Curse of the Over-Thinker
I know a woman who has spent a large part of her life as an over-thinker. What is an over-thinker you ask? An over-thinker is nothing more than a habitual worrier. This is the kind of person who wakes up at 5 in the morning and wonders what she will make for supper at 5 PM. She goes over an exhaustive mental checklist of things before she is even out of bed. She feels like she cannot take a breath or a moment to relax because she has so much to do. Understandably, this woman is overwhelmed by life.
The Lord gives us some very sound advice and wisdom when he tells us not to worry about tomorrow.
Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34
It is the cares of this world that will choke the life out of the Word He puts into our hearts. It’s the little worries about things that always seem to get us. We do not always trust what we cannot see (God). And because we do not understand what is happening to us or why we fret and worry as though God were not in control. Our worrying and fretting are really us telling God that He is not big enough, smart enough, or powerful enough to handle any problem we could possibly have. We can be such faithless creatures.
In Matthew 6 Jesus reduces our responsibilities to those of today. If you are an over thinker or a habitual worrier, narrow your focus from the big picture to the little one. Today is all the Lord has asked you to manage, and He is here to help you do that.
The command not to worry must be applied in times of circumstantial difficulty. You can’t practice not worrying when times are good. We imagine that a little worry and concern will show how wise we really are when in fact, it is an indication of how foolish and sinful we really are. Here is another important point: If we were content to let God have his own way, we would not be worried. But because we are determined to have our own way, we worry that something is going to happen that will upset our little idea of what reality should be. If all this weren’t enough, understand that when we worry we are in effect telling God that his plans are not good enough for us either.
Sometimes we act like God has a way of messing up our plans. We plan things without counting God in and then are somewhat surprised and dumbfounded when He shows up! We like to leave God out of the everyday activities of our lives unless it is a spiritual thing. With those things, we think it is necessary and even desirable to invite Him to participate, but the mundane and ordinary tasks of life we think we can handle ourselves. We must keep in mind that we are the servants, He is the Master. We are to be available to do his bidding and work regardless of our personal thoughts on the matter.
Habitual worriers tend not to pray much. To overcome worry God says I must pray, and I must not be anxious and doubt that God will answer my prayers. My responsibility is to prayerfully present my needs, and my questions, and my desires and longings to God; and to do so with humility and thanksgiving for everything I have in my life (Philippians 4:6).
You can begin praying by telling God the very things you worry about. The people in your life, the items on your list of things to do, or the money that you have or that you don’t have. Offer Him rights to your home, your possessions, and last but not least, give God yourself to God. You belong to Him anyway, so you might as well agree with Him in prayer that He has the right to change any part of your day or life that He chooses or needs to do so to accomplish His will in you and glorify Himself. Doing this changes your outlook on things when the unexpected comes up.
Once you have given the Lord His rightful ownership over your time, schedule, family, and all the rest you can proceed to your day. Having prepared your mind, planned your day, and then prayed over it and through it, you can proceed in faith and obedience. You will find an amazing thing will happen! Whatever the challenge, task, crisis, or interruption, God will provide for you. He will provide wisdom (James 1:5), strength (Philippians 4:13), and whatever you need (Philippians 4:19). Since God has commanded us not to worry, He will certainly provide a way for us to obey Him in this.
One final thought; when I look back on challenging times in my life when I did not succeed with not worrying, I am well aware that God was teaching me through it. He enabled me to deal with difficult circumstances. His grace was completely sufficient, and I grew spiritually because of what I faced. I can also tell you, I’m a much stronger Christian today because of those times in my life that were full of legitimate reasons to worry. As a result, I know more about God today. I know more about waiting, trusting, and persevering.
So, where does today find you? What are the circumstances of your life? Are your emotions stretched to the limit? What fires are purifying your faith? Whatever it is that burdens you today, Jesus is calling you to live one day at a time. He is commanding you not to worry about tomorrow and to be anxious about nothing. No matter what your particular challenges are, praying and trusting God by faith will help you as you manage life’s demands. God is here to help us as we face daily life and he promises we will see beautiful fruit from our obedience and reliance upon him.