After lying still for about 20 minutes with a bit of angst in my chest, I realized I’d checked my phone twelve times and the things I kept adding to my post-it notes weren’t getting closer to getting done; so not really “lying still”.
I get overwhelmed.
Not easily, but it does happen.
And I’ve felt badly about that, badly about hearing that about myself. Embarrassed even.
Then today, I realized the shame was piling on. That I was not only overwhelmed, but trying to hide from it (which also means I was trying to hide it from others).
The dark cloud that comes with being overwhelmed brings me closer to a bout of depression. It makes me sink into a pool of doubt and insecurity and then inevitably it inactivates me and makes me want to quit doing everything.
Do you have this in your world?
There are the things you have to do (laundry, cook, clean, pay bills), the work related things (which are great and diverse from week to week) and then there are the things that I could do, want to do, long to do, believe I’m called to do.
Things that I don’t have a lot of experience or success with.
Things I want people to cheer me on to do and complete but can be too afraid to ask.
Things I believe could help others live more fully and freely if they see me doing so.
Things that require more time in relationships than on activities.
I am overwhelmed.
The iPad is binge showing – trying to make this a thing – me the Hallmark show, When Calls the Heart (the first four seasons). While I so appreciate watching a show that is rated-G, it is so emotional as they have revealed that a lead character – with the show since the beginning – will die (or maybe he already did, I’m only on season 4). I probably shouldn’t be watching it though, with Memorial Day coming up – even though it’s been almost 13 years since the combat related death of my first husband – I am all kinds of emotional goo.
Then there is my last load of laundry that is an attempt to take at least A step toward productivity. We have days assigned for folks to use the washer and dryer here at home. Though the load is not a lot, it’s been sitting there for a bit waiting to be put away.
The coffee from a lovely coffee shop where a bold, sister in Christ is finishing her last couple of days working there before moving to a whole new state, finally pursuing a long-time desire of hers. I went in to visit with her, to say “until we meet again” and started asking her a few questions and realized that in sharing her experience, she was talking to me about some of the things that I’m preparing to step into. Overwhelmed because she went directly to addressing the very things that are freezing me in my spot – fear (of rejection, failure, judgment) and insecurity (worrying about “what if” more than trusting in the planter of these good things).
The book is another book to read. My self-imposed reading challenge is going well, so well that I’m already praying about what the next 365 days of reading will bring once this challenge is complete. But, when I read – I ALWAYS think I should be doing something else. Calling someone, praying for someone, putting away my laundry…
There is a monthly calendar that is filled with thoughts, tasks, anniversaries, plans, dreams, hopes, things I want to do for others (review the beta version of their first novel, write letters of recommendation for medical school, start a committee for an organization that develops young women, write letters to strangers in need of encouragement). I write them here in boxes planning to make them happen, but the pages fill up quickly. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, because even with all of it, it can still fell like it’s not enough.
My journal where I write quotes from wise friends or people I am fascinated by (even if I don’t agree with their outlook on the world). Where I process the things happening in my soul, the things I dislike about myself and more often the things I’m starting to admit I enjoy and respect about myself. It’s where I question, question, question. It’s great to have a place to put those thoughts, but a lot of the times – most times – the questions go unanswered or take longer than I’d like God to take to answer them for me; I hate to admit it but this often therapeutic output is causes me to feel overwhelmed.
Post-it notes, lists, magazine subscription cards (which can be overwhelming because when do I have time to read magazines). So many good things. Not bad at all. But, why am I so overwhelmed?
My palms are sweaty as I type this post.
I believe I get overwhelmed because I’m still struggling with my identity.
I forget that I am not defined by the stuff or people that I can influence.
I forget that if I don’t do any of it or even if I do all of it – beautifully, perfectly, on-time or early – it does not change who I am. It won’t change or disrupt the way God sees me. And quite simply, I think that is the issue. Rather than put the love of God for me at the top of all of the piles, the tasks, the requests, the things I want to do, I struggle with worry about what people will think.
I hate it.
I absolutely hate this about myself.
But, I’m a work in progress. And I don’t think I’m all alone.
As I venture out of overwhelmed into claiming God’s peace (my one little word for this year) and walking it out, living it – I will be stepping into even more responsibility. Much of it not even yet realized. But it fires me up. I am the healthiest I’ve been in decades and emotionally, mentally and physically able to take on more – married to a man that is so supportive, I walk in his celebration parade of me daily – it matters how I do it.
And overwhelmed is not how I want to do this.
It’s not how I want to build relationships. It’s not how I want to be married. Not how I want to build my business or read books or tackle the lists or the step into the many opportunities that I get to contemplate stepping into.
God has been whispering to me for some time now. And He continues to prove Himself trustworthy sending me a small tribe of wonderful people who are helping me oust living overwhelmed. I find some of them in our small group, my business leader, the women who are more seasoned at taking risks, the women bold enough to step into the unknown faithfully later in life, women who will speak scripture over me as I wiggle away from the calling to do remarkable things for Him…
I’m ousting living overwhelmed y’all.
Even through sweaty finger tips and a racing heart – one step, task, act of faith at a time; trusting God to guide me.
Off to put that laundry away and read a few chapters in this next book!