Have you ever experienced the feeling of being thrown into the deep end of the pool before you have fully learned how to swim?
That feeling of just, barely keeping your head above water...
That feeling of water coming in through your nose and mouth at the same time, minimizing the access of air without completely taking it away...
I think most of us have felt this way, at some point in our lives.
It's not easy feeling overwhelmed. The worst part is when you have to maintain some composure when everything inside of you wants to scream. Being "in too deep" doesn't usually happen overnight. It's usually a build up, that keeps pushing you closer and closer to the edge. Sometimes all it takes is ONE phone call from a friend who has an attitude, ONE wrongly worded email from a co-worker, ONE "hangry" professor who forgot to have their Snickers Bar before class. I think we've all been on both sides of this coin at some point.
With the world we live in now its even harder to avoid being overwhelmed. Everyday there is a new tragedy, natural disaster, or presumptuous piece of legislation that would make any person want to shut down. We wont even touch on the added effects of social media, peer pressure, alternative facts, and rehearsed reality TV. You get the point. We all have good reason to feel overwhelmed at times.
So where does that leave us?
I suppose this is the moment where you expect for me to cue the organ and say (E Flat please)...." BUT GOD.....who is the author and finisher of our faith, WHO is able to keep us from falling, who delivered Daniel out of the Lion's Den, WHO sent his angel to cover Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego...Is ABLE...to keep you...Is ABLE to cover you...HEEeeee isss Able..." (insert leaning back of head...with Noel Jones mic shake) Sorry, if you've never been to a charismatic church before. You can Google Noel Jones preaching later. The mic shake is generally left for the finale of the sermon, FYI.
As much as I want to defy your preconceived notions, it's actually the best way I know (I'll leave out the mic shake though). As a believer I can't deny the truth, which is that God is the sustainer of our strength. I wouldn't recommend something I haven't tried myself.
The last few years of my life have been filled with overwhelming moments, to say the least. Within one year, I went from being in an unhealthy marriage, to managing a tedious divorce, to dealing with a not so easy, single- working mother, life. I've had my share of times where I've had to bite my tongue, turn the other cheek, and be gracious when it seemed undeserved. I wont say it was easy, or that a few petty moments never slipped out. What I will attest to, is the unexplainable strength that came when I called upon the name of Jesus. I don't get it all right, but He has been the one thing that has kept me from exploding in a room full of gasoline.
Once I gained the strength to endure he increased my strength to persevere. Now I fight, not by my own strength, but by the power that works within me. The other secret sauce to not being overwhelmed is to focus on his purpose vs. your own plan. I wont lie, its a life changing decision and it usually comes with many sacrifices, but its no question in my mind that it has brought more joy than sorrow into my life.
Ok. I'm done preaching now. lol
In case that was too deep for you...here are a few more tips, for how you can alleviate overwhelming conditions.
1. Have at least one friend, mentor, or family member that wont let you wallow. That person, should know what you are dealing with, and provide an ear without giving you bad advice.
(A sign that someone might give you bad advice is that they talk more than they listen)
2. Stop hanging around other overwhelmed-defeated people who are not trying to overcome. Birds of a feather don't always flock together, but in most cases they learn each others bad habits and get stuck in a cycle of complacency.
3. Take action. When you feel the overwhelming conditions coming, don't wait for it to overtake you. Brainstorm solutions, try new things, get a hobby. Whatever you decide to do, do something. Don't fall into the trap of letting it pile up.
For the people who are currently in over their heads, I offer these passages:
“‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.'” ~ Psalm 91: 14-16
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11: 28-30