2 Things To Do When You Want To Overreact

The other day I was at the gas station filling up my car with gas when something happened that caused me to go into a panic. My car all of a sudden wouldn’t start! If you’ve had this happen, you know it’s one of the worst feelings you could ever have.

I tried everything for about 15 minutes to get it to start and nothing worked. I couldn’t figure it out. I even kept setting off the car alarm because I was messing with so many things trying to find a solution. People were staring at me like I was a fool as I was almost in tears 😦

I had an idea to call Allison because I knew if anyone had a solution it would be her (because the wife is 99.9% of the time right 🙂 )

I got Allison on the phone and started explaining to her all of my problems and she could tell I was in freak out mode. I said to her, “the Veracruz is done Allison, it’s over” when I had no idea if that was true or not. She said “Bryant, freaking out like this isn’t going to help you so just take a breathe and calm down. Stop assuming the worst.”

How often do we assume crazy conclusions when in reality we don’t know what’s going to happen?

After Allison calmed me down I had an idea to step out of the car and lock it. I was going to start all over and see if I did anything wrong. So I got out, locked the door and took about 10 steps back from the car. I pretended I had just come out of the station with a clear mind and I unlocked the door, got in the car, put the key in the ignition and guess what, it started right up! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I was AMAZED! It turned out, because I was messing with everything I set the car into a mode where it won’t start if it thinks someone is trying to steal it. All I can say is, if you want to steal my car, make sure you’ve got at least 45 minutes to spare 🙂 🙂 🙂

Truth about our reactions:

“Calm down! Don’t be afraid.” the LORD replied. “You’re not going to die!” (Judges 6:23)

“LORD, God of the Heavenly Armies, who is as mighty as you, LORD? Your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the majestic sea; when its waves surge, you calm them.” (Psalm 89:8-9)

The first verse is perfect because in situations where we conclude the worst the truth is, we aren’t going to die. It’s saying, the worst we think will more than likely not happen.

I love the verse from Psalms 89 because it’s telling us that even though the waves rise and we feel like we’re drowning, He still has the ability to calm them. Who is as mighty as the Lord?

2 Things To Do When You Want To Overreact:

  1. Number line strategy

I’m currently reading an awesome book called Business Made Simple by Donald Miller and he was talking about not overreacting to situations that really don’t require that much hype. His strategy was to underreact.

So when you are faced with a situation and you want to overreact, chart out a number line either in your head or on paper 1-10.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Assign the situation a number. If you assign it an 8, underreact. Act like it’s a 5 situation. If it’s a 4 situation, act is if it’s a 1 situation. Applying this strategy has helped me, if only I had this strategy that day in my car at the gas station 🙂

2. Stop thinking the worst thing will happen

How many of us do this honestly?

When we assume the worst we put ourselves in panic mode and it does no good. Next time a situation presents itself and you’re tempted to overreact, use the number system above and then remind yourself of the verses above.

  1. I’m not going to die and the worst won’t happen.
  2. God is still on the throne of my life and He’s promised He’ll work everything out for my good and His glory. – See Romans 8:28

Immediately discredit the worst assumption in your head and you’ll find yourself acting much differently when those situations arise.

Reflect

  • How often do you overreact to situations?
  • What has been your strategy in stressful situations? Has it worked? Why or why not?
  • What’s something you can apply from this article the next time a stressful situation arises?

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