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3 Steps When You are Overwhelmed
Life happens. What do you do when it’s not what you were expecting? If God is loving, how come He allows (seemingly) random tradgedies in our lives? When we are in serious pain, it is easy to push a (seemingly) passive God further away. Sometimes it even feels God is aggressively destroying us. How does God stand idlely by? Should our goal be to rid ourselves of pain? What other thing do you instinctually grab for even when the “right answer” is before you? These questions can be summarized down to one other question. Who (or what) do you really trust in? We know the Bible says God is trustworthy. Often God doesn’t feel trustworthy. What can you do when you feel overwhelmed?
Endure. Be still. Refocus. We can accept hardship as discipline. Can we? Does it work? What happens when we are already not trusting God, and something (else) terrible happens? God has “rejected us”, so we want to reject Him! Maybe that is good. Because, the God we are angry at is not the true God. We should reject the false God and look to the true God. We can accept hardship in our lives. The trick is to see it in the right light. Most of the time we see hardship as negative – an indication that God has removed His love from us. But Hebrews 12:5-11 turns this around. Hardship proves we are legitimately God’s child.
Fear or Faith
When we are overwhelmed, it leaves the door open for fear. In the midst of feeling overwhelmed, check in with yourself. How high is your fear level? Are you a conduit of fear or faith? Fear has a way of disrupting life and making matters much worse than they are (pretty much true of any kind of darkness). The Bible says perfect love casts out fear. Each day, find some way to open the door to God’s love.
Cast your Anxiety
We can open ourselves by casting our anxiety on God. God knows we suffer, because He suffered too. There is no better way to suffer than to suffer in the presence of God. With our faith, we trust again that God will hear. We pour out our feelings to God, so God can fill us with good things – perfect love. This is not an easy process. Grieving never is. But it is on the path to healing.
- Is it easier to endure hardship when you know (you really feel) you are God’s child?
- When you are overwhelmed, pay attention to how much you responding in fear or in faith. Are you surprised? How much is pure fear?
- How do you feel about pouring out your anxiety in faith?
- Jesus, help us turn to you when our circumstances do not make sense. Teach us to trust. Amen.
… Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. …
1 John 4:18
18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 Peter 5:6-11
… Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. … And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.