I can have a tendency to over-think things. Over-thinkers have their good AND bad sides. We usually remember important events and are good at planning things out. We can be the visionaries of the group, or can be really thoughtful. But there’s an ugly side, too. A reeeeeeally ugly side.
With an over-working brain comes a LOT of random thinking, thinking about any and everything: how things can go wrong, how you screwed up your last conversation or task, how you shouldn’t have said it like that, or done it like that, or should have done it differently, how someone might be upset with you over it, and why are they so touchy anyway?
See? It can get ugly.
The good news is that God has blessed us with really powerful brains. The bad news is that — like all powerful things — they can often be the object of our own demise.
Paul gives us some direction in Philippians 4:8-9.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Paul tells us: RE-AIM YOUR MIND! He knows that when your thoughts are running amok, trying to wrangle them in is almost impossible. Instead what he suggests is to replace your thoughts with something good — ANYTHING good. He says if there's anything good AT ALL in your life, think about that instead.
On top of that, he writes that if there's anything we've learned from Paul, to practice it. If there’s something you learned in a sermon, or from your reading, or from your time with the Lord — anything! — go and do it, until your thoughts are re-aligned.
Try it this week. When you over thinkers (all of us, really) get caught in an ugly thought cycle, try shifting your thoughts to something good taking place in your life, or try recalling something you liked in a sermon or worship song recently, and keep doing it until your thoughts are under control again.
The good news is that we’re promised: “the God of peace will be with you.”