About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul...

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  1. Bonnie,
    I enjoyed your post and agree that “finding your flow” helps with a certain degree of overthinking or ruminating. If, however, you find the overthinking and ruminating becoming debilitating (extreme anxiety sets in along with depression) it could be signs of a mental illness called OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Everyone thinks of OCD as being obsessiveness in cleaning or maintaining order. It is much more complicated than that. People who suffer from OCD find themselves obsessing about all sorts of disturbing thoughts (all of them with negative outcomes). This is a sign that there is a chemical imbalance in your brain and it can be treated with medicine and behavioral therapy. I know, I suffer from severe OCD. It’s like being a worry wart on steroids. There is help and there is hope. Crises like this pandemic can trigger obsessive thinking. Don’t suffer in silence…find medical help.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  2. There is so much wisdom in simply doing what needs to be done. Here, it’s been a season of tending to “routine” chores that somehow never find their way to the top of the list in ordinary time: cleaning out closets, organizing, and even doing some writing to record the details of this pandemic for the young men who call me Mum. My favorite coronavirus inspired activitiy has been the daily story time with our grandchildren via Zoom.
    Blessings to you, Bonnie, as you trust to let “the peace of Christ rule in your heart.”

    • I love the idea of reading to grandkids on Zoom, I have been thinking about asking to do that also!

      • Oh, you definitely should! It gives your kids a 10-15 minute break as your grands are riveted to the screen, and, for us, it has kept the connection between us and our littles warm and familiar.

  3. During this time, I find myself drifting back to the past – mistakes I have made and the way that I wish things were different. While I do ultimately need to deal with those things, I like the idea of having another tool in my toolbox. Now, I just have to figure out what to do!

    • What a healing insight and ah-moment, Elizabeth! Yes, it gives our hearts the reprieve and break, to fill us up to then have grace and space to move through the things God’s prompting us to talk through and work through with Him.

  4. Bonnie – This was much needed. I loved how you explained that our brains are made to problem solve and when they cannot solve because of the unknowns involved – how long is this going to last, what are the facts and what is fiction, etc. then our brains get tired and anxious. I’ve been feeling those things as well. A lot. I do have things to keep my hands busy and yes, it does help. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I love reading your thoughts. Blessings to you.

  5. Thank you for your post Bonnie and sharing your heart! To admit our weakness is big! I love to craft and create and I tend to be a person who overthinks as well! I often have used my crafting as a way to “ settle “ my mind from constantly overthinking. I always thought this was a cop out and never realized it until you have shared it this way that it is a gift God has given me! A way to meditate and relax. I am often the most happy when I am creating! Thank you for sharing this and giving me new insight!

    • I LOVE that connection between crafting and God’s gift to you for meditation and relaxation to refill with His peace!! YES! praise God!

    • Thanks for that reminder, our crafts and skills are God’s gift to us, and we shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time to work on those things! I’ve been crocheting every chance I get and sometimes when I should be working on something else but it’s all good. 🙂

  6. Bonnie,
    I have MS, so stay at home is what I need to do. Our official order of shelter in place has been lifted, but having a compromised immune system, I still need to stay home. My sister brought some flowers and tomato plants to me. While planting these beautiful things, I forgot about what the world is fighting. You are right! Working with my hands did give me a peaceful feeling. I know now that “finding my flow” is what I need to do. Keep my hands busy. Thank you so much for helping me to find something that will get me through this mess!

  7. Bonnie, what an incredible and well-timed story! I have a rare lung disease, among other coexisting illnesses, so like Peggy above, I stay at home. Our order was lifted, and some places are open for business.

    I find that when I’m writing, sending cards, or cooking, my hands are busy. These are all things that are therapeutic for me but helps others, too.

    Oh, Peggy, I was planning to have my hubby get me a few too to plants over the weekend and forgot. Your comment just reminded me. I have several friends with MS, and I can understand how difficult this stay at home Is as it continues for us. Take care of yourself.

    Thank you, Bonnie, for sharing, I never thought of this soup step. XOXO

  8. Ruminate is one of my favorite words when it comes to Bible study. (I teach a women’s study and they always smile when I use that word because it is such an old word that people don’t use much any longer.) Your devotion gave me a new glimpse into the meaning of this word. I love that! I have always thought of ruminate as just positive way of thinking through different Bible verses. But as I read your words, I saw myself in them. I do tend to ruminate way too much on some things. I love that you connected how our brains work and helped me understand why certain hobbies bring me peace. I grabbed your ebook and can’t wait to read it. Thanks!!

