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When You're Overwhelmed

12 steps to sanity
When You're Overwhelmed

We women are master multitaskers. We can talk on the phone while simultaneously folding laundry and planning next week's dinner menu. We can do the dinner dishes while planning next summer's family vacation. We can put on mascara while ironing our hubby's dress shirts—while eating a soy-flax yogurt parfait.

But even for the woman who can do it all, life can be overwhelming.

There are just those days (or months) when everything comes crashing down on you: When the soy-flax yogurt parfait falls on your freshly mopped floor. When the laundry starts to pile up. When your to-do list is longer than your teenager's "every kid in the entire universe has unlimited texting on their phone except me" rant.

Unfortunately, there are very few people who can drop everything and head to the spa for a mani-pedi every time life gets overwhelming. So what do you do when life throws you an overwhelming curveball? You know what I'm going to say, don't you?

You pray.

Praying God's Word When You Have Too Much to Do

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28 NLT)

Lord, I am tired. My burdens are heavier than I can bear. Lord, please give me rest.


Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. (Matt. 11:29–30 NLT)

Lord, you've promised if I ask, not only will you take my burdens upon you, but you will teach me how to find rest for my soul. My soul craves that right now— yet everywhere I turn I find something else to worry about. Lord, show me your ways. Fill my soul with your gentleness today.


Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Ps. 139:23–24 NLT)

Lord, you don't desire for me to be anxious. Instead, you want to sanctify me through the work that you have given me to do. Search me. Show me what I'm doing that is ungodly, and help me to remove it from my life so the work I do will be for your glory alone.


For I am the LORD your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isa. 41:13 NIV)

Lord, thank you for holding my hand when I am over- whelmed. Please reveal yourself to me in new ways today. Fill my heart with your comfort. Fill my body with your strength and my busy day with your rest. Help me to trade my worry and my stress for complete reliance on you. Every time I start to feel overwhelmed, fill me with the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that you have promised my soul rest.

When You're Too Stressed to Pray

There was a time in the spring of 2011 when I could've worked 48 hours a day, 14 days a week, and still wouldn't have finished half of the things on my to-do list. Interestingly, as my stress level rose, my capacity to pray declined. I desperately needed God's intervention, yet the more I added to my to-do list, the less I turned to the one who could relieve my stress.

When we're weighed down with mile-long to-do lists, and the burdens of parenting, work, marriage, and housekeeping seem too much and too big, God is there. And while he may not shorten our to-do lists, he can and will come beside us and help us carry the burden.

12 Steps to Sanity

Praying is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself when you're overworked and overwhelmed. But what other practical things can you do when stress is taking over your life? Here are 12 simple, 10-minute sanity-savers for you:

  1. Every time you check a task off your to-do list, allow yourself to watch ten minutes of fun TV (there is no shame in obsessing over Dancing with the Stars), or read ten pages of a novel.
  2. Call your husband or a friend and ask him to pray with you.
  3. Cross unnecessary tasks off your to-do list. Skip the grocery shopping, order in pizza, and give yourself permission to focus on tasks that are truly non-negotiable.
  4. Go outside and play with your kids for ten minutes.
  5. Read an uplifting psalm (Hint: Go to www.biblegateway.com and do a keyword search for peace or rest).
  6. Put something fun on your iPod (Carrie Underwood, anyone?), turn it up, and sing along.
  7. Treat yourself to something indulgent and yummy—dark chocolate, a nonfat vanilla latte with whip, an apple dipped in caramel sauce.
  8. Go on a short but brisk walk around your block and think about anything and everything except your to-do list.
  9. Laugh.
  10. Call a friend—just for fun.
  11. Spend 10 minutes throwing a ball to your dog or snuggling with your cat.
  12. Rub on some aromatherapy lotion (I love the Japanese Cherry Blossom scent from Bath & Body Works).

What about you? What are some ways you overcome stress?

Kathi is a full-time speaker and writer as well as the parent of four young adults with her husband, Roger, in San Jose, California. When she is not doing laundry, she is speaking at retreats, conferences and women's events across the U. S. Connect with Kathi at http://www.kathilipp.com. This article excerpted from Praying God's Word for Your Life. © 2013 Kathi Lipp. Used by permission of Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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