Oh my word, I just feel so overwhelmed. I can’t believe I have to do this much stuff. I should probably drop out of college right now. I’ll never make it! How will I be able to do everything?
This is one of my panicky thought processes when I feel overwhelmed. What I don’t remember during stress is that I felt (and will feel) the exact same way last week, last month, and next week. I felt overwhelmed last week when I had a statistics test, a finance exam, and a research paper due. I felt overwhelmed last month when I had a music project, a literature essay, and a marketing exam. And I’ll feel this way next week when I have a marketing project, composition piece, and spreadsheet exercise.
Feeling overwhelmed is simply a part of life. I’m always going to feel overwhelmed, and so are you.
In five years, I may feel overwhelmed by a new job and new co-workers. In ten years, I may feel overwhelmed by a new home and a new husband. In fifteen years, I may feel overwhelmed by new kids and a new pet. In fifty years, I may feel overwhelmed by a new retirement and new health issues.
Feeling overwhelmed doesn’t end when you graduate from high school or college. It doesn’t end when you find a career. It doesn’t end when you get married or have kids. And it doesn’t end when you settle down and retire.
What is stressing you out right now? Is it your school, job, or home? Is it a health issue, financial issue, or church issue? Is it a strained relationship with God, your family, or your friends?
It’s true that you’re probably always going to be overwhelmed by something. But we all have stress, and the world isn’t as awful as it seems in the midst of it. Friend, you can learn to deal with stressful life seasons and situations.
Here’s a few ways you can do that:
- Remember everyone feels overwhelmed. You’re not weird, emotional, or mentally ill. You’re human, and so is everyone else. People might not talk about current stressors, but everyone has them. You’re going to have stress, no matter what your gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, or income is. No one is exempt from it.
- Trust God will provide. One of my favorite verses for when I feel overwhelmed is Philippians 4:19, which says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (NASB). I may not have everything I want—like a stress-free afternoon, two hours to watch Hulu, or a fun activity for every week night—but I do have everything I need. God will give you everything you need to get through your stressful situations.
- Stop to pray. Always. No matter how defeated and discouraged you feel, set aside time to do this. Prayer is much more important than whatever I’m trying to accomplish. Even if you have a school or work deadline, pray. Even if you have an appointment or meeting, pray. Even if you can barely breathe because you’re so busy, pray. You don’t have to pray a certain way or at a certain time; just keep doing it.
- Take time to be still. You may not have oodles of time to be still during finals week, the day before your pregnancy due date, or the week your family is visiting from out-of-town. Your schedule might be jam-packed for a while. But, when you can, turn off your phone, go somewhere alone, and sit in the silence. Pray, read God’s Word, meditate on His promises, enjoy His creation, or just sit. Relax. Rest. This isn’t a time for scrolling through Pinterest, watching Netflix, or reading a novel. This is a time for you to focus on your relationship with God and destress.
- Enjoy the less stressful seasons of life. It may be hard to believe right now, but not every day of your life will be overwhelmingly stressful. Yes, most of them will involve some level of stress; but not all stress is the same. Today, your craziest moment might be having to choose between a new career in another country or a new career down the street. Next week, your craziest moment might be having to choose between making chicken pot pie or lasagna for dinner. Thank God for the less overwhelming seasons and enjoy them. Spend them well because they won’t last forever.
I know it may be difficult to imagine a time when you don’t feel crazy busy, overwhelmed and exhausted. But that time will come. As Christians, we can rely on the fact that we will be free from those unpleasant emotions in heaven. There will be no busyness, overwhelming feelings, or weariness. There will be peace and rest for eternity.
For now, don’t feel discouraged or become hopeless when life becomes stressful. There are ways to help manage your stress (as I discussed above). On this earth, we’ll always have to face stress in one form or another. We must simply look forward the next life when life will be peaceful and hold onto the One who is our peace right now.
Image credit: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321450.php