My son asked me about some upcoming dates so we could coordinate our calendars. After adding his events to my calendar, I was suddenly overcome by a sense of anxiety, feeling overwhelmed about the upcoming month. The number of responsibilities seemed staggering, and I felt almost paralyzed with fear.
Later that day I pulled out my journal and started scribbling questions, to bring myself back to reality. I knew that all of these events were going to happen and everything was going to get done, so there was no point in spoiling the time until then with stress and despair.
Maybe the five questions will help you, too.
1) What makes me feel more organized and on top of things?
My list included:
House visually neat (no piles of clutter because they are an emotional drain)
Simple meals planned and groceries bought
Get up early
Self care: exercise, dressed, makeup early in the day
Start day with Bible/journaling
Do things ahead, not last-minute
2) What are some things I could delegate/hire?
My answers mostly had to do with business, but I’m not above paying older children to declutter a younger sibling’s bedroom or do some other extra cleaning project
3) How could I batch some tasks?
Again, these answers were mostly business like outlining blog articles and writing several first paragraphs, but this could include doubling a recipe and freezing half, browning five pounds of hamburger or running all the errands in one afternoon.
4) What lies am I believing?
This could be things like:
I need to drop everything to respond to text messages and Facebook messages.
I am not enough.
God is not enough.
I can’t do this.
I’m bad for feeling this way.
I’m just not good at __________.
5) What’s the truth?
I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
When I feel bad about myself, I’m making myself (rather than the greatness of God) the center of attention.
The important stuff will get done. I can either spoil today by dreading and fretting or I can remain calm and make a plan.
All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances]. ~ Proverbs 15:15, Amplified Bible
Despond means to be depressed by a loss of hope, confidence or courage, to become dejected and lose confidence and to become disheartened or discouraged. And where does all that start? With believing lies and thinking the thoughts that go with them. Step back and recognize the lies, and you’re on your way to a continual feast.
If you find yourself in the clutches of overwhelm, sit down with pen and paper. Move through these questions and write your honest answers.
Don’t let despond keep you trapped in lies. Please don’t waste your life on dread and worry over all you have to do.
Somewhere in the world, there is probably someone who would love to trade places with you.
Use these questions as a tool to get you thinking straight and making practical plans. Start small. After realizing that neat surroundings were mentally freeing to me, I started with one room, my bedroom. The results motivated me to work through other areas, a little each day.
Don’t be paralyzed by overwhelm. Sometimes we’re afraid if we write it all down we’ll get even more overwhelmed. But writing it down helps us classify and sort and often find out it isn’t as bad as we think.
Ask yourself these five questions—or any other questions that pop up to help you—and you’ll find that the truth sets you free. Stepping back to evaluate your thought process is sometimes all you need to get new perspective. Talk it through with your spouse or friend if that helps. Use the five questions as a tool to get you moving….beyond overwhelm.
What other questions could you ask of yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed?