3 Practical Ways to Beat Overwhelm

I don’t know about you, but as a wife and mom, there are many days I wake up a bit overwhelmed by the tasks that have to get done, the conversations that have to be had and also the emotional and spiritual things that need to be addressed. I wonder how and when I should take on each and most of the time I don’t even stop to ask the Lord for His help. This leads me almost every time to worry, stress and anxiety. 

So, how do we fight the urge to rely on ourselves? 

Here are 3 practical ways to beat overwhelm:

  1. Pause and breath: In the Bible, the word for this is Selah. How often do we stop ourselves from going down the rabbit hole and just breath and take in the Lord’s presence for our life? 
  2. Do the next right thing: After you quiet your heart and mind, just get yourself to the place of doing the next right thing. This is where we rely totally and completely on the Holy Spirit and ask Him what we should do next. We stop looking at the whole picture and just look at the next step in front of us. Scripture says “your word is a lamp for my feet. A light on my path” (Psalm 119:105.) When you think of holding a candle to light your way in the dark, you only need to get the next step right to get to where you are going. So ask Him for His light to guide you.
  3. Pray:  Our lifeline is prayer. The Word says to “Pray about everything without ceasing” (Thessalonians 5:17).  Ask God to show you how to do it His way. Because our own way is never the best way. 

Here’s a prayer to get you started this morning and every morning:

Dear Lord,

Show me the way. Show me the next right thing. Light my path the way you said you would in Your Word. Show me how to be ____ wife. Show me how to be ______ mom. Show me how to be _____ daughter. Show me how to be _____ sister. Show me how to be _____ friend. Show me how to be _______ neighbor. But most of all show me how to be Yours. We ask you this in Your Mighty and Holy name. Amen. 

I believe if we start everyday with this prayer and this posture, we will cut down on the overwhelm and focus on the things that’s matter.

Tell me, what has helped you most with overwhelm in your life? 

To the girl looking for her purpose

Whether you are 18 or 80, we all experience those winds of change.  Maybe you just got out of high school, and you are wondering what career to choose.  Maybe you’re a young mom but your kids went off to school and now you are home without them most of the day. Maybe you are a new empty nester wondering what to do now that your kids have flown away.  Or maybe you retired and you’re wondering “what’s next for me?”  But no matter what phase you are entering, there is something scary, exciting, and even a little emotional when you are in this “wandering stage.”

I don’t know what season of change you are in, or which will be the next one for you. But I do know that whichever it is, it’s a good one because you have purpose and that is exciting!  But I also know that can be intimidating, so my hope is to first fill you up with God’s truth and then hopefully help you along to finding your purpose.

Truths

Truth #1: Our primary purpose in all that we do is to glorify God.

1 Corinthians 10:31- Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Truth #2: Our lives are marked by living like Jesus and Jesus lived a life of servanthood not a life of self-gratification.

Philippians 2:5-8- Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

So how do these truths guide our next steps?

For example: Sometimes we think when our load gets a little lighter that means we should just do what makes us happy, even if that means sitting on the couch and telling our grown kids to make us dinner since we did it for them for so many years. But this is where we apply the truth of the gospel we talked about above. Truth #1, when applied to this scenario, would make us realize that kind of thinking is not glorifying to God at all.  Glorifying God means we are reflecting the love and beauty of Christ. And in this situation, we would be far from it.  Then, if we applied Truth #2 to this scenario, we’d quickly wake up and realize that Jesus never had a heart to serve himself. His heart was humble and sacrificial to the point of death. Whoa, that’s convicting.

You may be thinking “living like Jesus sounds terrible!” But can I let you in on a secret? Anytime I’ve tried to live for myself or have been self-focused, I have been the most unhappy. But anytime I’ve lived my life serving others, I have felt great fulfillment.  While one is easy, it bears no fruit and often times leads us down a dark road.  And while the other one takes effort, it is fruitful, glorifies God, changes others and ourselves. And that is a reward in and of itself.

So here are 3 questions to ask yourself, pray about and meditate on, that I pray lead you to finding your purpose:

  1. God Given Roles- What God given roles has God given you recently? If God gave you these roles, then He certainly gave you great purpose in them to glorify Him. (Example: New mom, new wife, new aunt, new friend, new grandma, new neighbor etc. It’s not an accident that God placed these precious people in your life.)
  2. God Given Talents- What talents do you have that you can use to serve others? Whether it’s your family, community, church etc. God gave you talents to use for His glory and your purpose! Remember the parable of the talents? God wants you to USE THEM!
  3. God Given Influence- Who has God put in front of you? Sometimes we don’t open our eyes to see that God has us right where he wants us.  We have influence on those around us and our purpose can many times be found right there in the middle of it.  Maybe you now have time to start a neighborhood Bible study?  Maybe you have time to make more of those necklaces that you’ve been making for fun and now you can sell them at your local flea market where you will glorify God! Remember: glorifying God is reflecting His love and beauty even if you never get a chance to say His name.

These are just a few questions to get you started and on your way to letting God lead you into the purpose He has for you. Give yourself 20 minutes today to sit quietly, say a prayer asking God to show you what He wants for you, then answer these 3 questions.

