Hello. I’m overwhelmed.
Deadlines. Decisions. Schedules. Kids. Clutter. Information. More information. Multi-tasking. Notifications.
Yes, NO! Well…yes. Ugh. Why did I say that? AGAIN?
I’m feeling swallowed up, like Jonah in the belly of that fish. It’s dark, dank and lonely in here as I drift deep into the overwhelming sea! Feeling overwhelmed can be…well, rather overwhelming! How do we get ourselves into this oppressive place where we feel like we’re dying?
DYING TO LIVE
I think sometimes we get overwhelmed because we are too busy doing what’s in front of us. We drift from what makes us feel alive. I read a quote recently…
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” –Howard Thurman
Have you noticed what makes you come alive actually requires you to die? When I am overwhelmed, it’s a struggle with death. My flesh is screaming for its own way.
When I’m overwhelmed, it’s not pretty. “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.” (Colossians 3: 13 NLT) What a relief! It’s good to remember, I am alive through Christ in the midst of my moment. My sinful nature, cut away. To grab hold of life in the moment, I must die. Seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Dying to come alive?
How am I revived when I feel overwhelmed?
Here are a few of my techniques:
1. REMEMBER TO BREATHE
Have you ever heard of “Smell the Soup, Cool the Soup?” I hadn’t either. But it works. Let’s try it right now.
Let’s breathe in through our nostrils, our lips pursed. This is smelling the soup! Feel how calming this is? It gets even better. Now blow, shaping your lips like the North Wind. That is cooling the soup! Smell and cool the soup four more times. Remembering to breathe brings life to a dying, overwhelming moment. “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33: 4 NIV)
2. EMBRACE THE PRESENT
Offering the moment a hug, in the midst over feeling overwhelmed, isn’t easy. But it’s necessary. When I’m overwhelmed, I’m either looking back or forward into the future. Embracing the present centers me in the midst of the storm. I have to let go of where I wanted to go, and be O.K. with where I am. I’m not stuck. I’m just detoured. There is no scarcity of time. God’s time is abundant. I’ll get back to where I was going. God’s Holy Spirit, my heavenly GPS, is still directing me.
Accepting a new season is as important as embracing the present. I’m not where I was in the old season. I’m in a new place. Shifting into a new season requires dying to the old one. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1: 21 NIV)
3. FIND A WINDOW
I gravitate to windows when I am overwhelmed. I must see out and look up! “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19: 1 NIV) Looking up to the sky helps me get God’s perspective. What is He doing in this moment? “I lift up my eye to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121: 1-2 NIV)
4. DO WHAT’S NEXT
Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t define my day. I heard a successful, female tycoon say when she gets overwhelmed, she does what’s next. First of all, it was shocking to hear she gets overwhelmed! Never feeling overwhelmed is a myth. The only way to complete a to-do list is to create a shorter one! Focus on what’s important. What would God have me do next? And, as I do what’s next, I put my confidence in Him, that He will rescue me.
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God [emphasis added], who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us. (2 Corinthians 1: 8b-10a NLT)