  9. Bonnie,
    Thank you so much for your words and insight. I have a tendency to worry about things as well and beat myself up for past mistakes. But, I do, do things with my hands. I crochet and read, but, I love listening to sermons and music online from different teachers and favorite Christian music artists. I never liked just “sitting there” listening, so I bought some adult christian coloring books. I listen and color and found myself really enjoying all the different color combinations I could come up with. It’s fun and relaxing. My husband came in my craft room while I was in front of the computer listening to Christian music and coloring. He started to ask me something not related to what I was doing and he stopped in the middle of it and said, “you’re coloring”. I smiled. I said, “I know. I haven’t done it since I was a kid.” He said, “why are you now?” I said, “I don’t know, it just makes me feel good.” So thank you Bonnie, for letting me know why I’m enjoying something usually considered for kids. I get to enjoy my sermons and music and color some pretty awesome pictures! (I printed off your article to show some friends. It’s a blessing to understand how God created us and the science behind why we do the things we do!) 🙂

  10. The reason why we put down the things that we love to do first in times of stress, is because Satan loves to hit us in whatever way we can. So, if we stop using our talents that God has given us during these times of stress and anxiety, Satan does a little happy dance. I know. I’ve been there. It’s a conscious effort (sometimes daily) to make sure I DON’T give up those things, and it DOES calm me and refocus me back to God. In November of last year, God gave me the word “Joy” a bit early for my 2020 word! (I have never done a word before, but He knew I needed it this year, so He had me prep for it!). The corresponding Scripture verse is Nehemiah 8:10 – “The JOY of the Lord is my strength.” We are choosing JOY during this crazy time. It’s not always easy, but I’ll tell you what – when I listen to my neighbors and other family members or acquaintances, our home is so peaceful compared to theirs, and I truly believe it’s because God is blessing us with His JOY, as we rely on Him each day.

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Bonnie,
    Thank you so much for your blog. It touched my heart. I can relate to the anxiety of the unknown and worry about the future. I am currently awaiting the arrival of your book, Whispers of Rest.
    I never realized that doing something with my hands would be another tool in my anxiety reducing toolbox. Thank you! A dear friend of mine 14 years ago patiently taught me how to knit when I was on bed rest in the hospital with my first unborn baby. It has been sitting in my closet for a long time and I thought I should pull it out and work on it again. You just reminded me there is another reason why I should pull it out and reteach myself. Thank you! Stay safe and healthy.

  12. Thank You, Bonnie Gray — and those who’ve “Replied”. May I add my bit? I’ve ‘discovered’ how we, God’s children, perhaps most of the time “do” His ‘precious and magnificent promises’ without consciously being aware. I have been writing significant posts (letters that are mailed USPO – whom doesn’t like an actual letter-in-hand?) to family, immediate and extended. I expect nothing in return and hope n’ pray that my heartfelt words somehow lift the recipients, to wit: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth”. (Col.3:2) This DOES get me off of myself, and WITH others (see Mk.12:31; Gal.6:2, e.g.); and, what a lift I get! Surprise, Surprise. ‘Tis more blessed to give than to receive, ‘eh? I very much enjoy writing… with purpose — as J.M.Straczynski informs, “Nobody does anything without a purpose”.
    Bishop Sheen begins his seminal book PEACE OF SOUL with these words: “Unless souls are saved, nothing is saved; there can be no world peace unless there is soul peace”. And, as we know, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Rom.5:1) There are oodles of such written/spoken stuff ‘out there’, yet I take the advice of Glenda (the Good witch): “It’s always good to start at the beginning”. Our blessed creator God is the beginning… Prayers for, Grace to All.

  13. I imagine you and your son had fun doing that something fun after that hug! It does take conscious effort to get out of over-thinking. I’ve been working on moving on an action quicker so not to start over-thinking. It could be as simple as doing the dishes, or tidying up my desk, or petting my cat. Creating is always a place of being fully present for me. I noticed I have to be intentional to not worry or overthink otherwise that furrow will start to developing between my eyes. And I’d rather not deepen it!

