Tangible Steps to Take in that All-too-familiar Feeling
The other day, a friend canceled our coffee date. Would you judge me a little if I said I felt relieved? I love this friend and her little girl. I was looking forward to getting together with her, and it had taken weeks to find a day and time that would work for both of us, but I had so much I was trying to get done that day … and the day before, and the day before that, and honestly, I feel this way most days.
I’m overwhelmed, and I’m not the only one. I see friends struggling, too. We wake up ready to take on the world, only for my day to be turned upside down by 7 a.m. because of a sick kid, a new deadline or a crack in the windshield (this was one of my days just last week). Our plates are full. We’ve forked through every overflowing morsel, and there isn’t anything we can discard. Most of us experience a point of contention between how we want our days to flow and the flood of water we are trying to tread.
Part of it is the season we are in; I know it is for me. We have a high schooler, a middle schooler, a fifth grader, and a one-year-old. On top of that, my husband recently started his own business, and I’m trying to work from home with a toddler, who has pulled all my baking trays out as I write this. I wish I had a free afternoon to bake, but I have all I can do to keep up with the laundry. Some seasons are more stretching than others, but everyone experiences moments of feeling overwhelmed. So what do we do with it?
When we first moved into our house two and a half years ago, three bushes lined the pathway up to our front door. They took up a lot of space, and my husband wanted them gone, so he posted them on a neighborhood site for free to whomever wanted to put in the hard work and dig them up. Two guys arrived later that day, just before dinner, and by the time they left, it had been dark for over an hour. Despite all their effort, a few weeks later, the bushes started to grow again because they hadn’t removed the entire root.
What is the root causing you to feel overwhelmed in your current season?
It looks different for all of us, but I’ll share some of the themes I’ve noticed in my life.
- I forget God is at work even amidst the chaos.
- It’s me who is putting too many expectations on myself.
- I’m not necessarily working for the good of the people around me, even though I want to believe I am.
- I’m not letting go of the stuff that doesn’t matter.
- I’m unaware of distractions that are only adding to my feelings of being overwhelmed.
I know naming the root doesn’t lighten our loads, but it allows us to devise a plan of attack. We need one against an enemy who uses anything, including those feelings of being overwhelmed, to make us feel weak. It helps us move forward and make future decisions. Maybe we can’t take anything off our plates, but we can pray and think a bit more about the next time we try to take on something else.
Some practical things you CAN do:
- Put the roots you named on notecards and hang them on your fridge, bathroom mirror and laundry room.
- Be conscious of them as you move through your day and week.
- They will help reframe our thoughts when our hearts feel faint.
“ Hear my cry, O god, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1-2 ESV)
Remember, the day may change, but God doesn’t. The sun moves west; shadows fall, as does the light. But even then, He is there with new mercies. When anxiety looms like the moon, and you don’t finish all you want to do,nd the day’s weight is behind, and before you, He is still there.
Sarah Nichols is a writer who loves encouraging women by sharing hope-filled stories that point others to Jesus. She lives in Tucson, AZ, with her husband and four kids. You can find more from Sarah at http://sarahnicholswrites.com