The moment I stepped into the office this morning, I was overwhelmed by the mountain of tasks I needed to tackle: reports to write, forms to fill in and submit, sermons to write, prayer points to prepare, preparation for Sunday worship, people to minister to, appointments to keep and those unexpected things that popped up which needed to be taken care of. This will be a packed week and I am only at the beginning of the week.
As I reflect on my ministry, whenever I was overwhelmed and overworked, I remember that I had experienced the goodness of God. God had been there to guide me through an extremely busy week. And I am certain that He will guide me through this one.
Here are three basic steps to take when we are tired and overwhelmed in life:
1.Spend Time in Worship and Prayer
Throughout the years, I realized that if I do not start the day with God in worship (reading the Bible and prayers), then I would not have time for God until bed time. I would be spinning from one task to another and do everything without joy and love. I would be easily frustrated too.
Spending time seeking the Lord in the morning and asking Him for wisdom in time management and to do my tasks effectively give me the peace that He is with me. Time with God quiets my mind too. It is true that God is our refuge. We can come to Him regardless of what condition we are in and we can rest in Him.
2. Say “No”
When we are overwhelmed, one of the possible reasons is that we do not know how to say “no” to people or things especially if they take up more time than we can give. Someone once said that when we say “yes” to something, we are saying “no” to other things. When my friends asked for help, I was hesitant to say “no” although I had my own tasks to complete. As a result of saying “yes” to them, I had to say “no” to my own responsibilities. In the end, I had to sacrifice my sleep that night and burn midnight oil just so I could complete my own work on top of helping them. When we do not learn to say “no”, we will stretch ourselves too thin.
Being overwhelmed during most of our waking moments is not God’s plan for us. He wants us to enjoy Him, enjoy His creation and enjoy the people in our lives. If you look at your calendar, what appointments can you say “no” to? There will always be someone needing help or someone wanting to meet up. Everything can seem important. But let’s learn from Jesus. He did not spend all His time ministering and healing everyone who needed Him. Instead, He focused on what God had called Him to do. While it was still dark in the morning every day, Jesus would get up and would spend time in prayer. His time with God set the direction for His day and life. He only needed to respond to what God was calling Him to do. We don’t have to be everything for everyone. We only need to take a step back and see what are the things God has set for us to do.
After creating the universe in 6 days, God rested on the seventh day. Rest is a part of our natural make-up as created beings. God the Creator rested, so should we.
(I had written a post on self-care. Do take a look if you have not read it.) Take time to unplug. Take a break from our phones. Create time in your calendar to do something you enjoy: reading, watching a favourite TV show, playing with your pets, doing gardening, cooking, meeting a friend and so on. When we take care of ourselves, we will be more able to take care of the needs of our family as well as being more efficient in doing the tasks we need to do.
Our generation is busier and more stressed out compared to the previous generation. Don’t let our work overwhelmed us to the point of making us grumpy, tired and emotional. Take time to ask God for wisdom, plan our calendar wisely, say “no” when our plates are already full and remember to slot in pockets of time for us to relax and recharge.