I am an extremely active person! I almost always have multiple irons in the fire and I am often working on two to three things at the same time. I start early in the morning and continue late into the night. If I were to begin listing for you all of the things that I do in a typical day, it would make your head spin. Add to all of this the surprises that being in ministry is guaranteed to bring across your plate.
People who know me and what I do, have often commented to me that they don’t know how I do it all and manage to keep a smile on my face most of the time. The truth is: On most days, I will find myself feeling overwhelmed and I can tell you from my own personal experience that this is not a good feeling, but I have made a discovery that might just help you, if you ever face this feeling of taking on too much!
All of the stuff that I have committed to is not the problem. My full schedule and lack of time to get it all done is not the problem. Other people asking me to do something else is not the problem. The problem is the feeling of despair, frustration and helplessness that flows out of feeling overwhelmed.
When I feel overwhelmed, it throws everything off. My attitude gets warped, my relationships get tense, my focus gets divided, my energy gets sapped and my fire to make life better gets doused with a big ole bucket of doubt, frustration and negativity! My real problem is not all that I have to do, but my letting all that I have to do – overwhelm me!
Do we just have to live with this feeling? Do we have to let it rob us of the joy of being involved in things that we really love being involved in? Do we just have to lock ourselves in our rooms, turn up the music and shout “No! No! No! No!”?
Is there anything that we can do about this feeling of being overwhelmed? Anyway to turn this bad thing around, so that it can be used for good? You bet there is! Below you find seven steps that I take to help myself out of the darkness of despair and into the bright light of hope!
1.) Step Back! When I begin to feel overwhelmed, I have to take a step back and out of what ever it is that is overwhelming me. This step back allows me to get real with myself about what I have to do and how I am going to do it! Sometimes I take a step back by going outside and walking around. Sometimes I take a step back by kneeling and taking some time to pray. Sometimes I take a step back by calling a very trusted friend. Sometimes I take a step back by doing all three, but every time that I take the step back – it make a big difference!
2.) List Everything! Take out a pen and paper and list everything that you have to do! Get it out in front of you, so that you can see it and begin to think about the best way to get it accomplished. I have discovered many times in this process that I make a lot of things much bigger in my mind. Putting it on paper allows me to see it as it really is and helps me to begin to put together the strategy for accomplishment, success and victory – which builds momentum and excitement!
3.) Seek God’s Help! We often leave this out all together. You do not have to do life alone. God created you and gave you the abilities, talents and skills that you have and He wants to help you use them for His glory and everyone’s blessing. If you are living for and loving Him, then He will not allow you to have more than you can handle and He will help you to handle what you do have in an amazing way!
4.) Make A Plan! What do you need to do? Who do you need to talk to and who can help you? When does it have to be done and when will you do what steps? Why does it matter? Where are you going from here? How will you do this? Answer these questions a an action plan will begin to develop!
5.) Work It! Now that you have your plan, you just have to start working it! You can do this! You were born for this! Get this stuff done and realize that at the end of it all, you and others are going to be better for it! There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment breeds the desire for greater accomplishment, which opens the door for greater successes, sweeter victories and shared blessings!
6.) Learn & Grow! Life is about learning and growing and when you stop learning and growing, you start dying! Whatever you are facing and having to work on and through right now, has the purpose of teaching you and growing you, so that you can be a better you!
7.) Enjoy! Most of the things that we commit to, we would not commit to, if we did not think that we were going to enjoy them. So don’t miss the enjoyment because you allow yourself to get distracted by overwhelming feelings of challenge. Enjoy the journey – it really is an amazing thing!
I hope this helps you as you face and overcome the frustrations of being overwhelmed! G3!