Father God, we honour and glorify Your Holy Name. Jesus Christ is Lord and the Saviour of this world. Hallelujah, Amen!
Preparing for this article, I took a trip down memory lane when we were children and my sister and I had the responsibility to do the dishes after supper. When I had the turn to wash, I would just start with all glass items and then wash whatever was around me. However, my sister normally insisted on washing and I had to dry. According to me, she would take forever to prepare, putting everything in neat little packs before she started washing. Hence, what could take 15 minutes, ended up as 40 minutes and a fight, because for me, quicker in the kitchen, meant more personal time later. Now, don’t get me wrong, each one for his own choice, but to me, it was overcomplicating matters, leaving me frustrated and us constantly fighting.
Now, more than 30 years later, I so often find myself in the same situation, whereby I tend to overcomplicate things. I realise that we so easily create barriers and difficulties for ourselves, due to us overcomplicating issues. Yes, we are all different, with different tastes, opinions, ideas and backgrounds. However, we are all faced with similar challenges, some time or another in our lives. For some, it is important to ponder over things, whilst for others, they just move on. We all think and act differently to different situations and that too, is fine, because not everyone grew up the same having loving parents, good finances, happy childhoods and sufficient love, security and protection. With the different frameworks in place, these are also typically, the challenges that arise in marriages and workplaces. This in turn means that we all approach and deal with issues differently, often resulting in miscommunication and misinterpretations.
To overcomplicate something, means to make it more complicated than what is necessary (online dictionary).Â For some people, this brings comfort because they process things in stages. The truth is also, that when something is accomplished much quicker than expected, even for people who tend to follow long processes, the results are the same, being pure satisfaction, relief and joy. With this said, what then are the opposite feelings and results coupled to realizing that you in fact overcomplicated something? When I studied, I had to do a research proposal for the Research Methodology Module. The lecturer kept on saying to keep it simple and gave the maximum number of pages, but I kept on thinking that all the additional information was necessary to bring my proposal across. I started realizing that I had too much detail, but had no time to change it all. I passed, but the results were not as expected. The results of me overcomplicating the assignment, was lost time, frustration, irritation, little sleep and because of the marks not being that high, a feeling of not being good enough. Yes, having to do the research proposal was still a big task, with many hours of work, hence not easy. However, by overcomplicating the task, contributed to the negative emotions and feelings, which could have been avoided if made simpler choices.
With reference to the e-book of David Spendlove on Emotional Literacy, he speaks in Chapter 4 about how our emotions and motivation are entwined. He describes it so beautifully, saying that our emotions provide our ordinance system that drives us and motivates us based upon our emotional state. He goes further to say that our motivations can also cloud our thinking and emotions. He gives the example of golfers, who always tend to find each other’s lost balls, because the one who lost the ball, tend to look for it in the place, where he/she hope it would be. This is so true of our own lives. When we are hurt by something, we tend to do one of two things. We use what we have learnt from the experience, as to not make the same mistakes again; or we end up doing it again and again, because we put so much focus on not doing it, that we end up doing it in any way. Even Paul writes about this in Romans 7:15 – 20.
The aforesaid things surface in everyday life, such as overcomplicating things in our marriages, workplaces, studies etc. I read an article by Ben Casnocha on www.casnocha.com, where he used the example of weight loss. I, myself, have never been on a specific diet by for instance only eating once a day, only having vegetables, only drinking shakes or taking medication for weight loss. I am not saying that combinations of diets can’t work or that it is wrong. I am just saying that I have never taken that route because in many instances people lose weight, only to gain it again a month later. For me, I don’t overcomplicate the issue of weight loss. I keep it simple by eating healthy, enjoying the now and then snack, not overeating and exercising daily. I am healthy and fit as a fiddle.
Where are you finding yourself today? Trying to be the best spouse, wanting to be the top student in your class, getting that reward for the best office worker of the year, trying to live and eat right or trying to be a better Christian? Perhaps it is all the above. It is good to have goals and dreams, for then you know what you are pursuing. However, just make sure not to overcomplicate the execution thereof. Life is not easy and that we already know. However, we should approach things by looking at the challenge and asking ourselves what the best approach will be, to give us the best result. Do this by taking all factors, such as time, people, cost and emotions into account. Then, see it through, without complicating the issue and if you fail, it is not the end of the world. Get up and go at it again for that is how we gain experience.
Let us look at three examples from the Bible where people overcomplicated things, ending in bad results:
The Exodus. Here it tells us of the Israelites enslavement in Egypt, their departure lead by Moses, the revelations at Sinai, which included the ten commandments and their wanderings in the desert up to the borders of Canaan. Many times, the Israelites overcomplicated the challenges, ending up more than once, having to deal with severe consequences.
Samson. In Judges 13, we read about the Lord’s instruction that Samson’s head should never be touched by a razor. Samson knew what God’s instruction was and he also knew what he was called for in life. However, instead of staying focused, Samson overcomplicated everything, by giving in to a woman, sharing his secret. Again, devastating results.
Jonah. Jonah had a clear instruction from God, however instead of keeping to the execution thereof, he followed his own head. After a long and stressful episode, including being swallowed by a big fish, he still ended up going to Nineveh. All the challenges along the way could have been avoided if he kept it simple and followed God’s instructions.
Past experiences, whether good or bad, can either help you, slow you down or result in failure. The truth though is that you have control over the matter. If you dwell on past failures, disappointments and hurt, it will come to play in the decisions you make. If you forgive and set people free, including yourself, then you can use those experiences to grow, which in turn will help you in the future to deal with similar challenges in a more simplistic way. Remember, in Christ, you are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Furthermore, in Christ, you no longer live under the law, because in Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of Life has set you free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). New in Christ also means that you have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). Therefore, we should move forward and keep the focus, for if we don’t, it adds to the process of overcomplicating things. For example, when you have done wrong, remember that you are only human, however made righteous through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Acknowledge the mistakes made, apologize to others involved, ask God’s forgiveness in Jesus name, forgive yourself and move on (1 John 1:9, Romans 8:1). Don’t overcomplicate the issue. Yes, work on your skills, communication and try not to do the same things over and over, but avoid overcomplication.
I close with the words of Joyce Meyer: We are human beings, not human doings God has not created you merely to do but to be. When the going gets tough and the challenges pile on, don’t overcomplicate by doing, but start being that, which Christ proclaimed over you. You are saved, forgiven, free, loved, anointed, chosen and more than a conqueror. When satan says or does something, don’t get involved. Getting involved means that you start analyzing and then you want answers to the things you don’t understand. This often forms part of overcomplicating things. Rather keep it simple, by staying focused on God’s truth and the facts proclaimed in His Word. Say it as it is from God’s Word and settle for nothing less.
Love in Christ, Princess K