I get overwhelmed pretty easily.
Most of the time, I don’t handle this feeling of being stressed out so well. I have a tendency to shut down. Block out everything and leave things to be dealt with later. As you can imagine, this only creates more stress for myself.
I’m in a season of life right now with a lot of planning and a lot of change. These are all good things. Great things actually. But this is a recipe for stress in my life.
How do you handle overwhelming situations?
We all recite the verse that says, “When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2 NKJV).
But we tend to leave it at that. We never look at the beginning of this Psalm. Or, at least, I never did.
“Hear my cry, O God; Attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:1-2 NKJV).
After reading this, I stopped all of my “self-help” tricks (running, yoga, Netflix binges, etc.), and I sat on my bed and prayed. Next, I picked up my Bible.
This has been my morning routine ever since. Even more so in seasons of great stress.
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:30-33 ESV).
I love this passage.
After reading these verses, we can rest in the fact that God knows exactly what our needs are.
I used to do things backwards. I would worry, try to figure things out myself, worry some more, go for a run, and THEN take it to God.
I have found a way that saves me a lot of steps and a lot of worry.
I’ve not perfected it by any means. I still worry.
But I have found that I worry less when I first read the words of a God who already has it all figured out.
I’m getting married in less than five months, and as a young man, I’ve felt the pressure to become independent faster than I had originally planned. Each day reminds me of how dependent I have always been on my dad. As a child, I never worried about going hungry. I never worried about losing my home. I never experienced the electricity or water being shut off. But now that I’m paying most of my own bills and looking for a home of my own, the idea of dependency comes to mind.
Last week, we saw Haman’s plan to kill Mordecai. We saw how his faulty joy led him to devise a wicked plan. And this week, we see what happens. While Haman has the gallows made, King Ahasuerus can’t sleep.
“On that night the king could not sleep. And he gave orders to bring the book of memorable deeds, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. And it was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus” (Esth. 6:1-2 ESV).
Some might think Esther is a book without God. After all, God’s name has yet to be mentioned in the text. And it never will be. Instead, there’s a king named Ahasuerus who seems to rule the world. Throwing a banquet. Divorcing his wife. And summoning hundreds of virgins to sleep with him.
I mean, can this book be any less godly? But the past few weeks have revealed God’s hand at work. We’ve seen His sovereignty despite a prideful king. And this week is no different. God’s name is never mentioned, but He is sovereign in the silence.
In Psalm 73, the author contemplates whether or not he should be like those who disobey God. After all, he writes, “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind” (v. 3-5 ESV).
The psalmist finds himself examining the lives of the ungodly. And what an easier life it seems to be. One in which the ways of God are rejected. The desires of the flesh fulfilled. The riches of the world consumed.
In fact, the psalmist continues, “Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence” (v. 12-13 ESV).