Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. Following on from my comments last time on frustrations, I have decided I am a thinker. I ponder, muse, speculate, evaluate, & explore everything. In truth, I probably overthink. If it were possible, sometimes I could probably think things to death.
In the past I have been known to consider things I should have said & should have done. I relive discussions & circumstances I have had. I have dwelt on mistakes & analyzed them in great detail. I have recalled the sorrows & heartaches of my past like a broken record. I have had thoughts like if only, what if, or I should have.
Unfortunately, the more I think, the more I despair.
A certain amount of self-evaluation can be good. We should have insight into ourselves, our motives, our choices, & our actions. We should keep aware of the ways we minimize our sin. We need to know the temptations we are prone to give in to.
But sometimes we can go too far. When self-evaluation ends with ourselves instead of pointing us beyond ourselves, there is a problem. I have learnt bad self-evaluation keeps us focused on ourselves & the things we should have done, ought to do, & will do. We dwell on our guilt over sin, shame over sins done to us, & regrets over what we wish had happened.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote: ‘overthinking & self-evaluation can actually encourage & contribute to spiritual depression. There is a type of person who tends to be always analyzing himself, analyzing everything he does, & worrying about the possible effects of his actions, always harking back, always full of vain regrets. (Spiritual Depression, 17)
He explains there is a difference between self-examination, which is something we should do, & introspection, which is when self-examination becomes something we always do. We are meant to examine ourselves periodically, but if we are always doing it, always, as it were, putting our soul on a plate and dissecting it, that is introspection. (17)
When introspection pulls us down into despair, it’s no longer self-examination, but what Martyn Lloyd-Jones calls morbidity. This morbidity makes us focus all our energies on ourselves, making us self-centered.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote; we should know our strengths & weaknesses. If we tend toward overthinking & too much self-evaluation, we need to be cautious of this tendency & be on the lookout for it. There is great wisdom in knowing our tendencies, being mindful of them, & resisting them. 1
For those of us who tend toward too much self-evaluation, what should we do when we find ourselves overthinking things? We do not have to listen to ourselves. Instead, we can talk back to ourselves. We can take our thoughts captive. I try to put them in a box & go do something, like writing this missive to you.
Even when our thoughts betray us, & we find ourselves consumed with should haves & what ifs. It is good to evaluate ourselves. We should have insight into our thoughts & actions. But we cross the line when it becomes all we think about. If you tend toward overthinking, know yourself, know your tendencies; I find it helps to talk to someone who listens.
Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the long weekend for those who are able to enjoy it & another week of success & results ahead. Please take care out there. I look forward to being with you all again then.
1 Inspired by Christina Fox, the author of. You can find her at www.christinafox.com & on Facebook.