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Inspiration & Encouragement

Battling Anxiety: An Open Letter to an Overthinker

crop pitiful black woman embracing knees on bed

Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:6-7


Overthink (v): to think too much about (something), to put too much time into thinking about or analysing (something) in a way that is more harmful than helpful (

Why did I say that? I know I should not have said that. Now they wont ever take me seriously again. I always say stupid things. This is why I am alone and why my friends hardly want to be around me. I ALWAYS do this”.

As one who spends a lot of time in my head, the above is a spiel I am all too familiar with; if like me, you’re prone to overthinking, I know you can relate too. Is this way of thinking healthy or even helpful? The definition was careful to include “ a way that is more harmful than helpful” so it’s safe to say the answer to this question is a resounding no.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “guard diligently the avenues of your mind for out of it flows the issues of life”. At first glance, one would think that we are being told to guard only the things we consume – whether by eating, drinking, reading, watching, listening and even the conversations we have. But in addition to that, we are also being admonished to guard with all diligence the thoughts that we allow to take root, the way we speak of and to ourselves (& many persons might claim not to speak to themselves, but trust me, we all talk to ourselves).

Imagine a situation where a child is verbally abused by a parent from a young age. Being told that they are useless, and hearing this constantly, they will eventually start to accept this as truth and will either fight to prove them wrong or settle into this as who they are. Now, if every day we speak (or think) depreciating things about ourselves, how long before our minds start accepting and acting on this?

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 18:21 that “death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it, eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 23:7 further states “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!” How long have you been stuck or crippled at this place because you have convinced yourself that this is who you are or “I’ll always be like this so why should I try?”

“For I know the thoughts I think towards you, thoughts of hope and of peace, to give you an expected end and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11. Though said through Jeremiah to ancient Israel, the Lord is also speaking to you and me, even today. “All scripture is given of God for instruction, reproof, correction in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16. Now, if the Almighty God only has thoughts of hope and peace toward you, who are you to think yourself into an unholy funk and deny yourself that right as a co-heir with Jesus? How dare you?

Overthinking is a close (enough) relative to anxiety. Let us revisit our scripture focus; be anxious about NOTHING but present ALL THINGS (everything) to God. The word anxious is defined as “feeling or showing worry, nervousness or unease about something with an uncertain outcome (end).

As people, we have an incessant need to know how things play out, some more than others (control freaks like me, let’s form a support group later). There is a common statement, “why worry when you can pray?” Matthew 6:31-33 tells us loosely not to worry for your Father in Heaven knows all that you have need of. Let us expand that, don’t worry about the negative perceptions others might have about you, don’t worry about why you’re still single, don’t worry about that research paper (ahem!), don’t worry about any of it!

Verse 33 of Matthew 6 tells us to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God and it’s righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

Now, let us go back to Proverbs 4:23, what does guard the mind look like? It means setting up a sentinel against what enters and exits the mind. Thoughts of inadequacy, thoughts of jealousy, thoughts of bitterness, thoughts of perceived mistreatment should not be admitted. Psalm 139:14 tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  These negative thoughts should be replaced with the truth of who GOD says we are. A child of the King, of a chosen generation, co-heir with Christ, called out of darkness into His marvelous light. That is who I am and that is who YOU are too.

The next time you fall prey to the trap of overthinking, remember this affirmation.

I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God says I am His child, and I will not allow the lies of the enemy to take root in my mind and rob me of my peace. I will not allow these negative thoughts to cause me to doubt that God’s words are true.