Merriam Webster defines a fanatic as “a person exhibiting excessive enthusiasm and intense uncritical devotion toward some controversial matter (as in religion or politics).” Who of us hasn’t played the fanatic from time to time. I know I have.
Truth be told, it’s just too easy for me to get out of balance and I find myself ruminating over something that I can’t control. It’s one of the hallmarks of having ADHD, I’m afraid.
In my life, I have exhibited excessive enthusiasm toward a wide variety of things. Some of them were even controversial. I have fought for causes that I believed in, cheered for my favorite sports teams spending hours watching them on the tube and even studying statistics, watching sports commentary for countless hours, and for what? Bragging rights?
Don’t misunderstand. I don’t apologize for enthusiasm and zest for life. Life is fun. Getting excited about something is part of being human and for me, it’s a way to connect with my five sons. Case in point. We all share the same love for the Kansas City Chiefs. (No I did not influence them. They came by it “naturally” :)). But it’s that added descriptor called “intense uncritical devotion” that has on occasion gotten me into trouble. It’s when I get all the balls that I need to juggle on a daily basis out of balance. It plays out when I give a matter too much of my time and energy, sometimes over long stretches, such that my effectiveness is less than optimal in day-to-day matters that may be more important and necessary to get right. This may not be in sports. It could be anything that fuels my devotion, unduly distracts and leaves me feeling lost after a while.
Have you ever been there? What do you do when the “noise of a distraction” gets too loud and you can’t seem to shut it off? How do we get back on track when we “wake up” to discover that we’re out of balance such that we’re devoting too much time to a “thing” causing us to let slide what’s really important?
Here’s what I’ve found helpful.
To me it starts with prayer. Tell Jesus where I’m at at. If I need to confess some sin, do it but basically I pour my heart out to him. Tell him how I’m feeling and that I need his help to get me back on track. Then spend time in his Word letting it wash over me like a flood. Let him speak. The Psalms are a good place to start. David was a man of passion so I find that there are passages that I can really relate too there.
After reading a little bit, then I pick a verse that really address my need and meditate on it.
A verse like Philippians 4:8 is a good one when my mind needs a reset. It says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Read it a few times. Take it slow. Think about each phrase and what it means. Squeeze the wisdom out of each phrase like you’d squeeze a juicy, fresh lemon. Make a glass of spiritual lemonade and like thirst, you’re imbalance will be quenched and you’ll be ready to focus again.
Aren’t you glad the Bible is so practical?
Something to think about.