by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace
Imagine with me the sweet moments motherhood, of tucking our little ones in at night with soft moon-glow as they drift off in peaceful sleep. Reality shatters the quietness when little feet pad down the hallway. “Mommy, I need a drink!” says the bright-eyed preschooler in the doorway.
The elementary student pops out of bed. “I forgot to tell you something. I need black pants for the school program tomorrow.”
Ugh! Exhaustion and exasperation set in, erasing the sweet moments.
Later, in the middle of the night, the baby screams from intestinal discomfort. A massive blowout needs attention. After tending to the baby, it’s hard to fall back to sleep, thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list.
How do we cope with that overwhelmed feeling?
Jesus spoke words that encourage and help us remember the priorities of life, of loving and caring our family and ourselves. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
This passage helps us conquer the “overwhelms” in several ways.
- Remember to nurture your relationship with the Lord. Even if it’s a few moments while your coffee is brewing, whisper words of praise to God for being loving and kind. Read a devotional on your phone to use brief minutes to connect to with God when you are on the go.
- Take care of you. Jesus taught us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Simple words, but hard to learn. It is nurturing, not selfish, and can improve perspective. We can get so involved caring for everyone else that we neglect healthy self-care.
- Give yourself grace, just as God gives you grace. Learn to accept the fact that “good enough” is acceptable. Perfectionism is the enemy of grace. Do what you can and learn to be satisfied with it.
By focusing on doing our best for the Lord—pleasing Him and not others—we avoid heaping on extra mommy-guilt.
Psalm 90:12 (NIV) also helps us outwit “the overwhelms”: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
- Prioritize tasks instead of doing massive multi-tasking. When I have much to do and little time to accomplish it, I try to do too many things at once. I can get overwhelmed with many half-finished tasks that it becomes hard to complete any of them. Prioritize what needs to be done first, and complete it. Then move on to do the next thing.
- When the “overwhelms” gang up on you, look to the Lord for wisdom. Life is unedited. Unanticipated situations will occur. When we are stressed out, inhale deep breaths, and remember that inner strength comes from the Lord.
At the end of the day, reflect on Psalm 61:2-3 before drifting off to sleep. From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety. Psalm 61:2 (NLT)
About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.
Join the conversation: What overwhelms you?