“I feel so overwhelmed!”
My good friend voiced these four words last week. So did someone in my family. I heard them from a co-worker, and I read them in an email from someone else. A friend in ministry said them as well. And to top it off, I silently spoke them in a prayer not so long ago. Lord, help me to not feel so overwhelmed today.
If you feel so overwhelmed right now, you’re in good company.
But why? Why are we feeling so overwhelmed right now? Is it from the pandemic? Or digging out from Iowa’s August derecho? Or settling into the back-to-school routine? Is it because it’s autumn? Or are we all facing extra demands at work/school? Do we have too much on our plate? Is the world spinning out of control?
I don’t have the answers. (Except the world does feel like it’s spinning out of control some days.) I wish I did have the answers, however. And even more, I wish I could wave a magic wand and make the “so overwhelmed” feelings go away. But sadly, I don’t. I do, though, know how it feels, and if you feel so overwhelmed too, I’m sorry. However, I’m glad we can walk this road together and encourage one another.
You’re not alone on this road. So, what can we do when we feel this way? When we feel so overwhelmed?
Here are 5 truths for when you feel so overwhelmed:
1. God is never overwhelmed.
Why does this matter? Because if He’s never overwhelmed, His children (you and me) don’t have to be either. Believe it or not, we can choose to refuse to be so overwhelmed. We can choose a different way… God’s way. Sure, you and I may still have lots going on, but we don’t have to live this life overwhelmed. Take a look at Psalm 37:5:
Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you.Psalm 37:5 NCV
And this from Proverbs:
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG
What if we stopped doing all this living in our own strength and depended on God and His strength, instead? What if we fully trusted Him with our circumstances and with our lives? We aren’t expected to figure out everything on our own. He will take care of us, friend. He will keep us on track. Amen!
2. Sometimes our minds make mountains out of mole hills.
Ever heard that expression? Our minds can blow small issues into mountainous ones. Sometimes we may feel so overwhelmed because our mind is exaggerating what’s really going on. It’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. It’s giving us feedback based on what it has learned or is learning. Then, our emotions follow. No wonder we feel overwhelmed!
But, the thing is, that feedback isn’t always correct. Stop right now and write down what’s overwhelming you. Every little thing. On paper, is it as bad as it feels? In black and white does it look so overwhelming, or does it look a little more manageable? Writing it out can be a big help!
3. Sometimes we try to tackle too much.
I’m raising my hand here. I always try to tackle too much. And when I do, I am left feeling far too stretched and strengthless. You and I aren’t expected to take on everything, friend. It’s okay to say no. Look back to what you wrote out. Is there something you can say no to? Is there something you can let go? Or is there something on your list that someone else can do? I sometimes have to ask myself the question, “Is this something only I can do, or can someone else help me with this?” It’s okay to let go of what you don’t have to do and give that blessing to someone else.
4. You don’t have to do it all today, just do the next thing.
When I see a long to-do list in front of me I can get paralyzed. I have to do all of that today? There’s no way. But, if I just look at one item on the list and begin on that item, it’s much more achievable. I’ll soon cross that item off the list and can move on to the next one. Surprisingly, somedays I finish the entire list, one item at a time! Yes! That’s a great feeling isn’t it?! (Especially for us list-makers.) Focusing on simply doing the next thing makes a long list much less overwhelming. Before you know it, it’s done! Friend, you don’t have to do it all today, just do the next thing.
5. We function better (and are less overwhelmed) when we are rested.
When was the last time you rested? I’m not necessarily meaning a nap or extra sleep, even though that’s a part of rest. But, have you recently took some time to calm your heart, to refresh your spirit? When we go and go and go, and forego taking important rest, we become depleted and eventually empty. We must take time to fill ourselves back up. It’s really not an option. I know… who has time to rest with all you have on your plate? But, taking time to rest actually helps us function better. It actually helps us feel less overwhelmed. So, what’s one thing you can do to rest today? For me I’m working on getting more sleep at night and taking one day off a week to completely rest.
Friend, take a moment to breathe. To say a prayer. To release the stress from your body. Let go of what you cannot control and leave those things in God’s hands.
Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you.1 Peter 5:7 TPT
We don’t have to live overwhelmed one minute longer.
Let’s walk this road together, encouraging one another as we go.
Blessings to you!
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