For most of my life, I have been an over-thinker.
At times, this has served me well.
When used as a skill, my overly active imagination has helped me to think through problems in a way that has been quite useful.
It has also kept me out of a lot of trouble over the years.
As often, or perhaps more often, however, my tendency to over-think has paralyzed me, it has kept me from taking necessary risks, and it has turned into anxiety, worry, and social awkwardness.
Recently, I had a very powerful, life-changing experience around my over-thinking that seems worth sharing.
Like so many others, the global pandemic has caused me a lot of stress and psychological-emotional anguish over the past year or so.
All of my life’s plans were abruptly put on hold and I do not do well with sitting still and waiting.
This is especially true when waiting for things to change that I have absolutely no control over.
Add to this the threat of illness for both myself and my family, the threat of being out of work, of losing my business, my home, etc. and I have had a lot of reasons to think my way into despair.
Fast forward to a month or so ago.
I was at a local pharmacy receiving a vaccination.
My reasons for doing this are still not all that clear to me, but, ultimately, it came down to an unwillingness to lie to my wife who made the appointment for me.
Anyway, I received my shot and the pharmacist told me to sit down for fifteen minutes before I left.
I asked her why and she said, “In case you have an allergic reaction.”
As I sat down, my mind started racing.
Within seconds that felt like hours, I started thinking to myself, “What if it takes sixteen minutes to have an allergic reaction? What if I have an allergic reaction after I leave, while I’m driving? What can a pharmacy do for an allergic reaction to an experimental vaccine anyway?”
And, so it went until suddenly, a quieter, less panicky voice cut through all of the noise in my head and said simply, “The part of you that can be affected by this is not the part of you wherein God resides.”
The noise stopped, the worry stopped, and I sat still, turning the next fourteen minutes of waiting into an opportunity to meditate, to practice contemplative prayer, and then, before I knew it, my timer went off and I went on about my day.
I still worry and I still over-think, but I continue to have this thought in the back of my mind about the part of me wherein God resides that cannot be touched, affected, or harmed by the world, its illnesses, or its evils.
That part of me has no anxiety, fear, or worldly concerns.
It is infinite, eternal, and ever-present, waiting patiently for me to acknowledge it, welcome it, and find my home within it.
This seemed worth sharing because this past year has made many of us question our lives, our beliefs, and our values, and, I think more than ever, we would all do well by seeking that place inside of us wherein the divine presence of infinite love, grace, and mercy resides.
For, it is only there that we will find peace, freedom, and hope that cannot be taken away or put on hold by any external circumstance, not even a global pandemic.
For what it’s worth…