Curbing Our Tendency to Overthink

Detective Chief Inspector Morse solves murder mysteries. Eventually. The hero of a series of novels by Colin Dexter, Morse leaps from one fantastic explanation of the murder to another, often completely different, like a wife who continually rearranges the living room furniture (not that I have any experience with the latter).

He will either ignore or overlook facts as he thinks through possible scenarios.

Eventually he will arrive at the correct answer. Sometimes he is too late to the party, though.

How many teachers of the Bible have you run across who have the same type of intelligence?

They have a quick mind, but they tend to overlook inconvenient facts in their rush to espouse a complex and grand theory or theology.

Reflect on the New Testament. Who thought through things and devised long, complex systems? And who boiled things down to a couple of statements that anyone could understand?

The first would be the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. 

The second would be Jesus.

Even Paul, former Pharisee that he was, sometimes fell into the overthinking trap.

When Jesus was asked which of the 618 laws was most important, he replied love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and also to love your neighbor. That’s all you need to do, he said.

When your mind starts racing from one thought to the next, each ever more complex or fantastical than its predecessor, it’s time to pause and take a deep breath. Then return to the basics.

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