Most days I feel overwhelmed. Between managing my family’s busy schedules, church schedules, and my own schedule, I sometimes feel stretched in all directions. The problem is, I am not Elastigirl from the Incredibles who can keep stretching and stretching without being snapped! Do any of you ladies know what I’m talking about? Some days you feel so pressed on every side, even to think about what’s happening beyond today is enough to send you into orbit.
What God has taught me in the last few weeks, though, is that the feeling of being overwhelmed by life does not come from Him. In fact, overwhelming or devouring us is a strategy of the enemy (1 Peter 5:8). What comes from God is overwhelming peace when we bring all of our cares and concerns to him (Philippians 4:7).
A planner by nature, I like to have everything mapped out as far in advance as possible. Yet faith doesn’t always work that way. God gives us enough guidance to see what is in front of us. Otherwise, we would be walking by sight, not by faith. In this busy season, the pace of my life has caused me to appreciate just focusing on the grace God gives me for today. If I begin to stress about what’s too far in advance, I forfeit the unexplainable peace that is available to me through Jesus. That feeling of stress has become my caution light indicating that I am trying to walk by sight rather than walking by faith for God to lead me where I need to go. My favorite scripture passage during this time has become:
“Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (CSB)
Here are a few reminders from this verse of how God will see us through trials and pressures of life:
1) God will not let you be crushed!
This verse reminds me that even though some days my jar is cracked, God will not let it be crushed!
Let me say that to you again…Even though some days your jar may be cracked, God will not let you be crushed! Though you may feel like you are about to break into a million pieces, God will hold you together! Lean in to Him. Trust Him to take care of you in whatever you are going through.
2) God will not abandon you!
Over and over in scripture, God reminds us that He will not leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Though you may feel alone and abandoned in your trial, God sees you! The scripture says that we should humble ourselves before the Lord and cast all of our cares upon Him because He does care about us (1 Peter 5:6-7)!
3) God will not let you be destroyed!
Though the pressures of life can cause us to feel overwhelmed and maybe even knock us down flat on our backs, God will not let us be destroyed! At the end of the day, He is greater than our enemy (1 John 4:4)! He will defend our cause when we are following His will, and He will uphold us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10)!
When I can remember these truths, I am freed up to focus on what really matters, showing grace to everyone around me. Instead of worrying, I can love as Christ loves because I know He is working out all of those things that cause me to stressed and agitated. Instead of holding a grudge, I can forgive as Christ forgives because I know that I have been forgiven much. Instead of stressing about my own needs, I can be compassionate as Christ is compassionate because I know that God will take care of my needs too. In focusing on doing the simple things God calls me to each day, I have experienced that His grace truly is sufficient for my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9).
I can live each day full of grace and truth rather than fear and worry because I know that God won’t let me be crushed, He won’t abandon me, and He won’t let me be destroyed. His grace is enough for each moment. His grace is enough to fill our days.
- Dr. Emily Dean serves as Adjunct Faculty and Coordinator of Women’s Programs at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. This blog post was first published at contagiousjoy.com. You can follow Emily’s blog at emilywdean.com.