Are you overwhelmed? Many of us are at this very moment. Donna Fagerstrom offers help to lift us up.
From Overwhelmed to Lifted Up
By Donna Fagerstrom
A year ago, an unfamiliar and unwanted worldwide virus arrived in our lives. I felt overwhelmed to say the least. Life was suddenly different with no warning. It seemed like everything in every day was magnified as I was unwillingly ushered into a frightening world fighting an unknown enemy.
This "new normal" meant my husband was home, not at his office. I had to be quiet for his Zoom meetings and tried to remember how to make lunch. I never made lunch just for me. My peace, my solitude, my routine was gone. The weeks dragged into months and now it’s been a year. Overwhelmed? Just a bit.
Scores of personal contacts were now socially distant. I listened to their "new normal." Many friends were struggling far worse than I. Before long, I found myself feeling overwhelmed for them. I felt powerless in knowing how to be of help.
To make matters worse, I live in Texas and recently we were overwhelmed by the worst weather since 1949.
Overwhelmed! These eleven letters make a big word. Somedays, it is too big. Just the sound of this word is overwhelming.
What is overwhelming you? Is it different than yesterday?
In my new quiet place, I realized I could pray and write.
I prayed through my powerless feelings. I prayed for my husband as he was overwhelmed with his unexpected days. I prayed for our friends, family and our beloved daughter who was overwhelmed with instant in-home schooling with her first-year kindergartener and preschooler. I realized there would come a time when I could be with my friends, but for now I could pray. I knew I could later assist my daughter in her home, today I could write and call her.
As my prayer list grew, so did my stack of cards. I was able to write to everyone on my prayer list, every two weeks. Still overwhelmed? Yes. But dealing with it and doing what I could do. What was dragging me down is now lifting-up others, and me too.
Nikki Rowe says, "You’re an overcomer and more than a conqueror. Stay strong. Life is tough and so are you. No one knows what you have been through or what your pretty little eyes have seen, but I can reassure you - whatever you have conquered, it shines through you."
I have discovered some other simple and practical things to do to reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Time-Out: Even adults need a time-out to create distance from stress and anxiety. Take an emotional time-out.
Exercise: Release stress and get all circuits physically working at their prime.
Music: Listen to music to help relieve anxiety and refuel.
Breathe: Calm a racing heart and mind with deep breaths - to think more clearly and feel a little better.
Thankfulness: Acknowledge points of gratitude and receive the physical benefit of a calmer spirit. Something as simple as writing down the good things gives the ability to tackle one more thing.
We are reminded in Isaiah of God’s strength that can lift us up even when we are overwhelmed. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
God is not overwhelmed. He promises to renew and revive you in your mountain of laundry, kids, family, friends, finances, health concerns and more. Jesus can give us hope in our weary situations.
God, it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed. Help me to know how to be kind and gentle with myself when I am feeling swamped. Please give me physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal so I find and feel your strength, overwhelmed by your love. Amen
Donna Fagerstrom has spent a life of ministry in music, worship and discipleship - serving for over 40 years, mostly in pastoral ministries. Her most recent book is Lifted: Encouragement in Hard Times. She is also the author of Every Mourning, which is designed to encourage and provide hope and help through each day of grief (also available in Spanish). In addition, she has contributed devotionals to numerous books. Her family, friends and prayer are the loves of her life.