Feeling overwhelmed? I can relate. We recently moved. Twice, actually. Once from Knoxville to a rental home in the greater Nashville area, and then again from the rental home to our permanent home in Franklin, about 10 weeks ago.
Moving is a bit overwhelming. By its very nature, moving is unsettling. Changing jobs and homes, dentists and doctors, grocery stores and gas stations, relational networks and daily routines can be both exciting and overwhelming.
This week, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Looking at the unpacked boxes in our garage in addition to my unfinished task list and un-answered personal emails and calls left me feeling a bit in-over-my-head.
So, where can someone start when feeling overwhelmed?
In an attempt to answer this question for myself, here’s what I’m doing:
1. Start with the gospel.
The gospel is good news for the overwhelmed. The gospel tells us that Jesus lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, and rose victoriously from the grave so that all overwhelmed sinners who put their trust in him can be forgiven of their sins and have the hope of eternal life. There is no better news than this!
When I remember the gospel, I remember Jesus’ perfect life. He always did what was pleasing to the Father (John 8:29). He perfectly fulfilled the law (Matt. 5:17), and he left no unfinished tasks. What is amazing is that everything Jesus did right, he did for me. In Christ, I have been credited with a perfect life (Gal. 2:20-21). I may be leaving a lot unfinished, but on my behalf Jesus has already said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
2. Start with gratitude
I have so much to be thankful for right now. No matter what’s happening in my life or what my reasons are for feeling overwhelmed, I can be thankful. Chiefly, I can thank God for the gift of eternal life. I can thank God for the forgiveness of my sins purchased by the death of his Son. I can thank God that I’m going to heaven and that this is something that does not change, regardless of my circumstances. No one can take from me what God has freely given.
Jesus told the disciples, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). True joy is not circumstantial (whether the spirits are subject to us, or we feel like we’re on top of everything and have it all together). True joy is found in Christ and in the knowledge that we are going to be with Christ for all eternity.
3. Start with grace
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32).
God has saved me. God is with me. God is for me. God will give me grace. These truths help to calm my soul when I am feeling overwhelmed.
When I am overwhelmed, it is typically because I have my eyes set on my tasks, my problems, and ultimately… myself. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Anytime my eyes shift from myself to my Savior, it’s a good thing. I will never find joy, happiness, comfort, peace, or hope when I am overwhelmed by looking within. It is in looking to Jesus that I find rest for my soul (Hebrews 12:2).
So, when we are overwhelmed, we can start with the gospel. We can start with gratitude for what God has already done for us in Christ, and we can start with grace. Then, we’ll have the hope and the energy to put one foot in front of the other and start to do the next thing.