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Analysis Paralysis

Updated: Sep 20, 2019

paralysis (noun): the inability to act or function properly

I was listening to a podcast just recently and heard the term 'analysis paralysis' which is essentially another term for procrastination. The speaker on the podcast used this term to describe what grips most people who have a burden to do something they are passionate about: they overthink and analysis what they are supposed to do until they either fail to do what they planned properly, or fail to go through with it altogether. I have to admit, I laughed to myself when I heard the term and immediately sent myself a message to remind myself of this term so I could write this post later.

Why did I laugh? Well, that's an excellent question. You see, I used to be proud of my ability to talk myself in and out of any situation (I've been delivered, Praise the Lord!). You name it, I could do it. For instance, I once talked myself out of keeping my gym membership at the start of the year because I wanted to be different. Yes, I convinced myself that having a funny story to tell would justify my laziness when it came to the gym. It's a serious condition and should not be taken lightly because on a larger scale, there are people who talk themselves out of their God given assignments and even their blessings.

The example that came to mind when I first heard this term was the prophet Jonah. I do love reading the story of Jonah and thought 'analysis paralysis' was an apt term to describe Jonah's behaviour when God gave him the assignment to talk to the people of Nineveh. In chapter 4, we find out that Jonah had reasoned on God's behalf and convinced himself that since God was merciful and loving, he didn't need to do as God had asked. There are times when we answer questions God has never asked of us in our assignment and as a result, talk ourselves out of doing what God requires of us. When I first started this blog, a year old this month, I argued with God and did my research to show God exactly why the world didn't need this blog. In my own analysis, I saw that there were so many other blogs that blessed people (including myself) and thought, what could I possibly have to add to what is out there? There is no answer that can convince God that the assignment He has given me does not need to be carried out. God has His reasons for His assignments and we are only to trust and obey.

Disobedience leads to some unpleasant consequences and, for me, what pushed me into taking this jump was the fact that there was someone out there who was waiting to read what I put on this site. I waited for so long to do this and almost missed my chance but I am grateful to our Father in heaven who is merciful and always watches out for us. Our generation are taught in school to analyse everything and apply critical thinking but walking with God doesn't always require this. There are times God only requires our obedience and He does the rest. When the young rich ruler approached Jesus about how he could inherit eternal life, he wasn't pleased with the response he got from Jesus. I can imagine he carefully examined all he had and how long he'd worked to get those possessions and how he would survive without his riches. All of his careful examination led him to walk away from a gift far greater than the riches he had - overthinking!

Is there something God has laid in your heart to do? Do not delay or run like Jonah. Hurry to do what God asks and leave the rest to Him. Don't get me wrong, there are times we need to carefully examine and count our costs before we build our house but there are other times we simply need to act on God's word. Learn to act quickly and avoid allowing your extensive analysis to cause paralysis in doing God's work. Delaying just prolongs the inevitable and causes us pain because we don't reason the way God does and no matter how many times you cut something, it may not make much sense until you have taken the step God told you to.

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