“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Philippians 4:6
Have you ever said “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with my life? What if I never find it? Will I always be unhappy and unfulfilled? Will I never achieve my purpose?” “I ask God so why doesn’t He answer my prayers for direction?” “Maybe I’m just too sinful or something. I know I should read the Bible more. Am I I’m in some kind of punishment for that? Am I really so much worse than everybody else?” “I just don’t have any special gifts or talents.” “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do …”
Does this resemble your thinking sometimes? Perhaps not about your career, but about finding a spouse, or affording a house, or exercising regularly, or a conflict with your mother or boss. Do you tend to overthink things? To worry and endlessly, passively, excessively ponder the meanings, causes and potential consequences of your problems? Do you dwell on them?
Some people believe that when we feel down about something we should try to evaluate our situation from every angle to gain insight and find solutions. However, research has shown that dwelling on thoughts like this creates negative outcomes: it sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negative thinking, depletes motivation, saps energy, interferes with concentration, and typically impairs our problem-solving.
“You need to free yourself from the clutch of your ruminations – in other words, immediately stop overthinking.”
Based on what Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6, he gives 3 clear instructions for those of us who meditate on our problems. He says:
1) do not worry about anything
2) pray about everything
3) thank God for everything
What if we took this instruction to heart and put it into practice? What if we decided not to worry about anything? What if when we found ourselves worrying, we stopped and handed the situation over to God in prayer? What if we then thanked Him for taking care of the issue? In fact, what if we spent most of our mental free-time today thinking about what good care our awesome God takes of us? What if we counted our blessings and God’s acts of faithfulness today and again tomorrow and next week too? What would happen then?
Paul says in verse seven, we will begin to experience amazing peace, a kind of peace we can’t even imagine. Peace that makes no earthly sense! This kind of peace is so powerful that it has a protective function on our hearts and minds, which only makes it easier for us to stop worrying and be thankful. That sounds like a state of happiness to me! So let’s not over-think it and let’s not under-pray it either. Let’s actively choose to have a happy, thankful day and get up tomorrow and do it again!
Dear Lord, I’m turning over all my fears and problems to You to handle today. I can’t fix a single thing by worrying about it – but You can fix anything because nothing is impossible for You! Thanks for being in charge of my day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.