Why I Overreact All the Time and What to Do About It

Thank you for spending time reading this article. It is our prayer that it will be helpful in your Christian life and help you learn how to deal with overreacting. Our greatest desire is that you would be encouraged in the Lord today!

Dear Friend-Overreacting is the Mark of Spiritual Immaturity
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Do you think you are an over-reactor? After a situation comes up, do you wish you had responded differently? In the church and home today many serious problems happen because of people overreacting. It is epidemic today! When we Biblically counsel people for marriage issues they are well down the road of the super over-reactor! Let’s face it, we are all prone to overreacting at times. However, that is not the way God wants us to live. Sadly, the church today is filled with people who overreact and the Holy Spirit is grieved by this behaviour.
Overreacting can lead to anger, bittiness, and clamouring (public quarrelling)

Ephesians 4:29-31, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

When “let” is used at the start of a verse it means someone has to make a decision. One of the signs you can tell if a person is overreacting is how much and the way they talk. They will talk about a situation, person, or event incessantly. The more they talk the more they are going to overreact! They blow it up and way out of proportion. When you find yourself talking too much or excessively negatively, remember who is controlling you-Satan, not the Holy Spirit.

Many couples work each other up because they…
…talk too much! Everything is always bad. (They make it a lot worse than it really is!) Everything, what leaders or people who have authority over them do is always bad! Everything the spouse does is always bad! Quite frankly, when people let all the bars come off the windows by overreacting over everything and anything, things do get bad! Tempers flare, children and spouses are discouraged and it only gets worse. Sadly, this is common in Christian homes today. It keeps getting bigger in their life! There are people who come to church looking forward to overreacting! They say mean and hurtful things to others because they are not controlling their thought life. They gossip to others because they are overreacting! God wants you to trust Him and use the spiritual tools He has given you! The devil’s desire is for you to overreact! Satan is not omnipresent, or omniscient (all knowing). But boy, is he a good judge of our character! He knows what buttons to push in your life to get you to overreact.

Overreacting Shows a Lack of Faith in God

Remember “let”? At the point of spiritual impact we have to learn to take control of our old nature, our dark side, by making a godly decision at the point of impact. At the point of impact, train yourself to immediately stop, think and verbally turn this situation over to God! Instead of blowing it up and out of proportion, turn it over to God. Many spouses come home and murmur and complain about their bosses, things at work, who did what. They blow it up! I always encourage our counselees to minimise things rather than maximise them! God hates murmuring and complaining!

1 Corinthians 10:10-12, Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. (11) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (12) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

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A person who overreacts and complains and murmurs thinks they are a spiritual person. However, the Bible makes it plain, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”.

At the point of impact take spiritual control. Do you know that God wants us to be
Spirit controlled rather than flesh controlled?

Galatians 5:16-17, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (17) For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

At the point of spiritual impact when you stop, think, rather than react, ask God to forgive you for the sin of overreacting in thoughts and words, fill you with the Holy Spirit, and then ask God what He wants you to praise Him and thank Him for? If you submit to God in this matter and allow Him to take care of the scenario in front of you at the point of spiritual impact, that is living by faith rather than living by overreacting! Living in the power of the flesh!

Remember When You Overreact You Are Not Living by Trusting God!

James 4:7-8,
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

The Double Minded Person Is an Over-reactor!

James 1:8, A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Did you see, “Unstable in all his ways?” At the point of impact, when you turn it over to God and ask Him to show you what you can praise Him for, what happens?

Immediately your thought life changes. Rather than overreacting you will now be thinking spiritual thoughts. You will be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 4:4-9,
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (5) Let your moderation (self-control) be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. (6) Be careful (anxious) for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (8) 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. (9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Did you notice in
verse 8 there is nothing negative in this verse in the thinking? You are focused spiritually rather than fleshly overreacting.

Dictionary definition of overreacting: a word to describe something that did not happen, or is made worse than what really happened. To respond to something with too strong an emotion or with unnecessary or excessive action.

An Over-reactor Is An Emotion Led Person

Disable the emotion control by asking God what to praise Him and thank Him for at the point of impact. This is so your thinking changes from fleshly to spiritual.
Hebrews 13:15, By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

1 Thessalonians 5:18-19 (18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (19) Quench not the Spirit.

It is the will of God to praise Him at the point of impact! Did you notice if you do not use the tools God has given you at the point of impact? YOU QUENCH THE HOLY SPIRIT!

Romans 6:12-19, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

As a pastor for many years, I have had the opportunity to observe many Christians in different situations. One of the grave errors that Christians make in their life, which will affect their home, marriage, and children, is the lack of being controlled by the Spirit of God. This error is a very serious problem for each of us and we do not give this near enough consideration in our lives.

