The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines overwhelmed as:
to cover over completely : submerge b : to overcome by superior force or numbers c : to overpower in thought or feeling
It’s the moment where someone, something, many things just wash over you and leave you feeling powerless, helpless and exhausted.
I cannot begin to explain how often I feel overwhelmed. I am feeling overwhelmed right now. My house is a mess, my dog had 13 puppies who require a lot of clean up, who require being fed earlier than usual because of the sheer number of dogs and with whom Roxy is, unfortunately, cooped up all day and therefore anxious to get out when I get home, Stephen is dealing with quite a few issues with which I need to speak to his doctor about, I am dealing with constant sinus pressure and headaches…and those are just the physical things. That doesn’t include all the worry that I deal with on a daily basis.
I am so overwhelmed in this very moment, that all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep or cry or both. I can’t think of my next move. I can’t grasp enough to make a plan for just tonight. I have so many things that have to be done and they all should have been done a month ago (at least that is how it feels).
Being overwhelmed is never fun. It’s never easy. It’s always draining and exhausting both physically and emotionally. I am sure you have been overwhelmed more times than you care to count as well, maybe even overwhelmed by some of the issues I have listed above.
So…what do we do about it? I am sitting her asking myself this question…what do I do about feeling this overwhelmed? How do I get on with my evening, do the things I have to do and not just lose it? I will tell you that I strongly want to go home and go to bed…throw in the towel and say “Forget this!”…but I’m needed and I will move on. I will do what I have to do because I have to do it. But how do we do it with grace? How do we do it without losing our cool at our kids, the dog, the family?
An article I just read said,
A child once drew a picture of a tiny boat on a raging sea and wrote underneath:
“Dear Lord, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.”
Boy doesn’t that feel right. But the article goes on to tell how Nehemiah felt overwhelmed. Nehemiah had a huge task ahead…he had to rebuild a city. Nehemiah wasn’t even living anywhere near the area that he was to rebuild, but God told him to rebuild the city. Nehemiah could have told God no and crawled in his bed and pulled the covers over his head and given up. He could have let the feeling of being overwhelmed overpower him. Nehemiah knew something that I have to remind myself (and fail to more often than not) every single day…
I CANNOT DO IT ON MY OWN!
For me, that is so hard to acknowledge! I am a person who does not like to be out of control. I like to be able to take care of everything. I like to drive in the left lane on the road because I don’t like being behind another car (they might slow me down), I do project on my own most of the time because I don’t like not having full say of what my grade is when I am done. To acknowledge that I cannot do it on my own is to let go of control. That is ever so hard for me!
ASKING FOR HELP
Once Nehemiah recognized that he couldn’t do it on his own, he had to do two things…first was ask for God’s help. He had to ask for help with his feelings of being overwhelmed; had to ask God to calm his spirit and bring him peace that it would be all right.
Ok, big confession….I have a hard time trusting God. We as humans often feel we can do a better job than anyone else…including God. So, we don’t trust Him to handle things for us. How silly are we? God is the ONLY one who is able to take care of everything and yet we think we can just because we rocked along fine for a week or so. But now we’re crashing and we’re crashing hard and all because we aren’t trusting God to deal with our problems, with our lives. You’re not alone…He’s right there with you even if you don’t feel him.
Next, Nehemiah had to ask for help from others. So here, yet again, I fail. We as humans don’t trust that the other person will understand what we are going through, that they will do what needs to be done the way we want it done, etc. So we don’t ask for help. However, just like when we ask God for help, a weight is lifted off our shoulders and we are able to focus better…to start to come out of that cloud of overwhelmingness. (Yes, I just made up a new word! :p) Stay close to your Godly friends and family…you’re not alone.
THE TASK IS WORTH DOING
Finally, Nehemiah knew that the task was worth doing. He knew that rebuilding that city would not only be what God wanted, but would bring about healing for a devastated people. I am not rebuilding a city, but I am trying to manage a household and still work and go to school. I would say that my task is worth doing. My son is so very precious to me…my task is worth doing. I love those puppies who are sitting in my bathroom…my task is worth doing. I love Roxy, I would dare to say she is the best dog I have ever had…my task is worth doing.
Now, an observation from me…
THIS TOO SHALL PASS!!
It’s all temporary! None of this will last. The puppies will be going to homes soon and then Roxy will be able to get back to a normal routine and won’t feel so trapped. Stephen will be getting the help he needs soon and growing up way too fast. And my house will get cleaned, even if it takes me a year to finish it. It’s all temporary!