Thinking is highly overrated!
Yes, you read the title correctly. I said thinking is highly overrated.
Undoubtedly, you have experienced times when you would have done well to have taken more time to stop and think before acting on a quick decision. I have had my share of such experiences. Calm, clear-minded thinking is a key to good decision-making, which is a key to living well. Good thinking is a good thing.
But let’s consider anxiety and worry for a bit today. Anxiety is certainly an upleasant and draining experience. Well, it is for me, anyway. I’m guessing it is for you, too, whenever you get caught up in it. It can pre-occupy our thoughts and attention from other, more important places. It can really wear us out. It can even make us sick. Do you suffer from chronic headaches, backaches, stomachaches, etc? Could be a stress/anxiety thing.
So, where does anxiety come from? What fuels it? Why do some people seem to be engulfed by it, while others seem barely affected by it? I will suggest to you a simple formula that reflects one’s basic level of anxiety on any given day.
The more you think about a situation that you believe to be important, but is beyond your ability to directly control, the more you will fill up with anxiety, worry, and stress.
If it is beyond your ability to control, let it go. Quit thinking about it! I’m not talking about avoiding things that need to be faced. I am talking about recognizing when something is either in someone else’s control or a situation you can only address at a later time, and then accepting that it is beyond your control at the present. And by accepting that some things are beyond our control at present, we can then let them go and give our attention and energy to those things we actually can impact right now! This shift in focus decreases our anxiety level and maximizes our life-effectiveness. Big time.
This problem of over-thinking situations has caused immeasurable stress and grief in my life, so I’m speaking from experience here. And I am so thankful I am learning how to let go of things beyond my control, as I am living with increasing peace and freedom in my life. It really is the good life, too.
So next time you find yourself stressing out over something, try this. Stop and ask yourself what, exactly, you are worried about. Then, ask yourself how much you can actually impact or control that situation. Next, dig deep and grab hold of whatever courage you need to muster to take action on the parts you can actually manage. Finally, let go of the rest of it. Trust that God knows what is going on, and what is going to happen, and what you need through all of it, and that He will see you through. Trust that you have what it takes to handle whatever happens, whenever the time comes for you to handle it. Dwelling on it before you can take meaningful action will only strip you of the confidence and energy you will need when the time comes. And here is a simple little prayer that can help you tremendously with this new way of life:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.