One of the things that the business world does is measure the progress of their business. They use different ways to measure their progress. God also wants us to measure our Christian life. Every day we have an opportunity to act and react. The unsaved person does not have the resource and ability of the saved person in this matter. When you come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ you now have to do some things differently, especially in
how you act and react.

We know that the devil seeks to put outside pressure on our lives. The purpose is to get the Christian to react in a non-Christlike way. The devil wants to reproduce his character in us. You have heard the statement many times “actions speak louder than words”. That little statement is so true.
But do you know there is something that speaks louder than our actions? It is our reactions!

Listen carefully; many people can discipline themselves to try to act like Christ. When faced with unfortunate or difficult circumstances in life, it is our reactions that reveal whether we are Spirit controlled,
Ephesians 5:18, or flesh controlled. Remember, God speaks to our Spirit and the devil speaks to our soul.

Ephesians 5:17-18, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled (controlled by) with the Spirit;

Ladies and gentlemen, if our relationship with the Lord is weak, we can clearly see such weaknesses not only by our own failures to act right, but also
by our consistently inappropriate reactions. That is the way we measure our Christian life, by how we react when something difficult happens or something is not going our way. I call this the point of impact. We are going to get the opportunity to react every single day and many times a day. At the point of impact, when the devil puts outside pressure on our life, we will either respond by being controlled by the Spirit or allowing ourselves to be controlled by the lusts of the flesh.

Proverbs 12:13-14, The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble. A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompense of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
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Have you ever noticed at the point of impact how much trouble our mouth gets us into? We many times respond in anger or frustration when we are at the point of impact rather than being Spirit controlled. Have you ever thought about how your spouse or your children view that? We desire for our children to grow up and walk with God, but all too often they learn from us how not to be controlled by the Spirit when the day or circumstance is difficult.

James 3:10-17, Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh? Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

This passage is written to Christians, not unsaved people. How too often it is played out in the everyday life of the Christian. When is this? At the point of impact! Folks, when each of us is not Holy Spirit controlled and led in our lives, our interpersonal skills go down the tube. In other words, in some ways, we have a poorly trained soul. A well trained soul is simply the definition of self-discipline and is generally called character.

Overreacting Shows a Lack of Godly Character

Folks, when something happens to us, and it is not good, if our reaction is to be angry or frustrated and to react mean to others, we are not showing good character in our life.
Proverbs 21:23-24, Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles. Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.

Did you notice that our non-Spirit controlled anger is because of pride? People who respond in anger, frustration, or with an angry spirit are not controlled by the Holy Spirit; they are being controlled by the devil. I hope you see how this affects our children and our spouse. Then we expect our children to grow up to have God’s power in their lives and have a desire to walk with Him. When the child ends up in destruction, living like the devil, we wonder out loud what happened.

Proverbs 13:13, Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed. The word despiseth means does not give proper attention to. Many parents who contact us here at Hope Biblical Counselling Center do not understand the point at all. They are utterly confused about why their home is in the disaster it is in. Guess who is the author of confusion? It is not God. I find one of the hardest things for us as Christians is the fruit of the Spirit-longsuffering. When people fall short of our expectations for them we exhibit, (longsuffering), an enduring temperament that expresses itself in patience with the shortcomings of others. Or we react quick tempered, with an irritability that negatively excites the passions (lust of the flesh.).

Did you react to any people or circumstances with irritability and anger this week? The measurement of spirituality is: whenever I am harsh, quick tempered, or rebellious. I am quickly aware that I am weak spiritually and not in tune with the Spirit’s leading. Many people seek to fake being right with God. They talk the talk, but when faced with adversity at the point of impact they immediately react in anger, frustration or irritability. They react! We do not even understand this is not acceptable behaviour with God. Most Christians believe it is okay to be angry and overreact. However,
Ephesians 4:29-32 teaches that is definitely not the case. So, many Christians are violating a very important command of the word of God every day and many times a day, but expect to have God work in their lives and in the lives of their spouse or children.

Ephesians 4:29-32, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (30) And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (31) Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (32) And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Listen carefully; the right way for us to live our lives is not to seek to
ACT like a Christian, but YIELD to Christ. When we teach ourselves out of habit or sure determining will power, how to act like a Christian is supposed to act, we think we are being holy. We are only making an attempt to do holy. His holiness is something we are asked to be, not to do.

