In March of 2016, I lost the love of my life to metastatic breast cancer. For the first eight months after her death I struggled to put the pieces of my life back together, and to make sense of it all.
After a few months I stopped asking my #1 question, “Why did this happen?”, because I knew from attending grief counseling there would be no answer forthcoming. At least not in this lifetime. However, two burning questions still remained … “Who am I now?” and “What’s next?”
For months, I had prayed about the two remaining questions during my ‘5K Faith Walks’ to no avail. Then something amazing happened during one of my walks. When I pressed for answers my ‘inner’ voice spoke to me. You know the one I’m talking about, right? That little voice in your head you hear on occasion when you are able to quiet your mind long enough to listen. The voice said …
“Stop overthinking it and just live”.
Honestly, I had to stop for a moment to make sure that I was not hallucinating or worse, losing my mind. You see, it had been a very long time since I had heard the Holy Spirit speak to me so clearly. After recovering from the initial shock, I came to the realization that this response made a lot of sense. My inner voice was telling me, “I know what you are going through, I’ve got this, now go live your life.”
Up to that point I had been doing far too much over-thinking and getting nowhere in the process. When I did a little more research on the topic of how we can stop over-thinking and get peace of mind, several things were more apparent to me. There are numerous antidotes to stop over-thinking and get peace of mind. However, you can boil them down to a few common themes:
Spend more time in the present moment.
Realize you cannot control everything.
Be patient (this is a tough one for me).
Redirect your attention to others.
I believe that peace of mind begins when we are able to accept our circumstances, both good and bad, for what they are, a part of life’s journey, and trust in God to get us through it. Jesus’s message in Matthew 4:19 was clear when he spoke to Simon Peter and his brother Andrew on the bank of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus said to them, “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”.
What I took away from this Bible passage were two things. First, trust that God has a plan and follow Him. The second, I firmly believe, was a call to action to help others who are suffering to find hope and salvation through His Word. Often when faced with adversity, we tend to over-complicate things to the point of losing perspective.
Rather than seeking comfort through Christ, we turn inward and distance ourselves from our faith and from other people, only making matters worse.
Our country, our world, and many of us, are suffering through hard times right now with health or financial issues, or mourning the loss of a loved one. So I encourage you to stay strong when faced with what appears to be an insurmountable challenge or loss. Put your trust in God to get you through it.
Don’t overthink it. Be patient, listen to your inner voice, find ways to help others through your experience and … JUST LIVE.
Enjoy the journey!
COPYRIGHT © 2016-20 John Carroll