What do you do when you feel overwhelmed? Overeat? Watch too much TV? Try to run away? Take out your frustrations on others?
When we feel overwhelmed, we are especially vulnerable to making bad decisions and causing further chaos in our lives.
Overwhelmed feels like “I’m out of control!” which is one of our greatest fears. We can be living on the edge of “overwhelmed” in many areas of our lives. That puts us in a place where we are just one incident away from having a bad attitude, making poor decisions and hurting other people. It’s not the life we want to live.
When I feel overwhelmed, my default is to look for somebody to blame. Unfortunately, that is often the people closest to me. If they wouldn’t do this (or would do that), my life would be more manageable. Blaming others, though, doesn’t fix the fear in my heart and damages precious relationships.
How does God want us to react when we feel overwhelmed?
“From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2, NKJV)
No matter how far away God may seem (even at the other end of the earth!) when we feel out of control and unstable, God wants to bring stability to our worried lives. By hiding ourselves in His strength, in the Rock, Jesus Christ, we can exchange our measly attempts at control for the power of God’s peace and presence.
I wonder what the disciples felt like when Jesus sent them out two by two to preach the gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers and raise the dead? Do you think they felt competent, or overwhelmed? I’m certain it was the latter.
What were their options? Run away? Start mistreating one another? Drink too much wine to medicate the scary feelings?
Instead, they chose to trust and obey the Rock. They went forward at the Master’s words, even if it was with fear and trembling. As it turns out, they had tremendous success! “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Luke 10:17, NKJV)
What started out as an overwhelming and daunting task became a great victory as they relied on Christ’s name and His power instead of their own strength. By giving into God and not into their flesh when they felt overwhelmed and afraid, they saw the impossible come to pass.
God can do that in our lives. He can take our feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate and turn the situation into a tremendous victory. When we are overwhelmed, there is a Rock to go to, who will make our scary world stable with His presence. In that place of safety, we can hear His direction and obey by faith. Then He will answer with everything we need to do His will.