As someone who has been ‘chief over-thinker of them all’, I quite often get caught in these mental activity ‘traps’. These ‘traps’ send you on mental ‘trips’, kind of like the worst vacation you can imagine, an all-expenses-paid trip to misery between your ears!
Here are a few traps I’ve come up with over the years. Maybe there are more!
1. The over-planning trap. God says it will be OK, the Bible says that he has given me a hope and a future, but my mind runs away with all the things that could possibly go wrong. This is an example of faith in the negative.
2. The possible-conversation trap. The Bible says we will open our mouths and he will fill them. Instead, our minds go, ‘what about if they say this? Or that? What will I say then?!? and on and on. This can also be an example of faith in the negative: I must plan for every verbal outcome!
3. The ‘what if I forget?’ trap. We want to hear from God! But sometimes when we DO hear from God, we’re afraid of forgetting. Maybe you wrote it down in your journal right away, but the same situation comes up next year and it was totally forgotten!
What happens if you forget?
The Holy Spirit will remind you!
Holy Spirit is absolutely, completely patient and will do whatever it takes to remind you of whatever was said before! We don’t have to worry about the future any more – God has us in his hands.
He is not ‘I was’, ‘I will be’, he is ‘I AM’. Always. In every moment. He stands outside of time–time was created for us! We can live in the present moment, not having to dip into the future or the past!
4. The ‘what did I do wrong?’ trap! People will react funny sometimes to things you say or write. They’ll have a weird facial expression (which may mean anything from ‘I disliked that’ to ‘I have to poop’) or they’ll take whatever you said and go off on a weird tangent. You can’t control people. We are all fundamentally strange! We are uniquely designed, and live in a unique set of circumstances, with a unique upbringing! Nobody is ‘normal’! And that’s OK!
This goes along with:
5. The ‘over-analyzing what I said or wrote’ trap! You’ve proofread it ad nauseam, hit ‘Enter’ and committed your blog or Facebook post to the Internet, and now, hoo boy, it’s time to think about what you just wrote! How could it be misinterpreted? Did I use that phrase right (even though I looked it up on Google twice)?
It’s time to ditch that fear. Holy Spirit says it’s done, it’s done! Maybe it will need revision later as you get more revelation or learn to hear HS clearer! But that’s all right. Sometimes we have to hit Enter and just trust God!
Or, sometimes, we have to just say what needs to be said, and trust God for the outcome! I have worked in technical support for years, and one of the things about customer-facing jobs is that you have to often say uncomfortable things to the customer like, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t support this,’ or ‘I’m sorry, you don’t have a support contract,’ things like that! Sometimes we have to say what we are told to say (by our bosses or by Holy Spirit) and just leave the outcome to God!
Beloved, we can stop our minds and rest in Christ, knowing that he will carry us. Our lives are meant to be ‘better than Eden’: we have an advantage Adam didn’t have, namely, God within us! Our lives should manifest Edenic fruit! And they will! But we need to be in tune with the mind of Christ, which we already own! This is our inheritance: calm, well-balanced minds, free of fear and worry, fully resting, abiding, and trusting in God.
Don’t overthink things! I know this is easier said than done. I have had to stop myself and say, out loud, ‘no!’ when my mind gets carried away. We can shut down this fruitless activity in our heads and let the Lord make us lie down in green pastures!