Sometimes we’re like the store manager who was absolutely overwhelmed with all of his responsibilities. One day when he was totally frustrated he was walking through the packing room and saw a young man sitting on a shipping crate. The manager was instantly irate. He asked the young man how much he was paid. He sheepishly said, “I make $400 a week.”
At that the manager reached in his pocket and counted out $400, gave it to the young man and said, “Here’s a week’s pay, now get out of here!” Then the manager went looking for the department head. When he found him he demanded to know who had hired that “lazy bum.” The department head was somewhat confused. “No one hired him. He was just here to pick up a package.”
Let’s face it: Sometimes we all feel overwhelmed and it affects our attitude, which usually leads to foolish mistakes. I can say with confidence that God does not want our lives to be characterized by stress and frustration.
The question is what does God offer in place of the frustration of being overwhelmed? The answer is found in one simple verse of Scripture: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Simply put, Jesus promised us peace in place of stress and frustration.
So if you feel overwhelmed at work, at home, in a relationship, in your spiritual life I want you to know that there is hope because you can take the over away from over-whelmed. That being said you need to take a long, sometimes ruthless look at your life. Here are three suggestions that will help with the process. First up…
Make it your goal to please God, not to impress people
Too often we add things to our schedule, not because we believe it is what God wants us to do, but because we believe it will make us look good in the eyes of others. If that describes how you prioritize things try this: If you can’t say with absolute confidence that this is something God wants you to do, then consider eliminating it from your schedule, or at least cut back.
Here’s a second suggestion that will help you get a grip on taking the over away from over-whelmed:
Seek God’s timing, not your own
I want to make myself clear on this point. We need to be people of vision. We need to be ambitious. We can’t afford to coast on the strength of yesterday’s accomplishments. We need to look for the next thing that God wants us to do. But we cannot do everything that needs to be done all at once. That’s why a part of the fruit of the Spirit is patience. (See Galatians 5:22ff) That’s why one of the gifts of the Spirit is administration. (See Romans 12:3-8)
A mistake we often make is that of trying to start too many things before being capable of handling them skillfully. The result is inefficiency on a massive scale. When that happens do you abandon the vision? In a word, NO! You back up, re-evaluate your position, and seek God’s timing. That is a difficult thing to learn, because anyone with a heart for others recognizes there are so many needs that cry out to be met TODAY!
That said remember this, before you take on any new projects in your life, wait for God. As you look at the list of all you’re trying to do, ask yourself: “Am I running ahead of God?” If so, put something on the back burner and wait for God to provide clear direction. But be careful not to miss the opportunity when God opens the door. OK, here’s a third suggestion that will help…
Don’t try to do everything by yourself
Two pastors’ wives were mending their husbands’ trousers. One said to the other, “My poor husband is so discouraged. He’s thinking of resigning. It seems like he’s the only one doing anything.” The other replied, “Well, things are going great for my husband. He is so enthused. There are so many faithful workers that we just keep adding ministries all the time.” A hushed silence fell as they continued to mend the trousers; one patching the seat _ the other patching the knees.
Jesus offers this… Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers… (Matthew 9:38) It’s not only ok it is extremely wise to ask God for help. Look for opportunities to share the work load with others.Ask God to send people into your life that will help you do the work he has called you to do. That way you can make sure the most important things on your schedule can actually get done.
Listen, if you are committed to doing God’s will, you will have a full plate. However, when God is involved it will be full, but not over-whelming. Here are two poems that will help you remember how to stay away from being over-whelmed. The first one goes like this.
And here’s the second one:
Put those two poems to practice and in the right order and over-whelmed will become a thing of the past with a bright future on the horizon.