Paralysis by Analysis
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]B[/mk_dropcaps]eing impulsive, or acting without thinking, can be quite dangerous. When you begin the journey of discovering your ultimate purpose, or “your calling”, you actually need to be a bit impulsive. How many of us get caught up in pontificating the deeper meaning and possible outcomes of our decisions to a point where we end up paralyzed? This paralysis by analysis will keep your life and your growth stunted. You will never know if you do not go. As I have said before, its healthy to have a level of tension in our lives but we must find the groove to walk in. (see Order in the Court) The Bible puts it this way:
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:14)[/mk_blockquote]
We cannot swing from one end of the spectrum to the other and expect to stay on this path; but in the swinging you do pass through the way you should go. Our failures in going off the path is what helps us to see the boundary lines of the path all the more clearly. However, if we are not walking, we don’t know where the path leads. Be ready to have healthy failure as you walk out your destiny.
I used to suffer from paralysis by analysis on a major scale. The “potentials” and “what if’s” of any given situation were in front of me, causing me to ask questions. What could go wrong? How would I handle it? Could I even get through it?
Those dominating questions put me in a place where I was living in fictitious defeat. I made mistakes and therefore labeled myself as one. How sad! I missed out on enjoying all the good in my life because my focus was on the worst possible outcome - an outcome that had not even happened. I locked myself in a prison of my own thoughts. Please, don’t repeat my mistakes. Learn from my experience; it is not a fun place to be. God has been reprogramming the operating system of my mind to be built on a foundation of His truths, His Word, and nothing else.
Think of your iPhone. In order for a new operating system to take effect, there has to be enough storage space for it to be downloaded. Likewise, if you clean out your thinking, God will drop in His new way of operating. Make space. God is faithful to fill it. He does so abundantly and beyond your expectations. I am still in the cleaning-out stage of my mind’s storage system and it has been going on for the last few years. Honestly, that process may take the rest of my life, but I am okay with that. Unlike your iPhone, it is not a hard and fast replacement. Most likely, it will not be a complete overhaul in a single moment. It is, however, something that you continually choose by taking every thought captive and making space for God to fill. He is faithful to respond in that moment.
Allow me use my story as an example. I had a hard time transitioning from my swimming career to a life in the health and fitness industry. I did not have a structure and plan to my life set before me by other people, making it very difficult. I now had to be the initiator, which meant I had to be willing to make mistakes. It was calculated risk. If you sit trying to figure out all the potential outcomes, you’ll be sitting forever. The joy and victories I have had would just be nice thoughts, not experiences, if I had not taken bold, abrupt action. Yes, I have walked through many challenges. My guess is that you have, as well. Yet those challenges as the defining moments of my life. Challenges & risks are not to be feared but faced full-on. Sometimes must be impulsive to move forward and face those seasons. If you think about all the potential outcomes, you will be overwhelmed. I often think of how I responded to situations in the midst of my father’s life hanging on the edge. I was given the option many times to stop and think about all the potential outcomes. But through God’s gentle guidance I saw that analysis as a swamp of emotions; emotions that were both fickle and “stinky” in nature.
My experience has led me to see two formulas in which you can operate. Its not scientific, but it has helped me guard my mind and heart. It helps to set me free from over-thinking without any action. Know when to turn off the analytical side of your brain and just go. Obedience to step out requires faith in the absence of knowledge. It is scary but also liberating.
Truth (what God says) + Impulsive, Faith-filled Action + Outcome (failure or victory) + Learning = SUCCESS
Perfection + Obsession + Paralysis + Fear = Defeat