I do feel overwhelmed by it all sometimes. Today, I was thinking about the circumstances that seem to surround this feeling. Some of them include:
1. Saying “yes” to too many things, which seem to have little meaning or value. I find that when I am in the middle of things that have little or no connection to my work or my gifts that I often feel overwhelmed and exhausted instead of energized. I recall sitting in a long meeting of some kind a few years ago thinking, “This thing is exhausting me! Why am I here?” It had little or no affect upon my life or work.
2. Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed when my life and work seem to have lost any sense of priority. In other words, there is a “to do” list in some form, but there is no priority to the list. Consequently, it is easy to eat up a lot of time doing things that just don’t matter and then feeling exhausted at the end of the day. Been there!
3. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when I am taking in too much bad news. I feel this way when I am around too many people who are negative and complaining. I feel this way if I watch too much news and read too many stories about who did what to whom. The other day, I was in my car listening to the news on the radio. They began telling some story about some scandal. It hit me, “Why am I listening to this?” I turned it off.
4. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by trying to make life happen? Maybe you have a certain vision of the way things ought to be. Perhaps you are really focused on moving or getting a new car. You put a tremendous amount of pressure on yourself trying to get in place. I was so convicted many years ago, when Charlotte asked me, “When are we (a soft way of saying me) going to enjoy life?” She saw me so focused on the future and wanting this and that. Consequently, I was missing the moment.
5. I sometimes feel overwhelmed when I find myself trying to change people. I know–God is the one who does that, through the Gospel. Yet, I find that I sometimes think that I can do it. “Surely if I did the right thing, this person would finally be happy.” I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to make unhappy people, happy. I am convinced at this point in my life that there are people who actually find great pleasure in their unhappiness. (I know–not all, but there are some people like that).
6. This one is a cousin to the above. Control freaks are easily overwhelmed. Why? They seem to think that if they can just control every detail regarding a situation, that it will turn out well in the end. Consequently, they hover over everyone involved. They are often fearful, anxious, nervous, and then wonder why the people around them tend to have very little joy.
7. I really don’t want to oversimplify this, but I think that I am sometimes overwhelmed because I just don’t trust God with my life (much less my “issues”) It is so much easier to try to manage God than to simply give it up to him.