Does your heart ever feel overwhelmed? Are you ever disheartened by your inability to meet everyone’s demands and expectations?
Some days my heart vacillates between being raw with paralyzing frustration and simultaneously stimulated by a thousand agitations.
In the midst of my obsessive mental processing and impaired human emotions, I starkly realize that in the insistent whirlwind of life, I still have so much for which to be grateful.
Yet continuously … the floods of demands, disciplines, people, habits, chores, vices and commitments create a massive quagmire in my life that can only be described by one desperate word, “overwhelming”!
The call of life is just so deafeningly loud sometimes …
David the worshipper … the man after God’s own heart … shares my incompetence at dealing well with all that life dishes out.
“Hear my cry, O God; Give heed to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy.
Let me dwell in Your tent forever;
Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”
– Psalm 61:1-4
Although I do not know what specifically overwhelms you, I can assure you that though the source of your staggering obstacles may look much different than mine, the answer for both of us is the same.
“Hear my cry, O God! Give heed to my prayer.”
When you are overwhelmed, take it from David: the first thing you need to do is cry out to God. We need prayer more than we need our circumstances to change. Just going to my infinitely gracious God, Who is lovingly attentive in all of His ways, reminds me that I am not in charge. There is Someone mightier and more powerful than I am Who is well able to bring relief to my mountain of stress.
“From the end of the earth I call to You, when my heart is overwhelmed!”
There is no sin in calling out to God when you are completely and utterly overwhelmed.
The sin would actually be in turning to other less satisfying options. Have you ever mistakenly believed that spending, eating, being entertained, going to the spa or responding with your emotions is what you need to conquer the overwhelming circumstances and events of your life? Those things are deceptive distractions and possess all the healing power of a miniscule band-aid following open heart surgery.
“Lead me to the rock that is higher than I …”
The second word of advice that is discernable in David’s prayer is that we all need God to lead us. We need Him to take us by our human hands and then to guide us with His divine hands to a higher place. He always wisely leads His children to a more secure vantage point than the circumstances of life are able to offer. The benefit of standing on a rock that is taller than I am is that I am above my circumstances and therefore can see them from heaven’s perspective.
One of the most destructive mistakes that any of us can make during moments of overwhelming madness is to be led by our emotions. Anger and impatience will do damage to relationships that may be difficult to repair. I must humbly realize that my emotions often lie to me but God will lead me in triumph even in overwhelming times … especially in overwhelming times.
“For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy …”
When you are feeling overwhelmed, focus not on what is causing the irritation or annoyance but begin to declare Who God is. Remove your eyes from your circumstances and set your mind, mouth and gaze on the only One Who is able to help you! God is your safe place and will strongly protect you against the enemy forces of busyness, difficult relationships, a failing economy, health challenges and priorities. He is more than able!
“Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings.”
There is no safer, more peaceful place to be than abiding in Him and with Him. When I linger in His presence and enjoy the safety of His Word, the overwhelming things of this earth truly grow strangely dim. When His nearness overshadows all that calls my name, I am at peace at last. The life that He gives is the life that I have dreamed about and longed for.
His presence miraculously empowers me to face another day of the demanding details of life. The Word of God powerfully protects me and shields me from the rapid fire of life’s demands. Prayer helps me to wisely focus on that which is eternal and not on that which merely stirs up a raucous.
So … the next time that you or I find ourselves in similar and overwhelming circumstances … let’s not walk but run to Him and all that He is! I resolve to take a break from this mad, mad, mad, mad world and to set my heart where it has always belonged … in Him.
While others are juggling the voices, the tirade and the insistence of this temporary world, I will be the one with my hands in air, gaze fixed on heaven and crying with gut-wrenching desperation, “HELP!”