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Three Aha's to Conquer Overwhelmed


I crossed the threshold of my office, and the sensation punched me. The crummy feeling robbed me of the joy I generally experience when entering my sacred place.

On a normal day, my office is like a haven. My bookshelves, my floral chair, and my photos of family create an atmosphere of warmth and welcome. Typically, I relish the opportunity to step into my zone, close the door behind me, embrace the solitude, and launch into my work.

So on this day I had to ask, “What gives?” “What is going on here?” Then it hit me: I feel Overwhelmed (overcome, overpowered, swamped), by my daunting work agenda. There was far more to do than there was time to meet the deadlines. 

Can you relate to my feeling overwhelmed?

Life’s unwanted visitor named Overwhelmed knocks on many of our personal doors, and barges uninvited into numerous settings like the following:

Realizing there is more month than money (I feel overwhelmed.)

Pondering the heartache with a child’s behavior (I feel overwhelmed.)

Absorbing test results and the necessary journey of treatment (I feel overwhelmed.)

Glancing at the to-do list (I feel overwhelmed.)

Stepping on the scales (I feel overwhelmed.)

Listening to the evening news (I feel overwhelmed.)

Staring at the calendar (I feel overwhelmed.)

Hearing an aging parent’s voice articulate hopelessness (I feel overwhelmed.)

Mulling over a spouse’s upcoming travel commitments (I feel overwhelmed.)

Walking down the hall after the parent-teacher conference (I feel overwhelmed.)

Approaching the gym (I feel overwhelmed.)

Considering the untouched correspondence demanding attention (I feel overwhelmed.)

Rebounding from the phone call with _______ (you fill in the blank). (I feel overwhelmed.)

When Overwhelmed reigns, problems mushroom—distorting our situation and immobilizing us. Furthermore, Overwhelmed gobbles up joy, impedes progress, and dictates defeat while simultaneously demanding our surrender. Whether the challenge is temporary or long-term, Overwhelmed is no respecter of gender or generation, of season or circumstance.

After further thought, I am convinced that languishing in no man’s land of Overwhelmed comes when we leave God out of the equation, when we access the situation from our human perspective, and assume that a solution depends on our limited resources.  

So, here is my conclusion:

Overwhelmed is not from God. Overwhelmed is real—very real—but Overwhelmed is not from God. 

On the contrary, peace is from God, and peace is my rightful inheritance as His child. In facing my deadlines that day in my office, I needed to realign myself with His truth by remembering three aha's:

Aha #1. God has a plan for me: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Aha #2. God has resources for my specific situation: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

Aha #3. God loves me and will never abandon me: My presence will go with you and I will give you rest (Exodus 33:14).

After all, and it is true, His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3).

Now that makes me Overwhelmed with relief and with exceedingly great joy!

Living With Eternal Intentionality

Right now, what makes you feel overwhelmed?

Is God overwhelmed by your situation?

Based on a promise from the Word of God, how can you expect Him to show up?