I think many people have a tendency to stop trying when they get overwhelmed. It’s easier sometimes to do nothing at all, than to tackle a big project. Or sometimes we choose to avoid what overwhelms us by filling our time with other things. I frequently coach my children through huge piles of laundry, scattered toy messes, and “too many” math problems. “How do we accomplish this?”, I often say, holding up a sock or lonely lego, “One piece at a time.” The kids have heard me say it enough that they usually say, “One piece at a time” with me, albeit in a despondent tone. Yet, it’s easy for me to tell someone else how to handle their “too much”, and something else entirely to listen to my own advice.
Overwhelmed. That’s how I’ve been since the beginning of the year. So many unexpected plot twists. So many conflicting emotions and desires. So many crash-course faith lessons that have left me humbled, grateful, and yet still overwhelmed.
When sitting down to write about all the things I’ve been learning this year, even that process seems overwhelming. Perhaps that’s the reason it’s taken me so long to even attempt to write. Or perhaps I’ve just been so busy learning that I haven’t had the capacity to formulate the lessons into understandable and relatable essays. It’s probably a bit of both!
The first lesson of this year actually began last fall. I like to choose a word for the year; something to inspire spiritual and personal growth. Last fall it was strong on my heart to choose “today” as my 2021 word. I really felt like I needed to learn faith lessons on what it’s like to live each day, instead of always having a plan that stretches into the future. Little did I realize, but God was being gracious in preparing my heart for all the tasks I would have to navigate this year. He knew that if I didn’t have a mindset of “today”, then I would be far from thriving at this point. I can also look back and see how He has been preparing me for years, in order to get me to a place where I can actually handle “today”.
The demands on my time, energy, and emotions have been greater than I would have liked. There are so many different directions I’m pulled, that I am forced daily to refocus and choose priorities. “Lord, what would you have me do TODAY?”, has been my constant prayer. Sometimes even broken down into “this hour”, or “this tiny pocket of time”.
Now, I don’t want to lead you into believing that I have been learning this whole “today” lesson perfectly. Far from it! I have been very tempted to be anxious about certain things, or focus on my priorities instead of God’s. I have wasted time and energy that should have been spent elsewhere. I have tried to find my own solutions, instead of waiting for God to provide. I have tried to move forward in my timing instead of His. However, I am learning! And the hope and faith I have now, is greater than what I had before.
I am still overwhelmed. And honestly, I’m allowed to be. You are too! But while I am overwhelmed by my circumstances, I am also learning to be overwhelmed by God’s goodness. I am overwhelmed by His attention to detail in my life. I am overwhelmed by His mercy in the midst of my foolishness. I am overwhelmed by His faithfulness, even when I dishonor Him with my doubts. And most of all, I am learning that a God as overwhelming as ours cannot possibly be overwhelmed by my burdens. They are so small compared to His power and might!
I encourage you, dear Friend, to let God overwhelm your circumstances. Though you are surrounded by problems, His presence is big enough to swallow them up by comparison. I pray that both you and I are overwhelmed by His faithfulness in our lives today.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” –Psalm 46:1-2