4 Ways To Battle Overwhelm

Me and boysTrust, 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.

 

Regrets and Amends

Tiffany Parry

It’s an honor to have Tiffany Parry of simplyforone.net guest blog today! Her words are an inspiring, heart-resonating blend of loving lessons of faith and a call to healing and knowing God’s truth. My friend Tiffany has a deeply moving fire and talent for writing. Read her insight on regrets and amends…

If I could flip through a scrapbook of my twelve years with my son (for illustration’s sake, let’s say I had time to scrapbook) there would be many wonderful memories to sift through. Snapshots would capture the excitement of all the “firsts” and the proud moments of motherhood.

If the photos reflected reality, they would also display the memories that make my stomach roll and shame come calling. The days when I was impatient, when words were spoken out of exhaustion and blew up into anger. The moments I should have embraced instead of dismissed as annoying interruptions.

Regrets have a way of surfacing in vivid color and fading the happier memories to gray.

No one can truly prepare us for parenthood, can they? We can read the books and heed advice up to our eyeballs, but being responsible for another life is the biggest journey of faith we will ever embark on. It is a step-by-step, trial by fire, uphill battle. The rewards are promised, but aren’t always seen in the trenches.

Like any battle of faith—we moms face a real enemy. The devil loves to condemn us for our errors and convince us that our losses far outweigh our wins.

We can get so seated in our parenting regret that we lose sight of our personal redemption.

Just because we’re somebody’s mom, doesn’t mean we aren’t still a sinner in need of a Savior. God doesn’t give us a child to raise and expect, or even ask us, to get everything right.

The accountability of parenting doesn’t diminish the power of forgiveness.

We make mistakes—as people, as parents—it’s our nature. It’s the way we handle the things we do wrong and apply our faith that brings us to a right-standing with God.

The quickest way to erase regrets is to make amends.

“You let the distress bring you to God, not drive you from Him. The result [will be] all gain, no loss. Distress that drives us to God does that. It turns us around. It gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain.” 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 MSG

To avoid regret, we keep short accounts. With God, who already knows we’re not perfect and with the people we love, who need to know we realize we’re not either.

Children are so forgiving. And it’s an attribute we ought to capitalize on. They see us through eyes of unconditional love and they don’t define us by our mistakes. It’s the way we love them, right? The same way God loves us.

It’s a powerful and far-reaching example to set for our kids when we’re willing to confess our wrongdoing and give them the opportunity to exercise forgiveness. It’s a tangible lesson in grace – the perfect way to model the cross.

When we humble ourselves and sacrifice our pride, forgiveness washes away regret.

There are some not so pleasant memories I’d like to rip out of that scrapbook. Some things I’d go back and re-do and a few I’d like undone all together.

But shame won’t recover the past and guilt only cripples the future.

We serve a God who is a receiver of amends and a remover of regrets. For the ones we offer today and the many we’ll bring in our tomorrows. For us, for our kids, and for every generation to come.

Let’s set the pattern—to willingly confess, wholeheartedly forgive, to train up our children in His grace. To treasure every memory knowing that none are in vain.

God chose you to raise up the precious lives He’s entrusted to your care—He has no regrets.

About the author…Tiffany is exceedingly grateful for a God who knows her flaws and yet prizes her as precious and chosen. She is wife of sixteen years and has just embarked on the tween adventure with her twelve year old son. A lover of words, Tiffany purposes to use hers to speak truth and encourage others that while life can be messy, God is greater. She welcomes you to follow along as she pursues God and leans into grace on her word-by-word journey through the mountains and valleys of faith at her blog, Simply for One.

www.simplyforone.net

www.facebook.com/simplyforone

Twitter: @tiffparry

My Friendship with a Man Who is Not My Husband

Man walking with guitarSan Diego was a lifetime ago. Every Sunday I would attend a boisterous young adult program after mass with a thriving community of friends at St. Brigid in much loved Pacific Beach, California. That’s where I met Rick.

I’ll be honest. About 10-15 years older than me, Rick was stalker-like friendly always wanting to talk extensively and give me CDs of his music. I responded kindly, but was mostly in avoid mode. Then, after less than a year of attending St. Brigid, I moved away.

Nine years later, Rick and I still email weekly even though I’ve only seen him once since I left. He has openly shared so much of his life and has generously prayed for and genuinely supported me and my family wanting nothing but a Christian friend in return. He calls me little sister.

Our relationship has evolved from me humoring him as a pen pal to truly caring about his welfare, praying for him, and being so grateful that God has woven this faithful friend into my life. While we’re not BFFs, I have never had another friend who has stayed the course so unfailingly over so many years.

I am truly thankful for what God has revealed to me through Rick. It’s another form of His holy presence, kind of like a little guardian angel who is there for me and I for him. It’s a gift of reciprocal sharing, prayer, and encouragement that I no longer take for granted.

Romans 12:10: Love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.

At first I was resistant to the idea of Rick in my life and thought I would leave him behind in San Diego. God had other plans. And over time, He has opened my eyes to what it means to see a person for their innate beauty and the God-given instrument they can be in your life as you are in theirs. Through Rick’s steadfast friendship, I can see God IS with me.

Nurture the companion relationships in your life, dear friend. Through their presence, God is touching your life in transforming and loving ways.

John 15:12-13: This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.