5 Tips When Life Gets Overwhelming

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on the short train to crazy town? Overwhelmed to the point that you are mentally ready to retreat to a corner and rock back and forth with your favorite blankie?

5 tips when life gets overwhelming

Hello, that's me lately. We are in the process of adopting three kids (ages 3-7), plus going to Africa on a mission trip with our church this summer and my husband is in the process of a drastic schedule change with his company which has been difficult for everyone to adjust to. To top it all off, I have had a pretty severe case of laryngitis the past couple weeks and my voice still isn’t fully back to normal. Plus I am part of this amazing group of writers and they all seem so on the ball with their blogs and book writing and well, this girl is in total mental shutdown mode lately, feeling like I just don’t measure up.

Some days, my friends, I don't know which end is up. And that is just the tip of the iceberg in my world! How about you? What’s been overwhelming you lately?

What do you do when you are overwhelmed, stressed out and just emotionally exhausted because it feels like there are so many things to do and not near enough hours in the day?

I sort of feel like the answer we're supposed to give as Christians is “I pray, I read my Bible and I ask the Lord to help direct my path.” But seriously, let’s be real. How often do we actually do that?

Sure, sometimes we do. But more often than not, our time in God’s Word is often one of the first things to go in a season of overwhelming chaos. In fact, I feel like over the past several months my Bible reading has flown out the window.

Um, and I don’t even want to admit how much chocolate I have consumed over the past few months. Probably enough to feed a third world nation. Ha, you think I’m kidding! 

And the binge watching of Netflix? I'm embarrassed because it’s been at an all-time high lately. Which is silly, because I seriously don’t have time to binge watch TV shows right now.

So what should we do when we’re stuck on the short train to crazy town? 

Buy a bullet journal and get distracted for months with all the pretty things we can do with a planner to keep us on schedule? Scream at the top of our lungs in the car when we are stuck in traffic? Become anti-social because we are just too busy? Eat a ton of chocolate and then feel bad that our jeans are getting a little tight? Stop going to the gym, because who has time to take care of ourselves in this season of crazy? Binge watch TV shows on Netflix? Go buy bigger pants so we can keep eating said chocolate....um, yeah, just did that. Don't you judge me.

I’ve tried all that. Trust me, it doesn’t seem to solve anything. In fact, it often seems to create more problems, doesn't it? Especially the shopping for pants thing. (Ok, I brought them back to the store and took out an exercise video instead, but still. Jeepers!)

5 Things To Practice In A Season Of Overwhelm

Be Honest & Evaluate

Admit you don’t have everything under control and are tackling too much. In fact, this is often one of the best things we can do to truly start taking control of our season of craziness. Evaluate how you use your time. Get a bullet journal or a day planner and keep track of what you are doing in a day and prioritize what truly matters. Does it matter as much that you clean the kitchen before the day is over, or that you get to spend an extra half hour with your kiddos before bedtime talking about their day?

Ask For Help

Why is it that when we tackle too much we often feel a sense of martyrdom with our obligations? It’s ok to admit you can’t do it all on your own. In fact, God places people in our lives to come alongside us in our time of need. So take the initiative and ask for help. From your kids, your hubby, your friends, even your neighbors if you need to. People love to be needed. And they don’t HAVE to say yes, so ditch the guilt and just ask already.

Say No & Let It Go!

Elsa had it right…let it go, let it go! It’s ok to say no and let it go!  Ok, she didn’t technically say that. But I did. And I think I’m on to something. This is a tough area for me. I sometimes struggle with saying no. But a pastor friend of mine told me once that it’s really a good thing to say no. In fact, when we say no, it’s allowing an opportunity for someone else to say yes! So start practicing saying a firm NO. You can do it! Try it in the mirror and at the grocery store with a stranger or something if you need to. You’ll get better at it over time!

Practice Self Care & Stop Comparing

Why is it that when our plates are overflowing we often turn to a self-defeating attitude? We don’t go to the gym or eat as healthy as we should. Or we choose to ignore things we love, like painting our nails, reading a good book and going out for coffee with friends. We NEED these things to relax a little bit. So take time and paint your nails, schedule that coffee, get to the gym or get out for a nice walk and enjoy life. Stop feeling like you have to keep up with the Joneses. Let the Joneses do their thing and you just deal with whatever you and your family can handle in this season of life.

More Jesus. Less All The Other Stuff. 

Ok, this is truly the biggest priority. It's number 1 in my book. Even though it so often flies out the window in our crazy times, we truly need to be in God’s Word. We need to pray. We need to spend time with Jesus. I think of how John the Baptist said it in John 3: 30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.” The reality is, the overwhelming nature of life isn’t going to go away. We can control some of the busyness, but when life gets overwhelming, we NEED to cling to Jesus and commit His Word into our hearts.

If we don’t have Jesus, how will we weather the storms of life?

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I don’t have it all figured out yet. But I know that as we begin to parent three kids from the ages of 3-7 and continue with all the preparations for our trip to Africa this summer, we are going to need to learn to say no, prioritize time in God’s Word to keep our sanity and stay grounded in this upcoming season of craziness. And God has taught me over the years of struggling with infertility and other storms that when we put God first, the rest sort of works itself out eventually.

