Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances of your life? It may be there is a lot of craziness happening, not necessarily all bad, it’s just that your season of life is full of craziness, details and deadlines that are keeping you feeling overwhelmed at times. There are days you feel like you are close to drowning.
It may be that your season right now is full of sadness, sickness and appointments and you wish you could just do something fun! It seems like bad news is overwhelming you. Just when you get adjusted to the medical bad news, you get car trouble or house repairs and want to cry. The waves are overwhelming you and as you start doing jobs that are outside your skill set, you feel those waves crashing over you and taking you down!
Those are just two settings where overwhelm can take over. It might help to think about how overwhelm takes over. Often it is a state of mind not always based on truth or reality.
How does it happen?
- You have gotten behind through either sickness, being out of town or procrastination.
- You are trying to catch up by working harder.
- You get hit by 2 or 3 unexpected problems.
- You feel overwhelmed by the added items on your list of things to do.
That is a simplistic list of how it happens. The numbers may be different of course. But that is roughly how it all gets started. Then you add a big event…it can be either tragic or exciting, and you have overwhelming pretty fast!
You may have some of these contributing factors
- Do you have ADD? If so, this gives you much less tolerance for handling a lot of additional details crashing in on you. You are also highly distractible! That can make it more difficult to focus and get out of your overwhelmed situation.
- Do you have health issues or medication that can have an effect on your thinking/concentration? This can be anything from thyroid issues, hormone issues, to neurological, diabetic, or metabolic ones. The obvious problems of course are psychiatric diagnoses including bipolar, depression of all sorts and side effects from some of the medications used to treat them. You will see that there are many of us that can be affected in some way by either our disorder or the medication helping us.
- Do you have a lifestyle that does not have any margin for error? Is your life scheduled in such a way that you don’t have any time to rest or take breaks between activities? Do you plan into your life pauses for vacations? Do you allow a rest day or half day during the week when you aren’t working? Do you make time for recreation and exercise?
- Do you ever do some things simply because they are fun? If not, you can easily feel overwhelmed if you feel that all you do is work and things that are hard.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive list, but one to prompt your thinking toward areas that need developing or protecting. It has reminded me of some places I need to shore up!Just do the next thing! We don't need 15 steps when we are overwhelmed. We just need to know what the next step is. Click To Tweet
So what is the first thing to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
- Just do the next thing! We don’t need 15 steps when we are overwhelmed. We just need to know what the next step is to do. That is usually clear. We don’t need to overthink it. We just need to do it! It may be as simple as washing the dishes or doing a load of laundry…or even eating our breakfast. We sometimes forget those important things. As we move forward, we figure out what the next step is after that. Take it one step at a time as you get out of overwhelmed.
- When I feel overwhelmed, I make a to-do list that is very concrete. Usually I find that the list is much shorter than I thought it would be. That’s why I said earlier that overwhelmed is often more a state of mind than a reality. It definitely helps to have this to-do list written down clearly and concretely so I can attack it, putting deadlines or at least priorities to the jobs. It also helps me see where I can get help for certain jobs.
- As those who are in Christ, we have a helpful tool that is prayer. Often I find I underestimate it. But I can go to my heavenly Father who is also the One GOD and Creator of the Universe, and bring my concerns and feelings to Him. He actually cares about me. It seems incongruous to think that He would, but it is true! Sometimes, all I can say to Him is “Help! I don’t even know what to ask for. That is how overwhelmed I am!” But I can also ask Him for concrete needs I have that I see on my list.
- And look at the last line of this wonderful passage…”Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you…” Is that not a touching line? Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because I am trying to please someone. This is not the case here! Our Creator finds us to be precious and honored…and He loves us! That touches me in a place in my heart that not many words do. He won’t allow these hard things or seemingly overwhelming things to harm us. He doesn’t promise to remove them from our lives, but He does promise that they won’t harm us in long term ways.
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you…
May you be aware of GOD’s blessings this week as you move forward to do the next thing.