When several people you love spill the same words into your lap, maybe it’s time to give those words some careful thought. Ironically, the words I’ve heard from the mouths of at least 5 or 6 friends over the decades has been, “You think too much!”
It’s true. I love to think! I love the process of fact finding, discovering new principles, learning how to apply those principles, and then teaching them to others. It’s a process that lights a fire in my bones and keeps me longing for more. I teach and write because I enjoy the groundwork of learning new things and the challenge of explaining them to others. I also fully admit that I have learned much more through my mistakes and failures than any of my successes.
Whether you consider yourself to be deep a thinker or one who simply goes with the flow, God made you to be a thinker. We are all thinkers, but not all of us talk about what we’re thinking. The Bible, however, says much more about thinking than you might realize. The apostle Paul explained in Romans 12 that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. This renewal of our thoughts enables us to discern God’s will. This discernment in turn becomes our most powerful weapon for demolishing the strongholds, arguments, and all those proud things that go against our knowledge of God. It provides us with the ability to take captive every thought to transform them into ones that honor Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
To take your thoughts captive you must take some time to think about what you think about. Every toxic thought about yourself or someone else should be identified and bathed in words of healing from Scripture – words breathed by the very breath of the Holy Spirit. Every thought that either quietly tiptoes in or barges right through the front door of your mind must pass through the filter of God’s Word to determine if it is true, helpful, important, necessary, and kind.
I’ve been immersed in retraining my brain for the past few months. As a result, a most painful memory floated to the surface – a very old one that I never shared with anyone until this past summer. Since exposing it, I’ve come to realize that many of my insecurities stem from this one event. If you can relate to this in any way, please talk to someone you trust. Keep talking until you figure things out, because dark things die in the light of day. On the other hand, if you have friends who need to talk, the most Christlike thing you can do for them is to listen. They need you.
Much of what my friends saw as “thinking too much” was really my brain in search mode frantically trying to identify the broken piece that I unknowingly kept encased for years. It was as if my mind knew my brain had a leak, but couldn’t locate the hole to apply the patch. So, year after year, friend after friend, I spoke many thoughts, but couldn’t consciously conjure up the source of my brokenness – until this year. Truly, the Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) He often saves us by sending His love through the friends He’s given us.
My brokenness caused me to suspiciously overthink everything, everyone, and every motive. I appeared to be judgmental when really, I was using my friends’ lives as mirrors that I hoped would reflect what needed changing in my life. It finally happened! Today, I still think more than ever, but I think differently. I’ve taken some good counseling advice and when thoughts of the cause of my brokenness sneak in, I think about them briefly, but I don’t stay there long. Instead, I focus not only on the loving resolution God provided, but also on how to use my pain for someone else’s gain. God has blessed me beyond all measure. He’s given me much more than I deserve, and I’ve become ever so thankful.
So, to all my friends who said, “You think too much”, I can only say:
“Thank you for helping me learn to dwell on the things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8) It’s taken (and continues to take) a great deal of repetition and much patience on your part for me to change my habits, and I thank God every day for your faithful love.”
“May the name of God
be praised forever and ever,
for wisdom and power belong to him.
He changes the times and seasons;
he removes kings and establishes kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those
who have understanding.
He reveals the deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and light dwells with him.
I offer thanks and praise to you,
God of my fathers,
because you have given me
wisdom and power.”
(Daniel 2:20-23a, CSB)