When You Feel Overwhelmed

What starts happening in your body when you feel overwhelmed? Here are some tell-tale signs in mine:

My eye started twitching about ten days before he left, and at my annual well visit on the day prior to his departure, my blood pressure was higher than it has ever been. 

My thoughts run from what if he doesn’t come back to who is going to listen to me process my day to how will I ever manage six children who need my full attention. Anxiety leads to distraction and it’s impossible to get things done.

My prayer journal sits open on my lap, but all I can utter is a scattered bit of nonsense. Eventually I open up Instagram and begin to scroll. I try to fill the emptiness with whatever seems fruitful in the moment. 

Stress affects us body, mind, and soul. I know this is true. But it wasn’t until the last few weeks that I noticed how overwhelmed I’ve felt about my husband’s frequent out-of-town work assignments.

I’m sure there are coping mechanisms and skills to learn which would help in times such as these. But I am not a counselor, or a therapist. And while it is on my to-do list to find a good one for my own well-being, I needed to do something about the stress in my life.

So I did what I do know to do. I turned to God’s Word. Specifically, to things I know to be true about God.

God never feels overwhelmed. God never feels stressed out. His eye doesn’t twitch because he’s overthinking. And I don’t know if Jesus ever had high blood pressure (was it even possible for the Son of God to have high blood pressure?), but even if he did, it wasn’t because he was frantic, anxious, or distracted. He didn’t run through ‘what-ifs’ and ‘I wonders’ and ‘how will I manage to do all the things I need to do’.

Jesus ran to the Father. 

When people pressed in, he prayed. When upcoming circumstances felt overwhelming, he sought the Father’s will. If the pain was too much to bear, Jesus spoke Scripture back to the Father. 

And so I’m learning yet again from the way of Jesus. In the overwhelming seasons of solo-parenting, I’m running to the Father. In prayer, by scribbling my thoughts into my journal, and through opening his Word.

My eye still twitches from time to time, but my mind is less distracted and my soul is at peace. Jesus’ words ring true: Abide in me. Apart from me you can do nothing.

If you, like me, feel overwhelmed, here are seven truths to remember about God. I pray they offer you the tremendous encouragement they offer to me. As we turn our eyes toward God and behold his character, may we become more like him. Less overwhelmed because we’re more confident in who he is and dependent upon the power he extends to us, his people.

When you feel overwhelmed by the needs of the people you love most,
God’s love reaches to the highest heaven. His love is deep, wide, eternal, all-knowing, and all-seeing. He will guide you with his love and pour out his love through you. Because he does not feel overwhelmed by their needs, you can turn to him and rest in his strength.

When you feel overwhelmed by unmade decisions,
God is the source and giver of wisdom. His wisdom is perfect, unfathomable, rich, and true. Rest in his ability to guide you into all truth. He promises wisdom to those who ask in faith. He makes known to you the path of life.

When you feel overwhelmed by your own emotions,
God invites you to pour out your heart to him. He sees your innermost thoughts and there is nothing too wonderful for him. Your struggles do not shock him, nor is he unable to handle your troubled soul. He is with you, he upholds you, and he brings peace to your soul.

When you feel overwhelmed by your lack of control,
God is the one who holds all things together. God sits enthroned above the heavens and his kingdom rules over all. His ways are higher than our ways, and nothing happens apart from his good and gracious hand.

When you feel overwhelmed by the future or impending change,
God is the stability of your times. He does not change or fear the future. He goes before you, hemming you in on all sides. You can trust in his kindness and faithfulness. He will never forsake you.

When you feel overwhelmed by the things in your life you can’t fix,
God is the one who forgives all your sin, heals all your diseases, redeems your life from the pit, crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, and satisfies you with good. He is the one who will make all things new—in his time, in his way, with his resources. For his glory and for your good.

When you feel overwhelmed by being overwhelmed:
God never grows tired or weary. He promises to sustain you, uphold you, and walk with you through whatever you’re facing. He’s working in you something good because he’s making you more like Jesus. He promises to be faithful to you to the end.

Header Photo by Artem Kovalev on Unsplash