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How do I know what I am feeling is overwhelm?
We all get a little stressed out from time to time and that is perfectly normal, but we must be cautious not to let overwhelm get the best of us. Overwhelm is this debilitating level of stress that makes you feel like you are drowning. All of your responsibilities are piling up, you have too much on your mind, and there is just so much to do that you do not know where to start… so you do nothing. Sound familiar?
This is overwhelm. Being so stressed and having so much to do that you do nothing. For me, this can often look like watching Netflix and eating ice cream instead of doing homework. It looks different for everyone, and is terrible for anyone! We are going to look at what the devil has to do with overwhelm, what God wants us to do when we feel overwhelmed, and finally how to overcome the overwhelm.
The devil’s role in all of this…
The devil wants you to be overwhelmed for a couple of reasons, the first one being that it distracts you from God! Take a minute to think: when you feel overwhelmed, are you active in your prayer life? Or is it the last thing on your mind? Often times we find ourselves saying things like “I wish I had more time for God” or “If I did not have to do x, y, and z I would be able to pray more”. This is what Satan wants! He wants you to be paralyzed by your overwhelm and focus on anything but God (the one who can get you out of it!).
Being overwhelmed also makes you extremely frustrated! This can lead you to lash out or distance yourself from others, hurting those around you. When you have too many things going on and you feel like you cannot catch a break, even one off comment from someone can seem like too much to handle. This is exactly what the devil wants- he wants you to be anything but loving to those around you.
Another thing that happens when we feel overwhelmed is we lose faith and trust in God, and therefore lose our motivation. We listen to the lie of “you’re right, you cannot do this” that the devil slips into our minds. Then, we begin to get down on ourselves- thinking God will be disappointed in us because we cannot handle what He has given us. We also feel so stuck that we lose our faith that God will pull us through! Eventually, we may give up on some of our dreams because we feel so overwhelmed and hopeless.
What God wants
God does not want you to feel overwhelmed, He wants you to be at peace! This way, you can trust Him and follow His guidance, without all of that stress getting in the way. When we are at peace, we feel empowered and motivated. When we are calm and content we often feel ready to take on the world! This also means that you are ready to get out there and spread His light with passion.
When you are at peace, you will also be more loving towards those around you. When you feel stressed, you may feel too busy to take time and talk with friends. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed enough with your own problems. so you do not have the energy to help those around you with their problems. Being at peace will put you in a mindset where you are ready to love your neighbors!
Overcoming your overwhelm will also help your personal relationship with Christ. God wants you to be relaxed. He also wants you to slow down and talk to Him throughout the day. How can you do this when you are constantly running from one thing to the next? Slow down, calm down, and talk to Him!
How to overcome the overwhelm
The first step to take is to sort it out! Organize! This is something I have been working on lately. When you feel like your mind is full of crazy thoughts and you have no idea where to start because there is just too much, write them down. Take a couple of minutes to write down everything that is on your mind, even if some things seem insignificant. Then, make a decision right then and there on how you will handle each one. You do not have to solve the problem at this time, but decide what action you will take to work towards a solution. For some help doing this, print out the free worksheet I have created for you below! Put on some music, relax, and start overcoming your overwhelm!
The next step is just to take some time for yourself. Drink some tea, watch some Netflix, get lost on Pinterest, or my favorite: get creative! Expressing yourself is a great stress relief as it gets you distracted and you often create something you feel proud of! To get started, head over to 4 Creativity Hacks to get the Ideas Flowing.
Lastly, pray and have faith! Spend some quiet time with God and ask Him for the strength and focus to power through whatever is stressing you out! He’s got your back! Maybe work in your prayer journal (or war binder, which you can read more about here.) Just breathe and speak with your creator.
Overwhelm is strong but you are stronger!
I am sure you know by now, being overwhelmed is hard. It is debilitating. Stressful. Crazy. Cray-cray. Loco. (Okay maybe I am getting a little carried away here… you get the point!). Satan wants you to feel like you are drowning so that he can pull you away from your goals, your friends, yourself, and your Father. God wants to pull you out of the storm so you can focus on Him and spread His light. Go with God. Do not forget to organize your thoughts, as well as treat yourself from time to time!
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