We have all felt overwhelmed from time to time with our circumstances, and it makes perfect sense. You know when life is unbearable, and the challenges are enormous. But what about feeling overwhelmed when it just doesn’t make sense.
On this particular afternoon, I shuffled into a small group, late once again. Tears were brimming in my eyes ready to run down my cheeks. I plopped down into my chair as if I had not sat down all day and then someone asked, “How are you?” Without much thought, I replied, “ I AM OVERWHELMED.”
As soon as the words fell out of my mouth, I wanted to take them back because it didn’t make any sense. I had been through much worse and seen darker days so why would I be bewildered? When others around me were suffering worse, how could I be overwhelmed?
Then my sweet friend, Sandy, asked, “How we can pray for you?” Reluctantly, I began listing off one by one how they could join me in praying for those that were on my heart and my unique struggles.
As she ferociously started writing. I kept talking. In between my requests, I would repeat, “I just don’t know why I am overwhelmed, I have been through much worse.” Finally, she stopped writing and dropped her pen with a thud. Sandy looked straight into my eyes and boldly said, “Maree I have been writing nonstop, and I can’t keep up.” “Of course, you are overwhelmed, anybody would be.”
I heard Sandy’s words, yet I was not convinced. I thought to myself, “She just doesn’t know the journey I have traveled.”
So I uttered, “I have been through so much more, these things SHOULD not get to me.”
Warning! The minute you see “should” or “shouldn’t” in your vocabulary all alarms should go off. Judging has started, and it most likely will not benefit anyone.
Don’t you agree we can be our own worst critics?
But you see my sweet friend had given me permission to be overwhelmed with my circumstances. So I began pondering why I was overwhelmed with what seemed should be manageable.
Maybe today you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, but it doesn’t make sense. If so, please take some time to answer the following questions.
When overwhelmed doesn’t make sense, ask yourself:
1. Am I sitting still with GOD on a regular basis?
If so, am I taking in the full meaning of what it means to be still with God? If you missed last weeks post, “Is There More to“Being Still?” click here. Being still includes letting go and giving it all to God.
Quite honestly sometimes when circumstances are beyond our control it is easier to trust and give it to God. In those particular moments, we know without a doubt we are helpless and need him.
2. Am I carrying a load that God never intended for me?
Sometimes we are overwhelmed by our own doing. We have picked up burdens that God never intended for us. In one of my favorite books – “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”, Joanna Weaver tells a story about a man pulling a wagon up the hill. His cart becomes heavy and overloaded by his own doing. It is a story I carry with me, and I hope you will too. Click here to read it.
3. Have I lost my perspective?
Sometimes we need to pull back and see the entire picture. Maybe one thing is little but combined with many things it is overwhelming.
4. Am I allowing others to speak into my life?
5. Am I taking good care of myself?
Are you resting along the journey? Taking time to pause, restore and refresh? Even Jesus took time to refuel.
After pondering the words of my friend and what it means to be still, It wasn’t so surprising that I felt overwhelmed.
I had rushed my morning and skipped my time with God as I probably had many days during the week. My perspective was so off because I was busy comparing my past to my present. I needed a new set of eyes to shine in on my life.
Most importantly, I had missed the part of letting go and letting God be God. So I took out a piece of paper just like my friend, Sandy, had done and wrote down what I needed to give back to God. As I wrote, I saw that the little things added up to needing a GREAT BIG GOD.
Yes, people around us are hurting and in need, and we want to be there for them, but we are not responsible for everyone’s happiness, safety, or salvation. We must not carry the load that is intended for GOD.
I had been holding tight as if I was in control. Thank goodness I had a friend willing to point out the obvious I was overwhelmed, and it did make sense.
Do you ever judge yourself whether you “SHOULD” be overwhelmed?