Trust, surrender, let go. These are so abstract. I struggle to understand, embody, and live them each day when concrete worldly matters are smacking me hard in the face. I see the tangible. I touch them, clean them, and manage the hands-on tasks. But am I surrendering? Am I drowning in overwhelm instead of the ocean of God’s grace?
Exodus 14:14: The Lord will fight for you and you have only to keep silent.
I wonder if the more we have in this world, the more we set ourselves up for failure. For distance from God. I set my sights on kitchen upgrades, yard maintenance, and cleaning out our hoarders buried alive basement only to one day acquire more stuff once they are finished.
I spend so much of my positive energy to earn money either to cover the credit card bill, debate over how stash it away, or buy some coveted home improvement. I plan birthdays and research vacations. Not all of this is bad of course, but it consumes my mind as I endlessly mull over plans, logistics, money and the crushing To Do list. I fail to surrender to just BE. My mind races in the grips of OCD trying to complete as much as possible. Often I can’t sleep.
It’s so silly and yet I can’t (or rather won’t) put it down. So how do I battle overwhelm? After much thought, this is my method for change:
1. On Sundays simply rest and be with family.
Sounds ridiculously simple but it always gets hijacked by errands and needy tasks. This past Sunday when I had the whole morning to truly pay attention and sit on the floor with my toddlers, they behaved so well! It was joyful. I smiled at my beautiful boys and played so peacefully with them. I need this Sunday surrender to make an offering of prayer, rest, reflection, and healing before I jump into the whirlwind that always descends on Monday.
2. Praise through song.
I don’t need to duel with the enemy To Do list when I am driving. Instead I choose to play a Christian song that praises God and acknowledges my need for Him. One of my favorites is “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher.
3. Pray and write about what to prune.
We are intimately connected to Jesus like a branch to a vine. Plants need pruning and so do we. What do I need to prune from my life that’s grown unchecked like a wild bush tangled with weeds in the forest?
4. Give thanks FIRST thing in the morning.
I’m guilty. In my first conscious moment, I silence my phone alarm and then dive right into email before my eyes can even peel open and adjust to the glow of the cell phone. Ugh. The feeling of overwhelm churns as work emails need my response and I can’t get to them until my boys nap at 2:30pm.
I do thank God each morning, but I can change the whole tone and purpose of my day if I first surrender it to Him. Invite God to be my center and place His will on my heart. Yes, that is better than clinging to the smart phone my friends.
Job 6:24: Teach me, and I will be silent; show me how I have gone astray.
Pretty soon the seasons of life and the harvest that really matters will have passed. I was busy and missed it…if I don’t pull the plug now and drain the bath of overwhelm. I don’t want to regret not resting when I had the chance. I need to make space to grow my faith, love with depth and patience, and chisel away at my selfish tendencies. Otherwise, God has a way of halting my life so I am reminded I must indeed surrender.
Please dear friend, pay attention to your heart. The choices we make today are the seeds that grow into the landscape of our future on earth and eternity. So make room for silence and a plan to battle overwhelm. Just a little bit. Give yourself a chance to surrender with open hands even if it’s just one deep breath of precious air that carries Jesus through your mind, body, and soul.