Ladies, if we all let God lead our lives, this earth would look a little more like heaven. And we can let it begin with us.

How to make the most of your days

The other night I could not sleep for anything.  I tried lavender oil, melatonin, and listening to a podcast. Then eventually around 4am I made my way to the couch to see if a change of scenery would do the trick.  I’ve heard people say, “when you can’t sleep, God wants to talk.”  So, I prayed and told God I was listening.  Shortly after, I cracked opened a book knowing sometimes that makes me sleepy.  And there it was, in those pages, what God wanted to tell me. I’m sure of it.

You see, every day I wake up with a plan/to do list. It is very calculated to be sure that I get everything done. (Like we talked about in last week’s post) I believe, like the Titus 2 verse says, that women should take care of the home, their husband and children.  So, my list contains household chores, grocery shopping, dinner prep etc.  I desire to be a woman who serves her home, but I also enjoy serving women outside my home.  So, my list also contains my nap time hustle, where I am mentoring women, holding virtual bible study, and writing this blog. But in the wee hours of the morning as I read “Grace Not Perfection” by Emily Ley, these words popped off the page:

“Whether you’re seventeen or seventy-five, you can define the life you want to have. Better yet, you can decide how you want to spend your days.  God numbered and gave you every single one of those days, so what if you lived each one to it’s fullest?”

Friends, are you just “getting through your days?”

I read that last part and my heart sank.  While I don’t believe in all the worldly promotion of self-gratification in “designing your life” (because I believe God calls us to “take up our cross and die to self”), I recognized in that moment that I was hardly living my days in the abundant life God wanted for me.  In the dark, I whispered, “Oh Lord.  I am so sorry. I have been like a drill sergeant.  I just go through my day making sure we get everything done. Kids dressed, fed, chores, “go play”, lunch, naps, dinner, baths, read, bed. Repeat. I have done nothing other than checked off the boxes for my kids until they go to bed. I have just pushed them along the assembly line of my day to get to the next thing. That is not the life you want for me as a mother. And that is not the life you want for them as my children! They’ve seen the importance of getting things done and cleaning up after themselves but not the importance of YOU!”

I realized that night that I have become like Martha in the story of Martha and Mary. When Jesus came to visit, Martha prepared and did everything on the to do list while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet.  Martha served Jesus but she missed resting in Him like Mary did. In my physical unrest at 4 in the morning, God also showed me my spiritual unrest that I was living out during the day.

Emily Ley continued in her book with a mission statement of the fulfilled life she wanted. Where Emily may or may not have asked God what He wanted her days to look like, I knew it was important for me to prayerfully ask God to help me write the mission statement he wanted for my life.  He controls time and I know He can make the most of my days and this is what came of it…

My Mission Statement

The Lord wants me to have free time in my days to enjoy and soak in my babies. He wants me to create memories for all of us that last a lifetime. He wants me to pray with them every day and learn about Jesus alongside them.  He wants me to play with them and create smiles.  He wants me to invest in my children’s learning and teach them everything from a biblical world view. He wants me to work at most 20 hours a week so that my husband and children know they are my priority. He wants me to have a clean home and have my children help so they learn responsibility and learn the importance of taking care of things.  He wants us to eat dinner as a family. He wants me to be rested so that I have energy to give to my husband.  The Lord wants me to make my husband feel important, so when he is home everything else gets put away unless we both decide otherwise. He wants my work to inspire my kids to pursue the passions He places in their hearts. He wants me to leave a legacy that says “her joy was found in Christ.”

Aren’t His plans SO GOOD?

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

After I wrote that out, I wanted to take it a step further than the book did and apply it to my daily life.

Daily List

  1. Find joy in the morning– wake up before the kids and sit with Jesus. Whether it’s to worship, read scripture, journal, pray or if time allows all of the above, this is the time to find joy in the Lord and let it continue throughout the day.
  2. Manage the home- Set aside an hour a day to get a part of the house straightened and cleaned with the kids.
  3. Teach– find a teaching rhythm and curriculum that puts God first and doesn’t take over 3 hours a day so that our days are not consumed with homeschooling.
  4. Play- Set aside 2 hours a day for real play time when I can be totally present to enjoy the kids.
  5. Work- Set aside 1-2 hours each day to pursue my God given passions serving others.
  6. Rest- Set aside rest time daily. Jesus went off and rested. God rested. I also need rest to serve my husband, my children, and others well.

This list is now the barometer for anything that goes on my planner.  This will also make decision-making much easier with hard no’s or hard yes’s when I’m given opportunities.

Friends, I know the Lord wants to lead and guide each of us.  His way is better than ours. When we just focus on the to-do’s and what we think we need to do, we miss out on the blessings God puts right in front of us and the abundant life He wants us to have in Him.  The world tells us to live a life of burn out and distraction but that is not God’s way. Martha and Mary show us that:

Luke 10:38-42: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the LORD’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “LORD, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the LORD answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The busy life is just another one of Satan schemes. Instead, if we all rested in Him a little more and found joy in Him and those we love, I believe we’d actually be living the life He meant for us.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10  (KJV)

Now it’s your turn to write a mission statement and to-do list letting the Lord lead! Then share below in the comments or email me how it’s helped you! I’d love to know.