Do you ever feel overwhelmed? The weight of life, relationships, obligations bear down on you, weakening you. Me too, friend. Sometimes we get overloaded by little things compiled over time, sometimes it’s one big thing like a diagnosis, losing a loved one, losing a job, or perhaps a child gone astray. Whether it be financial, physical, spiritual, or relational, big or small; we all get overwhelmed. I spend more moments overwhelmed than I like to admit to you. But one week, while preparing for a meeting with an overwhelmed friend, God showed me something that I want to share with you.
Years back I was tired of being overwhelmed so I’ve taken steps to help from becoming overwhelmed in the first place, but there are still things that are often out of my control that will creep in and overwhelm me. I think the first thing that’s important to know is this; control the things you can control. In my case, I know if I am busy going every single day; I get overwhelmed and a smidge cranky. Obviously there are times I can’t control this, other times I can. Because I know this overwhelms me, I set aside one day a week and cram as much as possible into this one day. I’d rather have one day of madness than seven busy days. This allows me to breathe, recover, and fix my focus on areas that are super important to me.
At one point, Dustin and I realized we had not been on a date night all year. What!? I know! It wasn’t intentional; we have had a busy year and didn’t make this a priority. I noticed I was missing him, although I see him every day. When we realized we had neglected this very important thing, we immediately headed out on a date night to dinner and the lake for a sunset kayak extravaganza. It wasn’t fancy, but it was something we love and needed for our relationship. It’s something we can do to help from feeling overwhelmed in our relationship and family life.
There are things you can control, like how you plan your calendar, how you prioritize your time. But what about the things you can’t control? What about the days everything happens at once and all you can do is sit and cry? How do we keep from being overwhelmed? The former shepherd boy but not yet king, David, shows us the way.
“I cry aloud to the Lord;
I plead aloud to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him;
I reveal my trouble to him.
Although my spirit is weak within me,
you know my way.” — Psalms 142:1-3 (CSB)
David wrote Psalm 142 while holed up in a cave. We aren’t sure which cave, whether Adullam or En Gedi. Either way, Saul’s attempt to track him down and kill him overwhelmed David. This makes some of our issues seem petty, doesn’t it? So here is David, in a cave, wondering if this could be the end of his life, overwhelmed with fear, feeling rejected and abandoned, I’m sure, and he’s crying out to the Lord. Notice how he cried out. Scripture says he cried aloud, he pleaded, and poured out before the Lord. David didn’t approach the Lord half-hearted. He meant business. David knew he faced something out of his control. He didn’t have what it took to defeat Saul on his own. Take notice of what he says in verse 3 and really get this. Let this sink deep into your overwhelmed heart today.
David, in his weakness of spirit, says to the Lord, “you know my way.”
Lord, although I am weak in spirit, I know you know my way. I trust you, Jesus. I can’t control what’s happening to me or around me, but I know you know my way and I can trust you.
And later we see David, overwhelmed again by his circumstances. This time the Amalekites had attacked at Ziklag and taken David and his men’s wives and children. David’s men, broken and angry, threatened to stone David. This guy can’t get a break.
Sounds a lot like our life, doesn’t it? When it rains, it pours. But pay attention to how David responds to being overwhelmed.
“David was in an extremely difficult position because the troops talked about stoning him, for they were all very bitter over the loss of their sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God.” — 1 Samuel 30:6 (CSB)
David found strength in what? The Lord! I’m seeing a pattern here and this is what the Lord wants you to grab hold of today. When overwhelmed by what’s going on in your life, in your world, overwhelm yourself with Jesus. When we can not control our circumstances, our issues, our shortcomings, our diagnosis, our addiction, our financial situation, we must overwhelm ourselves with Jesus. He is the satisfier of our souls and He can move us from overwhelmed to overjoyed. He can move us to a place of peace despite the problem. Fear and anxiety will never lead to a place of peace and joy, but Jesus can. Seek Him in prayer, read the Word, worship, and watch as fear, doubt, anxiety, and depression fade away.
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I call unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For thou hast been a refuge for me, A strong tower from the enemy.
I will dwell in thy tabernacle for ever: I will take refuge in the covert of thy wings. [Selah]” — Psalm 61:1-4 (ASV)
Cassie Downs, formerly of the Ellsinore area, is a speaker and the author of Chasing Jesus. Connect with her online at cassiedowns.com. Her book is available online where most books are sold.