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How to Survive Overwhelm

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I sank into my couch, and like a lazy sloth, I moved only when necessary while I thought about my work for the day.

Perhaps, if I ignore my “to do” list on my desk, and the colorful sticky notes that frame my computer screen, I’ll have a better day. But, right now, I need a cup of tea with gluten-free toast, covered with almond butter, and topped with banana slices. 

I sipped my tea and tried to focus on the Lord for needed prayer. A pile of laundry came to mind, and I remembered my poor husband had to buy new underwear to pack for his business trip. The “whites” were still in the laundry basket.

Then, I spotted the dust bunnies. Somehow, they looked smaller last night, but this morning the same bunnies turned into overgrown storybook hares—scary.    

Lord, help me cut through the noise in my head, and help me find a way back to your peace.

In the quiet of the morning, God reminded me of the apostle Peter—again. Lately, I’ve felt akin to Peter—his temper, his stubbornness, and his doubt. God began to speak to me within the cavity of my heart, Spirit to spirit.

What did Peter do? The Lord asked me.

I knew God was referring to Peter’s walk on the water. He cried out to you, Lord.

Did I respond? He continued.

Yes, you pulled him up out of the water, but you also mentioned his lack of faith.

Weak faith doesn’t become mature faith without testing, He responded. Moses, John, Jonah, Thomas, Peter, and others sometimes struggled with doubt, but their faith grew. Go catch-up.

Go catch-up? Was that You or me? Are you talking to me, or am I just imagining Your voice?

It was too simple. But there wasn’t any condemnation or guilt (unlike the self-loathing mood I had befriended that morning). I found solace and enough faith in my heart to take the next step. “Thank you, Jesus.”  

Lysa TerKeurst and Marisa ShadrickI decided to catch up and tackle three-month of uncompleted assignments from an online writing course, Compel Training. Best-selling Christian author, Lysa Terkeurst, was one of the instructors. (Right Photo: I had an opportunity to meet the lovely Lysa Terkeurst at a 2013 Women of Faith conference.)

As I completed each training session, the encouragement went beyond writing skills. Lysa and the other instructors spoke to my heart and rekindled my flickering faith. The community of writers reminded me that this vocation, like any other, would have bad days and great days. I just needed to remain faithful throughout the process. I felt normal and self-doubt quickly fled. I had forgotten the value of community and mentors.

Jesus wanted me to take action when He whispered, “Go catch up.” Each step led me to another, and I found quiet strength in Him and through encouraging believers. We need kindred folks, and sisters in Christ, to help us stay focused on God’s kingdom purposes. That day, I carried out more tasks with the energy anxiety wanted to own. It was simple, but just in case I would experienced another “Peter” moment, I jotted down my path to peace.    

How to Survive Overwhelm:

1. Express your unfiltered emotions to Jesus.

2. Send the SOS prayer, “Jesus, help!”

 3. Surround yourself with a community of like-minded believers. Our “to do” list will always grow, but our “with who” list needs to grow, as well. (Click to Tweet)

Connect with your community:

Perhaps your community is the person who lives next door, or someone in your smartphone’s contact list. You can even find communities online. Check out some of these Christian Linkedin groups:

Standing in Faith

Women in Ministry

Christian Women Affiliate

Women of Wisdom

How about you? How does God lead you to peace? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box below. 

Have a blessed weekend.

Marisa Shadrick 

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