Five Steps to End the Overwhelm
Do you ever feel as if your mind is swirling in 20 different directions? You have a tough time concentrating. And you often think, “This is all too overwhelming.”
In today’s technological culture, which is supposed to be so easy and help us operate better and more efficiently, do you feel more stressed than ever?
You don’t have to feel so stressed. Remember, God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Take some comfort in that you’re not alone! We’re living in a world teeming with so many distractions that researchers and psychologists are designing coping methods, so students and adults can stay focused on a single project for more than three minutes! Crazy? More three minutes?
But it’s the way of the world these days. I receive emails from members of our Faith Driven Life Community who ask for help about spending time with God. Troubled believers tell me they just can’t stay focused or quiet their minds enough to hear God speak to them.
The theme of these messages – the tread woven in all of them is, “I feel so overwhelmed. I just can’t get calm. I have too much to do and I can’t find time to be in prayer and study.”
I know there are some circumstances in our lives when you may feel really stretched. Like Alice, a 69-year-old woman who works full time, cares for an ailing husband, and now has her two grandchildren living with her! Alice is in a stretching time and her way addressing stress, and those in similar situations, needs different solutions.
For most people, however, being overwhelmed is a screaming symptom of not having defined priorities. The truth is, most people today try to stuff too much into too few hours and the result is chaos and feelings of overwhelm.
Overwhelm attacks your self-worth, your health, your thinking, and even your health.
Here is a fact for just about everyone feeling stressed and overwhelmed: you are trying to do too much.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
I know, it may seem impossible to stop doing so much. But let me give you some things to think about that you can put into action right away:
- Discover what’s important to you. What are the primary roles you want to master? We all wear a lot of hats. When you think about your roles, which ones are most significant for you to fulfill. List then and then rate them in priority. Prayerfully think about why you have accepted each role and consider forgoing those that aren’t as important and that take away from the time, energy, and attention you can give to the others.
- Discover what you want. What do you want for your homelife? How about your health? Your vocation? Your spiritual life? Your intellectual growth? Your social life? Your finances? Your future. What are goals that you can articulate and specify so you can see what’s most important to you . . . your priority. Draw the Lord into your meeting. He will help you.
- Choose your priorities. Have a little meeting with yourself. Select your priorities from the lists you’ve made. Make sure you minimize your top priorities, so you can devote to them the time, attention, and resources they need so you can fulfill your desire.
- Devise a plan of action. What specific things can you do to do well? How can you be the best version of yourself? How can you use the time, talent, and resources God has given to you to fulfill the call He has on your life?
- Be present. Toss “multi-tasking” out the window. Don’t try to parent and work on an office project at the same time. Be present and give the best of yourself as you fulfill each role you fulfill.
Don’t forget to put yourself on the list of priorities. You know the flight attendant’s instructions when you’re on a jet about to take off, “In the unlikely event of an emergency an oxygen mask will drop from the panel above your head . . .” They tell you to position the mask yourself and THEN help others. Make sure you are a priority, along with others God has put in your circles.
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