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Bible study worksheets, Scripture cards and printable art to glorify Jesus in the middle of your busy, beautiful life. {Get it here.}

Love Your Valentine All Year Long

Last week millions of people rushed to buy flowers, stuffed animals, candy, cards and diamonds to remind their spouse of their undying devotion. I wonder how many of those millions are still feeling the love this week?

simple ways to show love to your spouse all year long.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

How many of us live out these biblical truths in our marriage? They are hard to put into practice on a "good" day, but on those hard, crazy overwhelming days it's only by the grace of God that we can learn to love like Jesus loved!

Only through the grace of God can we learn to love others. {Tweet it!}

  • Love is patient, with our spouses and the curve balls life throws at us. 
  • Love is kind, even when our spouses are cranky. 
  • Love is humble, even when we are the one that is "right" in an argument. 
  • Love is filled with honesty and Godly truth. 
  • Love is endearing, even when our spouses are not. 
  • Love endures all things, even the biggest stresses that life can throw at us. 
  • Love is filled with a hope that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Let's face it, this love stuff is tough work. We are busy. We have responsibilities. Little and big people to care for. To do lists a mile long. Laundry and lots of it. And sometimes romance is the first thing to fly out the proverbial window in our marriage.

But in the middle of all the daily craziness, don't you want to feel loved by the one person on this earth that you vowed to go through life with? I sure do.

How do you show love to your spouse in the daily chaos of life?

Learn your spouse's love language! My hubby's love language is home cooked meals so I have learned to love the act of cooking because it makes him happy. I randomly tuck little love notes inside his lunch box. I mow the lawn on a hot summer day while he's at work, or take out the trash before he gets home from an extra long work day. Sometimes I buy his favorite candy bar when I'm out running errands. It's the little things that make him happy.

My love language is quality time and acts of service. I don't need roses, or diamonds or even chocolates to feel loved by my hubby. But a little patience, encouragement, a listening ear and a man willing to empty the dishwasher when I'm having a crazy week goes a long way for me. I love that my husband takes time to show me he loves me, even when he's having a super busy week!

Let's make it our mission to love our husbands every day of the year. In the middle of our messes. In the little ways that matter. 

What can you do to let your husband know how much you love him this week?

Not sure what your spouse's love language is? You can take this free quiz created by Dr. Gary Chapman to help you start to show love in ways that truly speak to your spouse's heart. P.S. It helps if your spouse takes it too!

Get your free copy of "The Grace Challenge!"

Bible study worksheets, Scripture cards and printable art to glorify Jesus in the middle of your busy, beautiful life. {Get it here.}

Lord, Teach Me To Love

I hated Valentine's Day growing up. My parents had a horrible marriage and the whole idea of celebrating love with candy, roses and cards in a marriage that lacked kindness and basic human decency was a joke to me.

five simple words to bring hope and healing to marriage.

One year (oh so long ago!) our high school held a Valentine fundraiser. We could buy roses and have them delivered anonymously to lockers. My silly, naive girlfriends convinced me that I should buy a rose for this guy. And put a handwritten poem in his locker to boot! He got a ton of roses that Valentine's Day, but only one love note from yours truly.

Someone leaked that I was the author of that note. He thought it was hilarious and read it out loud to EVERYONE in our science class. Hysterical laughter followed (my friends included). My face turned as red as those cinnamon Valentine hearts. I went home sick the rest of the week. I was devastated. That was the first time I put my heart out there for anyone and it was crushed.

Even though my heart broke into pieces that day, I learned a valuable lesson on what true love isn't.

This week, I celebrate another year of marriage with the most perfect for me, kick butt hubby a girl could ever pray for. He would never laugh if I bought a rose and stuck it in his locker. Or if I wrote him a silly little love note (which I do often).

We've hit a few bumps in our marriage. At times they've felt more like craters. We've stood face to face with our selfishness and pride. Our hearts have been stretched to their limit through the sorrows of our infertility journey and navigating the craziness of the adoption world.

Jesus has taught us to cling to each other {and to Him!} through the good times as well as the difficult times.

I wouldn't trade our years together for all the chocolate in Pennsylvania.

Through all the sorrow and the bumps and the heart bruises, there has been more joy than I could ever imagine. I love this man to the moon and back. And then beyond a dozen or so times.

When things have been at their worst, I've cried out to Jesus:
"Lord, teach me to love."

And He does.
Our Lord is so faithful.

Christ has been refining two imperfect sinners over the years. He has shown us redemption, forgiveness, joy in the middle of trials and how to love another on days when the other hasn't done a single thing to earn it or deserve it. 

The vows we exchanged many years ago are still commitments I'm trying to keep today. To love, honor and cherish. In the good times and the bad times.

I mess up a lot. But there is grace. Lots and lots of grace. From the hubby and from Jesus.

And there is love, so much love.

If there was one thing I could do differently, it would be to go back to the day we said 'I do' and follow that commitment with five words that have been inscribed deep within my heart. They are five profound, but simple, words that have radically changed me and have helped me love like Jesus loves.

"Lord, teach me to love." 

If your marriage has hit a bump in the road, take these five words to heart and ask Jesus to help show you how to love your spouse. Ask Him to allow you to see your spouse through His eyes. Take accountability for your own sin and part in your current bumpy situation. Ask for forgiveness, if needed. Ask someone to pray for your marriage. Talk to a pastor or seek professional counsel if necessary. You don't have to go through your trials alone. Jesus loves you.

Get your free copy of "The Grace Challenge!"

Bible study worksheets, Scripture cards and printable art to glorify Jesus in the middle of your busy, beautiful life. {Get it here.}
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