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Overthinking Life

Our High School band had a road rally this past weekend. If you have never been on a road rally, it is a cross between a race and a contest to solve puzzles. As you solve the puzzles, they give you clues of where to drive to find the next puzzle or figure out more clues. It takes a combination of logic, problem solving, fast driving and a good GPS.

My wife signed us up with another couple from our church. My wife loves road rallies. I enjoy them. She has much more of the competitive spirit between the two of us. She drives. I buckle my seat belt and don’t comment. It is better for our marriage that way.

This road rally was incredibly hard for us. We got along well. No speeding tickets. We didn’t need to drive far between clues. Beautiful weather. The company was excellent…. But we didn’t finish well. We were overthinking the puzzles. We thought every clue had some hidden meaning in the numbers. Every time there was a capital letter in the clue, we were sure it was part of the answer. Colors couldn’t just be colors, they had to represent something.

We came in 10th out of 15 teams. The winning team beat us by an hour. (Even with Denise driving…) At one point we were just following the van of the band director blindly. We assumed he knew something we hadn’t figured out. (He was just as confused as we were.)

Sometimes life is like that. We overthink what is in front of us. We over plan. We are confused, so we just follow other people. We are convinced it is more complicated than it seems. But… sometimes a number is just a number. Sometimes orange paper is just the only color of paper left in the copier drawer. Sometimes a capital letter is not a reference to a certain volume of an encyclopedia in a German library in Leipzig…

In life we do this often. We tend to overthink. Now… don’t take this too far. I think there ought to be some introspection to life. I think that we should not blindly rush from our birth, through our childhood, into careers and marriage and parenting… through to the end without some consideration of the journey. But sometimes we try to read into life what isn’t really there. We overthink it.

As I was preaching this past week on some of the thoughts God led me through on my sabbatical, I came to realize: We make some of this way too complicated. Some of the greatest truths we are led back to time and time again are not the most profound or the deepest. They do not require seminary degrees or even certification in Hebrew and Greek. Sometimes we just overthink this life.

Here are some of the simplest & greatest things I know:

I need God… more of Him every day. God loves me and wants to be with me. Only I can build my relationship with God. He is enough… for everything.

And so, here are the next most complicated things. (Things I know because those things were true. They may sound familiar…)

You need God… more of Him every day. God loves you and wants to be with you. Only you can build your relationship with God. He is enough… for everything.

So, when it comes to living my life, I need to build a relationship with God. I need to spend time with Him. I need to seek Him again every day. I need to dedicate time reading His word, praying and listening to Him.

When it comes to my mission in this world… Everyone I meet needs to build a relationship with God. He is enough for everyone. I don’t need to be enough for everyone. I don’t need to love people perfectly. They ultimately don’t need me. They need God. I don’t need to be a perfect teacher or the best servant or the smartest leader. I just need to show up and make Him known. He is what is needed.

“Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4He who has

clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is

false. 5He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. 6Such

is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.” Psalm 24:3-6

And when I stop looking for secret codes and hidden agendas and complicated motives in everything around me, life gets pretty simple. We all need God. We are here to find Him and help other people find Him. And that is a race that God will help us win.

“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must

believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 CSB

I don’t even need a seat belt for that…

~ Andy

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