  14. Love this Bonnie! Thank you so much for sharing! I love water coloring and taking pictures of nature. ❤️

  15. I find this message so familiar, I too have always been a worry wart, and over think things, until a few years ago when I retired. I find that I am more relaxed about things when my time is my own and if I don’t get everything done, there’s always tomorrow. But my dad turned 88 yrs. old last month and he seems to have picked up the worrying where I left off. All kinds of little things seems to bother him and with the Corona Virus shutdown and social distancing he is worrying even more now. Things like not being able to go to the bank, but he has plenty of cash on hand and I am available if he needs anything at all. He has plenty of groceries and any other supplies. But he worries about the little things that if I had been worried about growing up I would have been told to stop my “broutzing” — a Pennsylvania Dutch term, that is probably spelled wrong, but means stop complaining and whining! So how do I stop his fears that when food is spilled or he runs out of milk, it’s not a big deal. If he gets junk mail it’s nothing to get excited about, just shred it. The doctor rescheduled an appointment and wrote a new prescription, so that is a worry now too. He seems to find so many little things to worry about that I find trivial now. So I found I let go of my fears to reassure him. But how do I remind an 88 year old man that we will get through this too just like his family got through the Great Depression and wars. God has it all under control and it will be alright. All I can do is pray and and give dad a reassuring smile that it is OK, take it one day at time and we will get through it together.

    • Hi Judy: 2 things that might be helpful for your dad, that I use on myself. Let him know that it is perfectly OK to state what he feels is worrisome. But then suggest that for every worry he has, he should think of one thing he is thankful for. The thankful thought does not have to be related to the worry thought. He could be worried about not having enough food, and then thank God for the lilacs that are in bloom.
      I also find it helpful to sing a silly song. Singing an old hymn or worship song is even better. However, I find that being ‘silly’ can be helpful. Every time he has a fearful thought, he could sing: “Old MacDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O. And on this farm he had some FEARS, E-I-E-I-O. With an “Oh-No” here, and a “Watch-Out” there. Run around, falling down, everyone get out of town. Old MacDonald had a farm. E-I-E-I-O”. This isn’t to make fun of fear, but to help balance it. May God’s peace, power, presence and purpose be breathed in my us all.

  16. Bonnie I have no kids. But I know this with being a Childminder for 19 years. My Sisters having kids. Hearing my late Mum say this as well. You as Mum are meant to strong and not worry about anything and have the answers to all the questions your kids ask you. Plus make them not feel scared or worried. But you as Mum are human yourself. You do get scared and at times go into overthinking. Worry about yourself and your kids. Things like am I being a good parent to my kids. I don’t want them to see I am scared or worried. Stop my brain thinking about this Covid 19. What the further will hold for my kids. I just a parent. Am I doing a good job you will be saying to yourself as well. But I will say this. Every Good parents worries. They will even when their kids grow up leave home. No matter what the reason they leave it. To go Uni to get Married. Even during thie Covid 19. Even when they are young still at home no matter what age they are you as parent still worry about your kids. Especially if they take ill. Let hope that never happens. You as parent worry about yourself as well. You go into overthinking. Only way to stop this is to stop listing too the News as often looking up things on your Mobile as often or the internet on your Ipad or Tablet. Especially in the times we are in to do with Covid 19. Start standing on the Promises in God word the Bible like prov 3 verses 5 & 6 and Prayer. Praying over your Kids and Husband everyday. Saying psalm 91 every day over your life and putting on the Armor of God on Every day in Eph 6 verses 13 – 18 God will be with you. He will help you. I apply this over my life every day so does my Husband. Psalm 91 Eph 6 13 – 18 the Armor of God. I stand on the promises of God word and prayer. With Gods help you can do it. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx

  17. Bonnie… your witness, the truth you share, shines through in your family photo in their faces. Your young son is an empath! I wonder what the boys will remember when they grow up? They will be so blessed to have your books. xoxo

  18. Thank you, Bonnie, for “permission” to participate in activities involving our hands–with scientific evidence for the benefits no less. No wonder God gave us the desire to be creative. It’s not self-indulgent–it’s a healthy choice!

  19. Thank you so much for reminding me to set aside some time each day to do the things that bring me joy like listening to my favorite station that plays encouraging, uplifting contemporary Christian music (and singing along with it when I feel moved to do so). I also like to knit and color in adult coloring books. God bless you!

  20. Thank you for sharing this tip! Confirms what I’m already feeling the Lord lead me into – focusing on the option of creating more and allowing myself to do it. You are a blessing!

  21. Bonnie,

    Women are natural worriers. This pandemic has increased fears. We need soul care tips to help us get through this tough time. Our lives & our children’s lives have been disrupted-immensely for some. We need to find a way to calm our rattled souls. Doing something with our hands & for others is one way to keep our minds off the current situation. For me I have been cooking more. Trying new healthy recipes. Also working on two Bible studies-“Fingerprints of God” by Jennifer Rothschild & “Dangerous Prayers” by Craig Groeschel with Proverbs 31 on line. We also need to help our children during this time. Reading to them via zoom or playing games with them. They need distractions for their little souls also. Maybe now is a time to teach them things like how to cook, do laundry, learn new skills. Way to bond with them & make them feel special.

    Blessings 🙂