What overwhelms you? Your answer would probably vary depending on your season of life. As a college student, I vividly remember sitting in the dentist's chair and being asked why I was clenching my jaw and grinding my teeth so often. My response: "Because I'm overwhelmed by all the reading, exams, and demands of college!" My dentist was unimpressed. In fact, he informed me that if I thought I was overwhelmed now, just wait until I became a young mom with a lot of kids (and he pointed to the frazzled dental hygenist standing next to him). So, I had that going for me...
Looking back now over my life, I would say that I could easily list the demands of the past four decades that have overwhelmed me. Getting good grades, winning favor with friends, finding a husband, having a baby, having a baby, having a baby, having a baby, raising those little ones, moving multiple times, teenage issues and angst...these were and are real things in my life that have threatened to undo me. Others may add health issues, children's sicknesses (even losing a child), caring for parents, financial woes. The lists are varied and long; being overwhelmed is reality, so how do we respond? Where is our help?
Of course you know my encouragement to you today is that our help comes from God. These are not just cheery thoughts that I'm passing your way, though, but the truth from God's own mouth.
You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32: 7
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34: 17
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1-2
Knowing these truths now--in the midst of our troubles or busy lives--can be a source of real comfort. Knowing these truths now can also be the very foundation upon which we can stand when greater troubles come our way. If I trust that God is good and that His will for me is that all things will work together for my good, then that gives me a living hope when everything else seems completely wrong or crazy or impossible. Without the proper knowledge of God, my ability to trust Him, and even obey Him, will waver when times get hard.
Maybe a journal that chronicles God's goodness, His promises, His truths is just what you need right now in order to guard your heart in your present season of being overwhelmed. Perhaps scripture memory is the key, or writing out scripture and reading it throughout the day, so you can see all of your immediate issues in the light of eternity. Talk with godly friends, read the Word, cry out in prayer...God has not left us without help. If you are feeling overwhelmed in this season of life, my prayer is that you will see this as an opportunity to grow even closer and more dependent upon Jesus than ever before.
I'll close up today's post with something I wrote a couple of years ago. Be encouraged and strengthened by God today.
…by the demands of the day
by my children’s disobedience
by my sin
by the laundry piles
by the monotony of the daily routine
…by God’s amazing grace
by Jesus’ sacrificial death
by the Holy Spirit’s never-ending filling
by God’s complete and utter goodness
by Jesus’ resurrection power that is at work in me
by the Holy Spirit’s comfort
by God’s immeasurable mercy
by Jesus’ righteousness given to a sinner like me
by the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work to have dominion over me
Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things…and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 8-9