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  • Cheryl

A Confrontation of My Own Overthinking vs God's Loving Hand

This had been sitting in my drafts box since my first Winter Quarter at the University of Oregon (pre-Covid, if you can remember those days). Funny how the wisdom of life lessons a younger version of us once learned can come back around when we need it the most.


No God! I am not going to let my thoughts turn this small joy you made and gave to me into something to let my brain spiral away and out of control, and mess with my head. Not today. Not again.

It’s no secret I am an avid over-thinker. Perhaps avid is the wrong word. After all, I certainly don’t enjoy it. In fact, it drives me crazy and gets incredibly frustrating. Like turning a mole hill into a mountain, one little tiny seed of thought or even gets planted, and if I don’t fight it sword and shield, it spirals into bigger and tighter spirals of overthinking, till my head is nothing a swirling, dizzy, anxious, analytical mess--all at a frighteningly rapid pace. I’m talking Japanese bullet-train speed. I'm at the point where, in order to temporarily pause it long enough to get through whatever I'm currently doing, I have to very consciously start contemplating the colors in beige. (I recommend this tactic if anyone needs one, for nothing is more nothing than beige, and sometimes that's exactly what you need.)

Oftentimes, the things that send my thoughts turning the fastest and most chaotically are small, short interactions between me and another individual--especially of the male variety. These interactions are 90% of the time, not even bad, but rather pleasant. There is no more significant meaning other than that. Just a pleasant exchange. But apparently, that’s not enough to satisfy my brain… so off it goes on hyperdrive--without my permission or consent, I might add. In milliseconds, I consider meeting him again, if maybe this is it and God is starting the timer, this is the person He made for me and life is about to look very different, a future, whether we are right for each other, considering long-distance as I’m not even sure I want to stay in Oregon, --my inability to romantically in love and screwing it up, realizing it’s too much stress and maybe I’m better off alone, and about a thousand other completely ridiculous and irrelevant thoughts that honestly don’t matter because I’ll forget in 2 days, likely never see him again, and move on. (Well I am being overly generous with forgetting. Rarely are my spirals ever so kind as to go away completely. Mostly they just lessen in intensity over time, in this particular category.)

Our conversation was maybe two 30-second sessions long. He saw me sitting on the windowsill and asked to photograph me for class. I said why not, then he finished, asked my name, and left. He said, “maybe I’ll see you around.” I never thought to ask his name, there wasn’t a need. It was completely removed of anything significant, my head just spun and made up the rest, as it often does with about every person I meet, until I-- exhausted from a lifetime of relationships in my head that never actually existed in reality-- withdraw to the calm and rational realism of solitude. It’s equally frustrating as it is shameful and embarrassing--if I heard someone thinking my thoughts, I would think I was a total stalker and absolutely creepy! Therefore, how can I look at myself any differently? It truly is insane and the only thing that saves me from being a stalker is that, though the thoughts persist, I want absolutely no part of them. It’s stressful, chaotic, exhausting, and more importantly, this kind of spiral directly likes to ruin and wreck something that God made to be harmless and good.

I was thinking about this spot I was in, how I wished I could share with others the niceness of this moment visually (through my eyes, not exactly with my face in it), but couldn’t capture it. Suddenly, God out of nowhere brought someone who saw the same feeling at this moment that I did, only he could capture it visually, so I happily let him. That was it. A small but wonderful little thing, with no more significance than God reminding me He loves me and sees me when I forget that anyone could. My Heavenly Father loves me, and I refuse to let my brain ruin this by overthinking some ridiculous non-reality timeline.

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