Helped by the article? Then support the work of TGC Canada!


I felt overwhelmed again this week.

I always feel overwhelmed at the beginning of the Fall. I love the summer pace. As a new ministry year begins, I feel intimidated at what lies ahead: fuller schedules, new initiatives, and more to do than I can possibly accomplish.

But I also feel overwhelmed with bigger issues: scandals in the church, world news, financial pressures, and more. We’re fed a constant diet of bad news, and if we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves crushed under a load we weren’t meant to carry.

David reminds me of three things I need to remember when we’re overwhelmed.

First, I need to remember my limits.

I tend to take on too much and think I can handle more than is reasonable. I might think that David would endorse my ambition. After all, he was king.

But David refuses to think too highly of himself or extend himself farther than he should. He writes, “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Psalm 131:1)

As Zack Eswine reminds us, “You were never meant to repent because you can’t fix everything. You are meant to repent because you’ve tried.” God made us with limits, and we’re foolish when we try to exceed them.

We’re not meant to solve every problem. We don’t need opinions on every issue. We need to stay faithful to the few things that God has given us to do and let go of the God-sized burdens we weren’t meant to carry.

Second, I need to cultivate my walk with God.

One of the first things I neglect when overwhelmed is my relationship with God. David gives us a different picture: “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:2).

Some young children never stop moving. When tired, though, they love to be held by their mothers. David suggests that we can enjoy this relationship with God. Stop your frantic activity. Experience the security and comfort of God’s love. Trust that you’re being cared for by One who is greater than you.

David’s learned to find what he needs in God, not in anything else. “Nothing however will finally destroy our attachment to earthly things, till we have learned how much more suitable provision God has made for the souls of his people,” writes Charles Simeon. More than anything, we need God and what only he can offer us.

I often struggle to enjoy the security and comfort of God’s love, but it’s exactly what I need especially when I’m overwhelmed.

Finally, I need to remember that my life can also point others to this same confidence in God.

David concludes, “O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 131:3). Anxiety is contagious; so is a quiet trust. As David learns to trust God, he invites others to follow his example. We can too.

Overwhelmed? Me too. But we don’t need to be. We can remember our limits, find comfort and security in God’s love, and invite others to do so too. It’s a much better way to live.