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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

God's Grace for When You Feel Overwhelmed

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt


Have you felt overwhelmed lately? Most of us do at different times. When I was younger in life and in the Lord, I felt that way far too often. So did Renee. Back then, neither of us managed the stress of feeling overwhelmed well. We each handled it differently. Renee for the most part, internalized things. She would think too much about what was ahead and all that was on our plate. We had a lot and it could easily feel overwhelming yet she didn't let it show and always kept a great countenance before people. No one could see that inside she was working through great stress. Back then, she really didn't know how to deal stress and so she simply didn't. She just forged ahead nurturing our four small children and me, a husband that was out of town often, a squeaky tight budget and the responsibilities of ministry. Eventually the stress of all this caused her to manifest symptoms of sickness in a variety of ways. We did not know for the longest times that these symptoms of sickness were directly brought on by the stress.

When I got uptight and started to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, my temper got shorter. That certainly does not reduce stress. It increases it. That was a curse and something I had to absolutely deal with.

At that time, it didn't seem like there was much we could do about the things that were causing us to feel this way. We have always had very busy lives. We had four children that were involved in many activities from sports, to programs at church and school. Then we had all of the many responsibilities that ministry brings to one’s doorstep. And then we were lacking the maturity to say no to the pulls continually petitioning us to take on more. It wasn't uncommon for us to continue to take on more and more.

As you probably well know, that can't continue. Over the years, we got smarter and learned to pace ourselves. There are times in life to say yes and be stretched, and there are times to say no. Conscientiously good people always want to do more to help or be a blessing to people. Learning to say no almost feels like breaking an addiction. That is often followed by working through false guilt like you were a bad person for saying, I’m sorry but I can’t manage one more commitment in my life at this time. We learned to talk through and pray about what we gave ourselves over to rather than just instantly say yes. As we matured, we made better decisions and more effective commitments.

We also learned to get more sleep. Weariness magnifies emotions which can magnify stress and the complications that can come from it. It’s amazing what a good night sleep or nap can do to help rejuvenate you. Renee gets more sleep at night. I take more naps. It really helps.

Busyness is often the excuse for poor eating. Poor eating complicates and works against your physical well-being, thereby increasing your stress. And it doesn't help things by eating quickly on the fly to give you more time. If people are eating poorly, then you can almost be assured they are not giving themselves over to any kind of physical fitness routine—one of the better stress relievers there are.

One of two things the Lord has taught us that have helped us the most are these: First, we have learned not to look at everything that lies ahead. Look only at what we can handle without feeling overwhelmed. That is often just the day we are in. Some days are so busy that we take them on a half day or even just one activity or appointment at a time. God gives grace for everything one step at a time!

Secondly, God helps us manage the feeling of being overwhelmed and stressed out by giving place to that intimate time with Him in His Word and prayer. He instructed the children of Israel to become dependent daily on Him for manna. Manna is the Word of God—the promises of God’s word to each and every believer of Jesus Christ. God is in covenant with you. Your faith in His promises can supernaturally lift you above your daily cares and worries. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 

Don't let him overwhelm and devour you! Instead we are instructed to, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.”(1 Peter 5:7 NLT) God isn't telling us to bury our head in the sand concerning the issues or busy schedules that we face. He is telling us that He cares about them and that He is our Provider, our Helper, our Deliverer, our Wisdom, our Counselor, our Rock, and our Strong Tower. He’ll help us if we go daily to that place that reminds us of His love and help toward us. Time with the Lord and being reminded of His love and that He is with us is what brings that sense of peace and trust—like putting on a warm sweater on a cold day. Only God's promises can lift us above the cares of this world because of His Word and promises speaking louder to us than any momentary circumstance.

Psalm 61:2-3 (NLT) says, “From the ends of the earth, I will cry to you for help, for my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge, a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.”   We all have times of feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. Knowing, praying and speaking His promises over myself and others is the infusion of peace and confidence that gets my right back on track and helps me to be more than a conqueror in Christ.  I am feeling refreshed just thinking about this. His supernatural refreshing can be yours from being overwhelmed also. All of this is the grace of God that you need to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Instead, feel empowered and anointed in His grace!

In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt 

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