OVERTHINKING

Today, someone asked me, “what’s your dream?”

“I’ve seen your videos, your photos, your music, and just the way that you live… and it’s clear that you’re passionate about something — what is that thing?”

It kindof caught me off guard, because most people don’t really ask that sort of thing just in the midst of everyday activity. But the funny thing, is that I’m usually the guy asking. I love hearing the about the things that make people’s hearts set of fire in this life. But this time, I was left just a bit speechless because I didn’t expect it. Before I knew it, I was spouting off this idea, this concept of a vision statement that seemed to line up with the things that I care the most about. It seemed to make sense, logically following the patterns and identity that I’ve crafted. We both seemed satisfied from my response, and maybe even a little motivated by it… but it felt empty.

The upsetting part about all of this, and I even admitted this to him, is that I’ve changed that answer countless times as I’ve been asked by different people. Not that it was circumstantial or anything, but I’ve simply yet to find the answer to that lofty question of why I’m here on this earth. It’s been the question that’s plagued me the longest, and the deepest. I mean, I’ve got ideas for days and even some backing behind some of them… but I feel almost embarrassed by the fact for someone who’s so very oriented toward fulfilling dreams, I don’t know truly what my grandest vision is.

“I’ve overthought everything I can think of…”

That’s a lyric in a song called “Say My Name” by Odesza, and it hits just a little bit too close to home. I’m a compulsive and obsessive over-thinker, and if I’m not careful, I can find myself being massively overwhelmed by something that’s super simple. I’d like to think that sometimes it can be beneficial in the right situation, but it’s really more of a burden than anything. But, more than any situation, emotion, predicament, or ambition, overthinking the future is by far the most devastating.

I feel like it’s a kind of madness, really.

I wish I could say that I’ve become immune to this disease of sorts, because of the countless times that the Lord has proven His faithfulness in my life… but I would be lying if I did. Since I was 15, it’s been a semi-common occurrence that, at least a few random times a month, I’d find myself in the perfect storm of tiredness, hunger, anger, or loneliness, and that overthinking part of my brain goes crazy. In that moment of feeling like I’m emotionally drowning, the things that are true become blurred and out of focus. The reality of the Lord’s Kingship in my life seems irrelevant, and the long list of blessings that He’s already put in my life seem stupid. Truly, my life is wonderful — if you’ve read this blog even once, you’d know that I’m a joyful, altruistic optimist to the max… so how the heck does that happen?

The trouble is that I overcomplicated a simple truth.

Somewhere in the process of arriving at this seeming point of desperation, I lean too heavily on the complexities of life, and insist that the simplicity of the gospel isn’t enough. That simply being a child of God is surely too easy for that to be the prime focus of a person who’s driven and hungry for the best of life. Of course, I understand that salvation is a gift and that Christ loves me… so that leaves me open and able to focus on the more “productive” parts of life, like careers, jobs, passions, and dreams, right? Surely, I’m a solid enough of a person that I can handle carrying the mantle of determining my destiny and crafting my own future, right?

Nope. 

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There is nothing more intricate, complex, innovative, and perfectionistic than the simplicity found in the love of Christ. What kind of gaul… what kind of madness have I succumbed to, to think that I can possibly ever truly understand the love of Christ, and find it acceptable to move on from? To overthink is to cheapen — it’s to look at something and say, “it’s only good enough if I deem it to be”… and that’s the last thing that I wanna do in regards to my God. Whether in the most mundane and simple things, or the seemingly grandiose and incalculable, we must choose to let go of our need to understand.

It’s not like my reality becomes corrupt when I overthink. My heart is still beating, the day still ticks away, and life continues to bustle on, regardless of my quandary. Life is still so rich because of the salvation that Christ has provided, and everything around me is still saturated with His glory. Except, that we become focused on the wrong thing. A myriad of blessings could be swirling around us, but we find a way to be intoxicated by that one remaining little speck of lack. That speck might look differently for each person — problems are never equal. But the response has to always be the same: Choose to focus on the simple gospel.

Maybe this doesn’t speak to you in any way at all, because you’ve got a better grasp on following Jesus than me. Or maybe you don’t overthink things like this at all — celebrate that, because you’re a blessed human. But in any case, I need to write this and proclaim this difficult truth over my life, even if nobody else cares. I’ve had enough of this feeling, this idea of meaninglessness, that I’ve occasionally chosen to believe. Jesus gave His life, not so that I’d squander His freely given independence from sin… but to live a powerful, strong life, full of the Holy Spirit, and secure in the fact that my being is far more important than my deeds. To be found in the reality of salvation, and acting in the simplicity of the gospel is far more important than the pursuit of a challenge.

“Let go of your dreams to find your destiny.”

That’s something a dear friend of mine said to me after describing these feelings I’d been having. Man, that’s a hard thing to hear, especially for a person who’s highly ambitious and deeply motivated… but it’s exactly what I needed to hear. All of those lofty goals, and even those deeply-instilled passions are important — don’t get me wrong. They might even be God-inspired! But, no matter how vast the dream, the reality of God’s unique, individual love for you always wins. Always. I hate hearing that, because it means that there’s nothing that I can do to improve. God says that there’s nothing I can do to make Him love me more or less…. which is AMAZING. But, I’ve overthought even the simplicity of grace, and found it merited to try to attain more than only God is capable of giving. 

But now I see clearly. The fog of accomplishment is being wiped away, and my obsession with productivity is being assuaged by grace. Veiled no more, my focus is solely on seeking to be more like Christ. This surely won’t be the last time that I feel this way — emotions are fickle like that. But the next time, I’ll have even this very blog post to lean back on, to remind me, and refocus me back on the reality of the Love of God, that makes everything else fade away. I’m confident that I’ll always overthink things, but the truth found in Christ is far more wonderfully complex than even the furthest depths of my mind’s wanderings. That makes me confident, and I hope that it’ll do the same for you in this day.

BIG IDEA: Let go of your dreams to find your destiny. 

I pray that in this day, you let yourself be weak. Allow yourself the precious commodity of vulnerability, and find some people to let your guard down with. But even more imperative than that, allow yourself to be weak before your God. He knows EVERY single thing about you, including your unlikely tendency to overthink! Let Him comfort you in your moment of despair, and let His truth to be reintroduced to you like an old friend. His love is never old, it’s never a step-stool, and it’s never understandable… but it is the one thing that we must focus on. I pray that the reality of Jesus’ death washes over you afresh in this day, and makes you radiant and vibrant with hope. May your focus be sharpened, may your eyes be opened, and may your dreams be put in right standing, behind intimacy with Christ. You’re not in this thing alone, and you’re loved more than you could ever know. I pray the very best of the Lord’s will into your reality, and that He’ll make you into a new creation in this day. I love you, friend. Keep moving forward.