Romans 6:11-13, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

When someone hurts your feelings, or corrects you, or is inconsiderate of you, what is your first reaction? Anger? Frustration? Excuse making? Evil thinking? Temper? Hidden anger? Rationalisation? Contempt? Bad facial reactions? Yelling? Cussing? Criticism? Overreacting? You are showing your true spiritual condition. By sheer will power we seek to control that, but that does not work in the spiritual realm.

The devil’s management system is in I John 2:15-17. I John 2:15-17, Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (17) And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

His system goes clear back to Adam and Eve. He has not changed it because it has worked very well. Through the world the devil seeks to get each Christian through outside pressure, (remember the pressure he put on Eve), to get us to live by three things: the lust of the flesh; getting us to desire to do; the lust of the eyes, getting us to desire to have; and the pride of life, getting us to desire to be. He desires to control our soul through his system and ultimately control our body, what we do.

We are seeking in a doer mentality to act like a Christian in our own power. We wonder why we fail so much.

Romans 6:12, Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. The reactions I described above are lustful soul control. What should be our first reaction? Romans 6:13, 16, 19 tells us to
YIELD. Folks, when we are serving Jesus in our own power we can do some right things sometimes, but it does not mean we are yielding to Christ. It means we are living in self-righteousness. The real love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, is found doing things the right way, YIELDING!

Living a life yielded to Christ’s leading is the only way to live a holy life. Of course, as long as we are human, we will fail to be holy sometimes. Just remember that when you are training yourself through sheer discipline, you may do a lot of things in a holy way, but that does not mean you have been holy. To be or even do with consistency that which is holy, it must emanate from that which is Holy within us the Holy Spirit. Remember the Bible says, That in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. But in me, dwelleth the One to whom I should yield.
God wants us to yield-not to react. If we yield, He will act for us. If we react rather than yield He is rendered useless to that particular circumstance. That does not please Him. God does not appreciate what He does not initiate.

I do not please God when I seek to act like a Christian; I please God when I yield to Christ. The next time the point of impact happens rather than reacting in the lust of the flesh, say, “Lord, I want to turn this over to you.” YIELD! As you practice yielding in your life rather than being anxious you will have peace and you will then have a real sense of the presence of God in your life. Rather than being angry and frustrated, you will be controlled by the Spirit of God.

Ephesians 4:29-32, Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let
ALL bitterness and WRATH, and ANGER, and clamour (public quarrelling), and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice (desire to hurt). And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

Seeking to Act Like a Christian Rather Than Yielding to Christ Grieves The Holy Spirit

You do understand that seeking to act like a Christian rather than yielding to Christ grieves the Holy Spirit. Today, our churches are filled with people who are seeking to act like Christ rather than yielding to Christ. No wonder the church is powerless and the home as well is powerless. The Holy Spirit is grieved by this activity and many disasters are happening in the homes of Christians who believe they are walking with God, but in reality they have no joy, no sense of His presence, and no real, intimate, passionate relationship with Him. You can change that starting today by yielding to Him.

II Corinthians 7:1, Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved,
let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The change begins when we cleanse ourselves from the filthiness of the flesh and the spirit. Many Christians are living in filthiness of the flesh and spirit, but do not even know it. Ask God to show you if there is the sin of not being controlled by the Holy Spirit in your life. Ask for His forgiveness and repent from this horrible sin. Then ask God questions.
Asking God questions is submission! Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and control you at the point of impact. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you in His Word.
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James 4:7,
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The measurement of the Christian life is how you react at the point of impact. How are you doing with what Christ wants you to do? YIELD! It will make all the difference in your Christian life and the lives of your spouse and children.

Remember folks, what is the one thing that can destroy your home, your relationship with your wife, your husband, your children, and with God? Your uncontrolled thought life and overreacting all the time! I am convinced that the lack of spiritual power we see today goes back to this secret life of the Christian. Much of the ruin of our children spiritually lies in this area as well. Be the vessel God can use today by not letting yourself be a negative, complaining, prideful, and overreacting person. Focus on dealing with your sin of overreacting at the point of impact and repenting of it. Be all you can be for Him today and have a powerful testimony of not overreacting, but humbly living for God! Praise Him whenever over-reactors come your way!

With a heart to glorify God and serving the God of answers,
Dr. Terry L. Coomer
Director, Hope Biblical Counselling and Training


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(At An Carraig Baptist Church, we take a literal, fundamental approach to the Bible (AV 1611). We are also a local, independent body of believers, which means we are not subject to any religious hierarchy. Being "Baptist" means we hold to the Bible-based Baptist Distinctives that has been the hallmark of true Baptist churches through the centuries. You are welcome to join us at any of our weekly meetings or schedule to meet for tea/coffee.)