so often tempted to do it all, we usually forget to do what we could and let God handle what we couldn’t. The difference in this is that we continue to pave our own way instead of letting God present us opportunities and grabbing them.
3. Ask God’s wisdom. Moses, having been raised a prince and yet aware of the plight of the Israelite slaves, felt for his people. When he witnessed an Egyptian man ruthlessly punishing Israelite workers, he killed the man in secret. Now this would have sounded like a “defending the defenseless” thing, the one thing Moses missed was asking God what he could do – by His standards. Sometimes we think that the end justifies our means, but that is not the case when we want to do right by God. He didn’t know that God had another plan of deliverance for the Israelites in mind. Surprising for Moses, the Israelites didn’t appreciate his “act of valor”, in fact, they became very afraid of him. When the Pharaoh discovered what Moses did, he sought to punish him for it.
4. God always protects who are His. This came as a relief for me. Moses, knowing that Pharaoh is sure to punish him for killing an Egyptian (probably a possible rebellion is in the Pharaoh’s mind), fled to hide from him. He didn’t know, or maybe he was little aware, that God was watching over him and he sent him to people who could help him. It’s a relief to know that God does not disown us when we screw up, but once we are His, we are His forever. He continues to watch over our lives and direct us to where He wants us to be.
When we displace worry, we remember that God accomplishes what He has in store for our lives, even without our “help”. Overthinking doesn’t do much for us except cloud our minds of God’s wisdom and ability. Thinking beforehand of our actions and decisions are well, but we have to remember to seek God’s will and His standards, obey in faith, do only what we could and put our trust in God for what we couldn’t, and stop kicking ourselves when we do something wrong, and instead repent and thank God for His grace in our lives. Putting God first, fixing our eyes on Jesus, leads us to actually aiming at the right mark, where no distraction such as worry can hold us back. The next time we overthink (yes, I included myself), we can put a stopper to that with these. Ultimately, when we seek God everything that’s confusing in our lives become clearer and easier to understand.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. – Matthew 6:33 (NLT)