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Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on the short train to crazy town? Overwhelmed to the point that you are mentally ready to retreat to a corner and rock back and forth with your favorite blankie?
Hello, that’s me lately. We are in the process of adopting three kids (ages 3-7), plus going to Africa on a mission trip with our church this summer and my husband is in the process of a drastic schedule change with his company which has been difficult for everyone to adjust to. To top it all off, I have had a pretty severe case of laryngitis the past couple weeks and my voice still isn’t fully back to normal. Plus I am part of this amazing group of writers and they all seem so on the ball with their blogs and book writing and well, this girl is in total mental shutdown mode lately, feeling like I just don’t measure up.
What do you do when you are overwhelmed, stressed out and just emotionally exhausted because it feels like there are so many things to do and not near enough hours in the day?
I sort of feel like the answer we’re supposed to give as Christians is: “I pray, I read my Bible and I ask the Lord to help direct my path.” But seriously, let’s be real. How often do we actually do that?
Sure, sometimes we do. But more often than not, our time in God’s Word is often one of the first things to go in a season of overwhelming chaos. In fact, I feel like over the past several months my Bible reading has flown out the window.
I don’t even want to admit how much chocolate I have consumed over the past few months. Probably enough to feed a third world nation. Ha, you think I’m kidding! And the binge-watching of Netflix? I’m embarrassed because it’s been at an all-time high lately. Which is silly, because I seriously don’t have time to binge watch TV shows right now.
So what should we do when we’re stuck on the short train to crazy town?
Buy a bullet journal and get distracted for months with all the pretty things we can do with a planner to keep us on schedule? Scream at the top of our lungs in the car when we are stuck in traffic? Become anti-social because we are just too busy? Eat a ton of chocolate and then feel bad that our jeans are getting a little tight? Stop going to the gym, because who has time to take care of ourselves in this season of crazy? Binge watch TV shows on Netflix? Go buy bigger pants so we can keep eating said chocolate….um, yeah, just did that. Don’t you judge me.
I’ve tried all that. Trust me, it doesn’t seem to solve anything. In fact, it often seems to create more problems, doesn’t it? Especially the shopping for pants thing. (Ok, I brought them back to the store and took out an exercise video instead, but still!
5 Things To Practice In A Season Of Overwhelm
Be Honest & Evaluate
Admit you don’t have everything under control and are tackling too much. In fact, this is often one of the best things we can do to truly start taking control of our season of craziness. Evaluate how you use your time. Get a bullet journal or a day planner and keep track of what you are doing in a day and prioritize what truly matters. Does it matter as much that you clean the kitchen before the day is over, or that you get to spend an extra half hour with your kiddos before bedtime talking about their day?
Ask For Help
Why is it that when we tackle too much we often feel a sense of martyrdom with our obligations? It’s ok to admit you can’t do it all on your own. In fact, God places people in our lives to come alongside us in our time of need. So take the initiative and ask for help. From your kids, your hubby, your friends, even your neighbors if you need to. People love to be needed. And they don’t HAVE to say yes, so ditch the guilt and just ask already.
Say No & Let It Go!
Elsa had it right…let it go, let it go! It’s ok to say no and let it go! Ok, she didn’t technically say that. But I did. And I think I’m on to something. This is a tough area for me. I sometimes struggle with saying no. But a pastor friend of mine told me once that it’s really a good thing to say no. In fact, when we say no, it’s allowing an opportunity for someone else to say yes! So start practicing saying a firm NO. You can do it! Try it in the mirror and at the grocery store with a stranger or something if you need to. You’ll get better at it over time!
Practice Self Care & Stop Comparing
Why is it that when our plates are overflowing we often turn to a self-defeating attitude? We don’t go to the gym or eat as healthy as we should. Or we choose to ignore things we love, like painting our nails, reading a good book and going out for coffee with friends. We NEED these things to relax a little bit. So take time and paint your nails, schedule that coffee, get to the gym or get out for a nice walk and enjoy life. Stop feeling like you have to keep up with the Joneses. Let the Joneses do their thing and you just deal with whatever you and your family can handle in this season of life.
More Jesus. Less All The Other Stuff.
Ok, this is truly the biggest priority. It’s number 1 in my book. Even though it so often flies out the window in our crazy times, we truly need to be in God’s Word. We need to pray. We need to spend time with Jesus. I think of how John the Baptist said it in John 3: 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The reality is, the overwhelming nature of life isn’t going to go away. We can control some of the busyness, but when life gets overwhelming, we NEED to cling to Jesus and commit His Word into our hearts.
If we don’t have Jesus, how will we weather the storms of life?
I don’t have it all figured out yet. But I know that as we begin to parent three kids from the ages of 3-7 and continue with all the preparations for our trip to Africa this summer, we are going to need to learn to say no, prioritize time in God’s Word to keep our sanity and stay grounded in this upcoming season of craziness. And God has taught me over the years of struggling with infertility and other storms that when we put God first, the rest sort of works itself out eventually.