3 Questions to ask when you feel overwhelmed


I feel overwhelmed.

Unending to-do lists: Bible. Preaching. Prayer. Must get to the station. Meetings. Church service. Let’s go for a beer. Parenting.

Crushing emotions: Grief. Responsibility. Fear. Over-eating.

And on top of it all, I should really get going with the dinner.

But when I feel overwhelmed, I find it helpful to ask myself three questions.

Am I playing the hero?

Why am I doing too much?  Is it because deep-down I want my work or my ministry to give my life meaning? I’m wanting these things to say the words to me that only Jesus can:

“Well done, good and faithful servant.” Matthew 25:23

Or even worse, do I think someone needs me to the extent that I consider myself their saviour?

I could drop a few things. I could learn to say no. I don’t need to fear that everything will fall apart without me: God’s world will keep spinning because it’s God who spins it.

Not me.

Am I playing the victim?

If only everyone knew how I felt, they’d stop asking me to serve so much.

Feeling overwhelmed can mean we feel sorry for ourselves – as if the Bible’s command to love each other (John 13:34), to use time wisely (Ephesians 5:16) and to serve faithfully (Galatians 5:13) are only given to those who aren’t struggling.

But we’re all struggling in different ways. Am I using life’s struggles as a reason not to be sacrificial? Not to serve?

Why has God arranged my circumstances this way?

God’s in control of every aspect of our lives (Romans 8:28). What’s he teaching you now?

When I feel overwhelmed, God shows me that I’m relying on my own strength, rather than prayerfully depending on him.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t just ignore it and soldier on. Use it to question yourself, to grow and to depend more on God.