My mind does a funny thing when it freaks out.
It decides to take a perfectly normal situation, and come up with about seven different things that could go wrong out of it. Or it can take something someone says, something completely innocent, and turn it into five different reasons why that person hates me.
It’s classic overthinking, and it tends to happen because:
I’m worrying about “what ifs” when I don’t need to be.
I’m taking something personally that doesn’t really have much to do with me.
I care too much about what other people think.
The problems with overthinking?
It’s useless, and it’s exhausting. You wear yourself out over it, and it doesn’t get you anywhere.
But sometimes I really think it’s how things are supposed to be. I have to think of every possible outcome, so I’ll be “prepared“. I have to worry about what everyone thinks of me, so I can get everyone to like me.
However, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Jesus had in mind when he said he wanted us to “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV).
A full life doesn’t mean full of crippling thoughts and fear.
1 John 4:18, NIV says that “perfect love drives out fear”. But before you go off the deep end with that thinking, as you realize that your love for God is probably nowhere near perfect, consider this: it’s not about our love for God. It’s about his love for us.
And if that’s not enough, I have more good news.
You don’t have to live under the cloud of anxious overthinking.
It can feel impossible to defeat, I know. How do you keep one thing from spiraling out of control in your head, going from one innocent thought to many worries and cares?
The Bible has words for that. There are tons of sources of inspiration, and there are people out there who will help. But start with God. Remember, he rises to defend us. His promises give us everything we need.
Here are 10 Bible verses for when you’re overthinking, to help you get back to a more peaceful, faithful place.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39 NIV
Nothing will separate us from the love of the Creator who watches over us. Take a step back and realize the magnitude of this. How incredible it is that such a good and powerful God is always on our side.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:14 NIV
When I’m full of fear, I naturally want to take control of everything. Often I come to realize that less is in my control than I think it is. But God promises he will fight for us, and – here’s the best part – we only need to be still. Of course, do what you can. But when you have nothing to offer, God works incredible miracles.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:1-2 NIV
When we focus on what’s around us, our problems overwhelm us and God can appear small in our minds. Another quote I love? Tell your mountain about your God. Keep things in their proper perspective by looking up, not around. (Shout-out to Lauren Daigle for a beautiful song and perfect lyrics.)
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10 NIV
If it’s not the circumstances that are stressful, it might be the people involved. So much overthinking can be traced back to trying to figure people out. What are they thinking about me? Am I making a fool of myself? Do they know what I’m thinking? Again, look up, not around!
Also consider – could it be that person you worry about is just as anxious or as vulnerable as you?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” – Hebrews 12:1 NIV
Keep your eyes focused ahead, on the path already marked out for you. Overthinking holds you back; acting out of fear can lead you to doing the wrong thing. Choose faith over fear, every time. (Even if it means being still and waiting for God to work – see above.)
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
You have power over your thoughts. They don’t control you. You control them. Choose to make them obedient to Christ, by focusing on the good, fixing what you can, and believing God’s promises.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34 NIV
You can choose not to worry. At the very least, you can learn how not to worry. Let go of the things that you can’t do anything about.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NIV
You can choose to not be afraid or discouraged. We can give into our feelings and think we’ve lost power over our own emotions. But we can take back that power! Remind yourself of every time God has come through for you, and remember that he is with you always, wherever you go.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” – Proverbs 4:23 NIV
You can be proactive about protecting your mind and heart. Are there certain books, movies, or shows that contribute to your anxious thinking? Are there situations you can avoid? Conversations you can have? Go on the offensive against that line of thinking before it even starts.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” – Philippians 4:6-8 NIV
Possibly the most practical of all the scriptures on negative thoughts and anxiety. How to stop overthinking and worrying? Decide not to be anxious. Pray about it. Think through the things you are grateful for. And set your mind on things that are true and worthy, not on the lies and fears. Peace is on its way.
How about you?
Do you have trouble with overthinking? What helps you to overcome it?
Download a list of all the scriptures used in this study below!
Scriptures are quoted from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.