danielleecheer asked: Hi! Please pray that I over come my struggle of overthinking and becoming paranoid
Hi! :) Sometimes when we overthink things all we can hear is our own voice repeating our own problems over and over, ultimately leaving little space to hear God’s voice and the encouragement and direction He has for each day. To help create margin in a cluttered mind and better experience the presence of God throughout your day, I’ve found some of these strategies that have worked for others in your situation:
1. Start each morning by “receiving the day.” This means turning your heart toward God, giving each day to Him (Psalm 74:16), and receiving His agenda, with all its joys and frustrations, instead of obsessing over yours. What this could look like, for example, is sitting for one minute with your hands up and asking God to help you think the way He wants you to think that day. You can also take time whenever you’re doing something routine and frequent, such as washing your hands, to reopen your hands and your heart to God. Doing things like that can help recenter your day around the Lord who is before all things and in whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).
2. Take a break from music and other media. Instead of distracting yourself from life as you go from one thing to another, you can use my driving time to transition and process in silence. You could try turning off the radio and pray about what you’re driving towards—whether it’s about being sensitive to the friend you’re about to meet or something else. Sometimes silence can help create space to notice the beautiful things around you as you drive around town and/or it can help you hear God better.
3. Look at the sky at least once a day. This handy tip comes from Mma Ramotswe of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. She’s a fictional detective living in Botswana who has surprisingly deep insights into life. She often takes time to look at the endless skies in Botswana as she thinks about life and the cases she must solve. I started noticing the sky a lot more as I read these books last summer, and I realized there is something humbling and quieting about looking outside your world and worries to the beauty of the sky.
4. Set a physical boundary to stop thinking about work and/or school. A friend told me a rule her dad made for himself: He would stop thinking about work when he passed the bridge on his commute home. Brilliant! On your way home, once you turn onto a specific street, don’t think about the stress of work or school eat away at you any longer. The worries may try to sneak back in within 10 seconds, but just say aloud to yourself, “You can’t think about school anymore because you’re not on *blank* road.” Some days you may have to remind yourself four or five times, but there is peace that can eventually come from this type of discipline.
5. Pray about life’s worries. Believers are commanded to pray about life’s worries. These prayers are to be more than requests for favorable answers. They are to include thanksgiving and praise along with the needs. Praying in this way reminds us of the many blessings God continually gives us whether we ask or not. This reminds us of God’s great love for us and that He knows and does what is best for us.
6. Find a sense of security in Jesus. Worry is proportional to our sense of security. When life is going as planned and we feel safe in our life routines, then worries subside. Likewise, worry increases when we feel threatened, insecure or are overly focused on and committed to some result. 1 Peter 5:7 says cast your cares upon Jesus because He cares for you. The practice of believers is to take our worries to Jesus in prayer and leave them with Him. This reinforces our dependence on, and faith in Jesus.
7. Train yourself to recognize a wrong focus. Worries increase when we become focused on the things of this world. Jesus said the treasures of this world are subject to decay and can be taken away but heavenly treasures are secure (Matthew 6:19). Therefore, set your priorities on God and not on money (Matthew 6:24). Man worries about such things as having food and clothes but is given life by God. God provides life, without which the concerns of life are meaningless. No amount of worry will add even one hour to one’s life (Matthew 6:27). Therefore, why worry? The Bible teaches that we should deal with each day’s problems when they occur and not be obsessed with future concerns that may not happen (Matthew 6:34).
8. Focus yourself on Jesus. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus visits the house of the sisters Martha and Mary. Martha was busy with many details regarding making Jesus and his disciples comfortable. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary should be busy helping but Jesus told Martha that “…you are worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42) What is this one thing that freed Mary from the business and worries experienced by her sister? Mary chose to focus on Jesus, listen to Him and ignore the immediate demands of hospitality. I do not believe that Mary was being irresponsible, rather she wanted to experience and learn from Jesus first and later, when He was done speaking, she would fulfill her duties. Mary had her priorities straight. Put God first and He will free us from worries and take care of the rest of our concerns.
9. Be open to receiving help from others. A temptation, when you’re stressed out and at the breaking point, is to isolate yourself. You want say, “I don’t want anybody in my life. I’m stressed out.” That’s a big mistake. When you are at your breaking point, when you are stressed to the limit, you need people in your life. You need people who will give you support, give you strength, and most of all give you perspective. When you’re stressed, you don’t think straight, you don’t see the whole picture, and you have a limited perspective. You need somebody else who can help you see the bigger picture. You need people when you’re at the breaking point. It is one reason why being a part of the church family is so important. Some people come and attend but maybe never join the church family. You need to build those friendships with some godly Christians who know the Bible and who can pray for you when you can’t pray. Have you ever been in so much pain you couldn’t pray? Sure. Have you ever been so depressed you couldn’t pray? Probably. When you’re in that situation, you need some friends who can pray for you. When you can’t believe God because you’re so devastated, you need somebody to believe God for you, somebody to have faith when you have no faith, and somebody to have confidence when you’re full of doubt. A genuine Christian friend walks in when everybody else walks out.
10. Turn off the TV, computer, iPad, and/or smartphone at least an hour before bed. Although this may seem like a no-brainer, it is surprisingly easy to entertain or inform yourself right up to the time you need to go to bed… and then you might be surprised to find that your mind is racing as you try to fall asleep! Well, there’s research that shows screen time before bed interferes with sleep. That time can turn into a daily quiet time. You can thank God for His strength during that day, and ask for His continued strength not to dissect and overanalyze it. There’s a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Then you can try moving on to spending time with the God you love.
I really hope some of these tips/ideas helped you! :) Life is full of hardships and challenges that will try to stress you out. Life comes equipped with stress. You have the choice of how you handle that stress. Does the stress get placed under the rug or at the foot of the Father? You decide!<3
Philippians 4:6,7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Psalms 37:5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.
Psalms 55:22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
John 14:27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.