Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The perfect think

I think that thinking too much can be dangerous. As can thinking too little.

Too much and we can turn out thoughts into circles, unproductive and dizzy. When thoughts swirl in circles, they become confused, distorted, changed. Logic loses its stickiness and doubt, posing as level-thinking-can run rampant in the middle. We spin and spin and go nowhere.

Too little and our minds never stretch past the expanse of possibility. Complacency, whether fed by fear or laziness, can breed mental, spiritual, and emotional atrophy. Thinking too little robs us from self-discovery and growth.

So how do we find the right balance of thinking? A place where healthy analysis leads to positive understanding and action?

I don't know.

Sorry if you were hoping for an answer. This is my latest quest. I tend to overthink things. Then I find my thoughts are invaded by doubts and fears and justifications. Emotions, like anger, frustration, and embarrassment, can feed on my overactive thoughts. Then comes the inability to move, to act. I am paralyzed by the options, the avenues my overthinking engrave in my mind.

I want to find that perfect balance. The place where I consider something fully, prayerfully, decide on a course of action, then move forward, fearless and without regret.

But how?

I must resist the urge to overthink this. Oh the irony.

So here is what I will do.

Stop thinking about it.

Stop thinking about why I said that dumb thing when I was in a group of friends. Why my latest book was rejected by a publisher. Why raising an adoptive child is difficult. Why I stink at making dinner. Why I care what other people think. Why I can freely forgive most people, but there are four people that I can't seem to.

I have thought about these things, and many others, so much that the dizzying and dangerous conclusion to each one comes down to the same answer: Because I am not good enough.

And this is a tragedy of overthinking. We think and think and think until we come up with an answer that satisfies our mind, an answer that can't be argued with, an answer--a truth--that explains everything.

For some, it is that they are victims and life and everyone in it is out to get them. For others it is the opposite, that life is good but the fault lies within themselves.

Neither is wholly accurate.

And again we are looking at balance. Trying to find the perfect think.

So, I am going to stop, or try hard to, swinging too far to one side or another, like a pendulum pushed by an outside force.

I'm going to find that place in the middle, where my thoughts can sway just enough to see clearly and act wisely.

I'll stop assigning blame so much and start finding solutions. I'll stop letting fear spin me in circles and start standing still with courage. I'll stop worrying about opinions and start looking more for truth.

And maybe I'll even set a timer. Seriously. Like, give myself ten minutes to think about an issue, then go and cleanse my mind with an audiobook or This is Us or Lost. You know, to break the cycle. No binging, of course, because that could lead to not thinking enough because I don't want that either.

The most important element of the perfect think is who you invite into your thinking.

Satan would have you overthink until you are in a state of frenzied, miserable paralysis. He'd have you justify your way out of good relationships and opportunities. He'd have you think your way into addiction and self-loathing.


God, however, wants you to think, to learn, to long for knowledge and answers. Not confusion or distortion. But truth.

I find that when my overthinking begins to take hold, it's often because I took the "we" out of God.

God is not a solo kind of guy. There is always a "we" or an "us" with Him. There is no selfish agenda, no lone purpose. He is in me and I'm in Him. We are a we. And sometimes I forget that and pull and I. Like when I overthink.

I need to keep in mind, when there are serious things to think about, to invite Him into my mind and heart and process, trusting that, if I listen to Him, He can be the ultimate sounding board, temper my enthusiasm and crazy, and heal my yearning soul.

That, to me, sounds like the perfect think.

That, and a bunch of chocolate.

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