Can I be honest with you? Friend to friend?
I think most of our sense of overwhelm is just an undisciplined thought life.
Some of you might get your feathers ruffled at that. I’m not placing blame on the individual. I’m simply suggesting that we are not helpless.
When I was in the most difficult season of anxiety, one verse changed my life.
That verse is 2 Corinthians 10:5.
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
This verse was life-changing because it taught me, that only Jesus should have authority over my thoughts. In my experience, every major anxiety attack I’ve had began with one rouge thought.
That negative thought would expand and spiral until I physically lost control of my mind. The game-changer was learning to take my thoughts captive. By submitting my thought life to Christ, I began to overcome feelings of overwhelm.
FOUR WAYS TO OVERCOME OVERWHELM
SILENCE THE VOICES
We destroy every argument and lofty option raised against the knowledge of God.”
If you are fighting a sense of overwhelm, the last thing you need is to overfill your mind. When trying to gain control over your thoughts, sometimes the best thing you can do is silence all the voices. Yes, that means Google, social media and even TV. They feed the frenzy.
At one point, I took a 5-month break from social media so that I could focus on the only voice that matters. The voice of my shepherd. I cannot recommend this enough. Fill your mind with voices that echo His.
Christian podcasts and worship music are a great place to start. Read books that encourage your walk with Christ. Talk with Godly friends and mentors. Most importantly, break open the Word of God.
OBSERVE A SABBATH
Along the same vein of thought as silencing voices, overwhelm can lead us to overwork ourselves. We fill our lives with busyness in an attempt to “stay on top of things”. I often feel if I rest, everything will fall apart.
Sometimes, the need to be busy is a tactic of avoidance. It is easier to stay busy and distract our minds than to do the hard work of disciplining them. We choose to crowd our lives with obligations so that we do not have to be intentional about the areas that overwhelm us. This only leads to more overwhelmed.
Observing an intentional Sabbath rest is a gift, as well as a commandment. It allows God to rejuvenate our heart, soul, and mind. Rest is God’s design. It quells the chaos and allows us to lead abundant lives. You need to be still. Your mind will thank you.
MAKE A LIST
One of the best things I’ve learned to do is to make a list. When I’m feeling overwhelmed sit down and write it out.
Write down everything that is taxing your mind in one big list. Pray, asking God to reveal to you what is a need or want? What is within your power to change and what is not? What should you work to change and what should you leave alone for God to handle?
Separate the list based on these categories. The things that you can work on should become your priority. Again, prayerfully asking God to give you direction on how to proceed.
What is beyond your control must be placed in God’s hands. I know that is easier said than done.
Giving God control isn’t being dismissive of our issues. It is often a moment by moment choice to trust. When you begin to feel overwhelmed by something you can’t change, immediately pray or use scripture to remind your soul of the truth.
The truth is that God is always working for the good of those who love him. He is good at His job. Now let Him do it.
REPLACE THE LIES
If you find a lot of your overwhelm centers around negative thoughts, you are dealing with a lie pattern.
The anxiety I battle usually centers around my motherhood. I have intrusive thoughts that I’m a bad mother. I dwell on the mistakes I’ve made.
How do we take our thoughts captive and rebuke lies? With the Word of God. (If you are doing #1 you’re on the right path.)
The best way to combat negative thinking, or a lie pattern, is to formulate an intentional attack.
We replace lies with the truth found in God’s Word. In the past, I’ve put post-it notes up around my house with specific scripture. I’ve also used a spiral-bound book of notecards, containing each lie I’m facing and an opposing scripture.
The point is…. if you want to overcome you’ve got to be willing to put up a fight.
Overwhelm is Serious Business
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m also selfish. I tend to internalize and isolate, preventing me from doing the good works God has planned for me.
Those good works include mothering my children well, serving alongside my church family, and seeing a lost world in need of hope.
Overwhelm blinds me to life outside my mind.
Feeling overwhelmed has become a normal part of human life. But it is not how we were intended to live. We were created to live at peace within ourselves because we are at peace with God.
Our enemy wants us to be tired, despondent, overwhelmed people. He wants us to live defeated lives. I believe that feeling overwhelmed is often a type of spiritual bondage. And we’ve come to believe it is ok.
I don’t want to live an overwhelmed life. I’d be willing to bet you don’t either, friend.
And guess what? We don’t have to.
Taking our thoughts captive gives us the ability to overcome overwhelm.
That’s such good news, isn’t it? I hope these four tips start you on your journey of overcoming and living victoriously in Christ.