What to Do When You’re Just Overwhelmed

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

If one more person asks me about centerpieces, I think I may stab myself with the cake knife!

How can one of the happiest days in a family’s life — something all of us have been looking forward to for years — turn into one of the most overwhelming events ever?

You see, overwhelm camouflages itself. Some days it appears in hard places: A health crisis. Not being able to pay the bills. A huge project at work that requires all your time and attention.

Other times, it sneaks in through the door of blessings: A new, unexpected addition to the family. A long-dreamed-about trip to see family. Or, in our case, one of our kids getting married.

When Amanda and Shaun announced their engagement, we were thrilled. We’d been praying for the right man to come into Amanda’s life, and Shaun was a welcome addition to the family.

But after the announcement came all the wedding plans. Who do we invite? Where will we hold the wedding? How will we pay for everything?

After the initial excitement, reality came crashing down on us. That’s when overwhelm kicked in. Dreams of seeing Amanda walking down the aisle were replaced with elaborate fantasies of bribing the kids to elope.

When I’m overwhelmed, my first instinct is to shut down. Then I fall back into familiar overwhelmed thinking patterns: I just need to work harder. Maybe I can rearrange my schedule to do some work on Sundays. Yes, that’s it … except my husband and I agreed that our Sundays would be a day for rest. But how else would these plans come together?

After stressing and stewing about how to make everything work, I finally remembered I was not in this alone. God is not surprised by the trials, or the blessings, coming my way.

When I start to feel the familiar weight of overwhelm press down, here’s what I eventually remind myself to do:

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Proverbs 31 Ministries, Kathi Lipp

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