6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I would venture to say the answer is yes. Which coping skills have you used to navigate through stressful times?
Let us list a few ways we handle things when we are overwhelmed.
over eat or not eat enough
over sleep or not sleep enough
not look after our bodies
we become rebellious
we keep everything inside
we don’t live in reality
These reactions often leave us with feelings of anxiety that arise because of deadlines we are obliged to meet. It could be related to projects to do with school, home, work, church or other activities in our lives. It could be relational issues within families, friends or more intimate relationships that are challenged. Sometimes these stresses come when we are working our hardest. Amazingly we begin to develop skills from a young age in how to cope with these things. The mechanisms we acquire to battle a capitulation to these human issues are very interesting and at times can be very destructive. As a young person these mechanisms become part of who we are; but often new stresses infiltrate our lives and all of a sudden we find ourselves unable, uneducated and even paralyzed by the situation we find ourselves in.
Many books have been written by psychologists, therapists and counselors who work in these fields. There are excellent suggestions out there but more often we return to what is comfortable, to ways of handling the overwhelming issues of life with reactions like the list that is written above.
I believe if we went to God first we may avoid some of those overwhelming feelings we feel. Here are some suggestions written by a woman named Nic who has a blog and writes in how she made a choice to trust God when she was overwhelmed.
1) Focus on God. Most times, when we are feeling overwhelmed, we run faster, trying to get everything done. But then we aren’t really focusing on God, are we? We are focusing on our problems – on the overwhelmingness. We need to FOCUS on HIM and know He is our only safe refuge.
“From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me. Let me live forever in your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of your wings!” Psalm 61:2-4 NLV.
2)Once you focus on God, you should understand that God is in control and you aren’t. And He is the same God who created the universe. Nothing is too big for Him. Not even your overwhelming issues. They are nothing to Him.
“Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! NOTHING is too difficult for YOU!” Jer. 32;17
3)Once we realize nothing is too difficult for God, we need to TRUST HIM.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Prov 3:5-6
4) After we TRUST He can make our path’s straight, we can begin to see that all He wants is the BEST for us.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God; to those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28
5) If we see God wants our GOOD, we begin to release our hold of our problems and we begin to see. . .
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Rom 8:31
6) So if God is for us, then nothing can stop us – if we keep our focus on God.
“But in all these things we OVERWHELMINGLY conquer through Him who loved us!” Romans 8:37
7) and if we know we can OVERWHELMINGLY conquer being OVERWHELMED we can…..
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be terrified, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
If you feel overwhelmed today, seek someone out, whether its your pastor David, an elder, deacon or a fellowship leader. Please know…..you are not alone.