You know the feeling, don't you? You have it often, don't you? Sometimes, maybe weekly? Sometimes, maybe daily? Regardless of frequency, each of us DO experience such feelings! We all do! This is NOT one of those "once in a lifetime" experiences!

When do you have this feeling? What situations create the 'overwhelmed' feeling? For many of us, examining our whats should be an enlightening challenge. What goes on in our minds [our thinking] and our hearts [our emotions] to open the door to our 'overwhelmed' feelings? Listing the situations that generate that feeling likely will produce two reactions -- insight and fear.

First make the list. Initially, do not try to categorize the experiences. Just finish this sentence: "I feel 'overwhelmed' when " Be honest with yourself. God already knows the what and the why of 'overwhelmed' feelings. Only we [as individuals] will see our list [unless we make it available to others]. Since God already knows our what and why, and since it is a "for our eyes only" list, the only deception at risk is self-deception.

All forms of deception are horrible, but perhaps no form of deception has as many consequences as does self-deception. One cruel consequence of self-deception is the 'overwhelmed' feeling. [Self-deception is not the only cause of the 'overwhelmed' feeling. For example, trying to do too much also produces that feeling.]

After you make your complete list, place your causes in categories. Do you see a pattern? Do you see inter-relationships among your categories? Do you place pressure on yourself in your attempts to please others? Are you trying to make yourself indispensable by being too helpful to be rejected or ignored? Are you trying to control others through your 'overwhelmed' feelings? Are you trying to prove something? If you are, what are you trying to prove and to whom? Do you pretend you are proving something to yourself when you really are seeking others' approval? Are you trying to escape an internal, mental label that haunts you? Are you giving control to unreasonable people with unrealistic demands?

Paul comforted Christians in Philippi with these words: (Philippians 4:7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Proper knowledge of God generates peace. Know God, and find peace. 'Overwhelmed' feelings are not rooted in a healthy relationship with the God of peace.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 23 June 2002

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