When You Need Rescue from Overthinking and Forgetfulness

by | Jan 22, 2015 | Encouragement


We have five minutes. Five minutes of dead air – not enough time to accomplish, finish, or start anything before people walk through our house again with realtors.

Resignation stands in the hollow space of the bay window in my spotless kitchen, staring through shutter slats. I notice the empty garbage can on the curb, parked next to the mailbox and what is overlooked, next to the house. “I can’t believe you forgot to put those two PVC pipes in the trash again,” I say to my son hunched over, lacing up his boots. He looks up, eyelids half-mast, open mouth convicted.

His father sighs, shakes his head and I hold my breath. Instead of anger, H laughs at boyhood. “You can’t tell me you don’t need reminding,” he jests.

It’s an addendum to last night’s dinner conversation with a boy who sits in a swell of exasperation over being reminded, repeatedly.

Those stark white pipes lie on a slab of concrete next to the foundation of the house, right next to the trash can for months of Tuesdays. When you allow it to become familiar, trash becomes a fixture instead of an obstacle to deal with.

I stand there in resignation, point out where my son hasn’t measured up to what is being asked of him. Pass time like the minutes owe me something and miss the obvious.

My son is forgetting the trash but I am forgetting the truth.                 

I’ve allowed trash in my thoughts to suffocate the truth without realizing it.


It starts as a whisper, the beginning of a sentence, “You aren’t” and then trash graciously allows you to fill in the blank. To think about all the ways you don’t measure up as reasons for your unwanted circumstances.

And during the wilderness of a waiting season, words stack up. Until the moment when you are most vulnerable, when you assume you are forgotten, discarded, overlooked. Resign yourself that air is dead and you are just passing through it.

I am Peter in the boat watching Jesus walk on water. I believe I can follow Him, put my toe in as long as all remains still, comfortable and certain. But when storms come, I doubt.  Turbulent seas of thoughts fueled by uncertainty threaten to sink me.

All I can muster is, “God, please rescue us.”

In desperation, weary in waiting for fulfillment, you can easily forget that Truth is standing in the window with you. Looking through the slats, making assessments, not about what you have forgotten or how you’ve failed at what is being asked, but for the ways your heart beats with childish assumptions.

Love, it isn’t proud, rude, selfish, or easily angered. Love doesn’t keep records of wrongs.

Is love what you are hearing when you talk to yourself? Or is trash taking up residence?


Sometimes it takes a bull horn of circumstance to recognize the whisper of fear’s deception. A shocking interruption to the ways we mock truth by overthinking and forgetfulness.

Love’s hand is always near, outstretched for rescue. We need reminding of truth often so mental trash doesn’t become permanently overlooked in the landscape of our thinking.

Even if we hear it repeatedly, from people who love us, for months of Tuesdays.

But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

~Psalm 18:16-19


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  1. DeanneMoore

    You know overthinking and forgetfulness seem to be polar opposites…and I’m thinking that’s why we run to them when we are in the messy middle of the wilderness, waiting… You may remember the Hand reached out to me in my wilderness when I least expected it, when resignation stood next to the barred window of a mental hospital and mocked me. His Hand reached into my life when I had forgotten Jesus was not a book; He is a Redeemer. So thankful you finding His Hand as He’s called you into “deeper waters.” You bless me always, and you give glory to the Lord in your life and your words… I’m looking around, seeing what trash I have lying around that needs taken to the curb.

  2. Diane Bailey

    Oh! How this one hit home. The garbage is there for so long we don’t even see it! It’s the self talk that has been around since childhood.

    I’m not…. I don’t…. I can’t…

    Time to take out the trash!

    Great Post, Shelly.

  3. Lynn D. Morrissey

    You know, Shelly, you are so right: Trash does become familiar when you don’t deal with it–almost as if you don’t even see it at all. How do I know? Just ask me. And yet even in your waiting wildnerness, you are discovering truth–truth as treasure hidden midst the trash. Truth always overcomes trash every, single time. When nerves run high and reserves run low, truth is there to buoy you up, even when waters look deep and unknown and un-navigable. Truth bids you walk on water, and truth will hold you up. You’re not going to sink. He is the water. He is the boat. He is the wind that will get your boat to where you need to go. I am praying.

  4. joni

    Sometimes when i wait all there is words. I talk to God, myself n others. Is there relief? Sometimes my self talk gets me thru with words that He whispers to me trust me, i got this, or just single words like faith and hope. Even a single word gives something to hang onto like that cat with one claw hanging onto a the rope.The rope is the hope of anticipation of things moving, changing but maybe i to stop focus on that elusive goal leave the wait. Is God concerned with being over i think not. It is about course that path takes. Its hard to get excited over a bumpy road. I just have to remember to trust Him with everything.

  5. Nancy Ruegg

    You are so right, Shelly. Over-thinking can wreak havoc, not only in our minds, but in our spirits. And thank you for the focus-question: ” Is love what you are hearing as you talk to yourself? Or is trash taking up residence?” You’ve added a fresh twist to renewing the mind (Romans 12:2)!

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