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Posts tagged ‘being overwhelmed’

Too Overwhelmed To Pray

SOURCE:  Jenny-Lyn de Klerk

Your Helper in Prayer: Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit

When I think of Charles Spurgeon, my mind goes to one story before anything else. I once heard that when Spurgeon’s depression flared, his wife Susanna propped him up and pushed him back into his chair so he could continue working. I was so taken aback by my imagining of this scene — it made me think about all of the times me and the other women in my family had been that low in depression. Spurgeon’s weakness ran much deeper than work-related stress, and was not just a symptom of physical exhaustion.

This kind of weakness is hard to overcome. Spurgeon touches on this deep weakness in his explanation of the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer. The reason the Father gives us his Spirit to help us pray is because we are weak; we don’t know how to pray properly, we often don’t feel like praying, and we struggle to put our worst life pains into words.

Spurgeon brings out the beauty of this doctrine by explaining that God is not angry because of our failures in prayer, but has compassion on us as his children. Instead of acting the disinterested King who says, “if you do not have grace enough even to ask properly, I will shut the gates of mercy against you,” God says, “I will write out your petition for you, I will put it into proper words and use fitting phrases so that your petition shall be framed acceptable.”

“If you cannot put two words together in common speech to men, yet [the Holy Spirit] will help you to speak with God; ah! and if at the mercy seat you fail in words, you shall not fail in reality, for your heart shall conquer. God…never reads our petitions according to the outward utterance, but according to the inward groaning. He notices the longing, the desiring, the sighing, the crying…

God knows our needs without hearing words, like a mother knows the needs of her baby when it “makes very odd and objectionable noises, combined with signs and movements, which are almost meaningless to stranger” but are understood by the mother who “comprehends incomprehensible noises.” If that were not intimate enough, the Spirit even claims our groanings “as his own particular creation.”

Prayer is for your own benefit and comfort—it’s an “outlet for grief” and a “lotion” to “bathe our wound in.” Rely on the Spirit to help you know what to say in prayer, and in the worst times, when you do not have the words or the strength to say anything, know that the Spirit is propping you back up into your chair so you can press on.

When There Is No Hope, There Is HOPE!

SOURCE:  Living Free

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'”

(Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

Dealing with the consequences of a loved one’s problem creates a mounting pressure within us. We want to take charge and fix things – but we can’t. This kind of pressure leads to overload. And what does an electrical circuit do when it is overloaded?

It burns out, creates a hazard, blows a fuse, or starts a fire.

Like circuits, we also burn out with overload. We can’t function. We can even be a danger to ourselves and to others. Our health can suffer.

How about you? Do you see any of these overload signs in yourself? You may be tempted to hold in the pressures, the stress, and the pain – but if you do, the overload can do some serious harm in your life.

The feelings of pressure are real and can seem overwhelming, but never believe the lie that your situation is hopeless. In the middle of the pain and frustration, you need to believe there is hope

We are not talking about the kind of hope that halfheartedly says, “I hope things start looking up,” or “We can only hope for the best.” We are talking about the kind of hope described as confident expectation of something good. Hope based on your knowledge of God and His willingness to meet you right where you are. He loves you. He cares. And He is ready to work in you and in your difficult circumstances.

Meditate on the above scripture. God has a plan for you – a plan for your good. His plan will not harm you. He wants you to have hope and look confidently toward the future.

Are you ready to lean on him? To trust him? With him, you can have real hope.

Father, I haven’t been able to see anything but this problem. It has consumed me and destroyed my hope and my joy. But now I am reminded you are still with me. You want to help, and you are more than able. Help me shift my focus to you. To your power, your love, and your good plan for me . . . and for my loved one. In Jesus’ name . . .


These thoughts were drawn from …

Close—But Not Too Close by Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee.

God WILL Allow More Than You Can Bear (Alone)

SOURCE:  Ron Edmondson

I occasionally like to correct a myth I have heard all my life.

How many times has someone said to you, “God will never put more trials on you than you can bear”?

I challenge you to show me that in the Bible.

The problem I have with this myth is that it keeps so many believers wondering why they can’t handle their problems, falsely believing they should be able to, because someone once told them the lie that God would not put more on them than they could.

Yes, we do have the promise that we will not be “tempted beyond what you can bear” (1 Corinthians 10:13), but we need to understand what that verse is saying. It says that God will not allow Satan to bring temptation, or enticement to sin, into our life that is too much for us to say no to it. When we are tempted to sin, God will make a way for us to resist it. That is because He wants us to live holy, just as Christ who calls us is holy.

Consistently, throughout the Bible, I read where at times God allowed more trials, more pressure, than His children could bear.

Elijah, the powerful prophet of God who held back the rain had a time when the trial must have been bigger than his ability to handle it.  Consider this verse: “The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” (1 Kings 19:7)

Once when Paul wrote to the people at Corinth (2 Corinthians 1:8), he told them that he and his followers faced trials “far beyond our ability to endure”.

David, the great war hero and man after God’s own heart, told the Lord that “troubles without number surround me” and “and I cannot see”. He couldn’t see clearly, because he was overwhelmed with the storms of life! Another time David said “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.”( Oh how I identify with David there!)

Jehoshaphat prayed, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  (2 Chronicles 20:12)  It sounds like he was facing more than he could handle on his own.

Are there times when God allows more troubles in your life than you can bear?

Absolutely! Positively!

If you can accept my testimony as an example, let me tell you that sometimes life throws more at me than I can handle, at least more than I can handle alone. The reason God allows you and I to experience times when we are consumed by trials, when they are bigger than our own strength can handle, is so that we have no where else to turn, except towards Him. We are faced with one solution, and that we realize Christ is our only hope!

After Paul wrote that his trial was bigger than his ability to endure, he offers an explanation. “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9) He recognized that this overwhelming time of trouble, that he couldn’t handle alone, had caused him to focus more on the power of God, and allow God to work His perfect will.

Are you being challenged beyond your ability to endure?

Don’t believe that you can do it alone! You can’t!

Jesus said, “apart from me you can do nothing!” Did you get that point? Nothing! Don’t try anything today without relying on the power of God! He knows you’re weak, but He is available to help, if you will call upon Him!

When we are at our weakest, He is strong!

BURNOUT: What is it? What do I do about it?



  • Jane hung up the phone. The nursing home had called again, her mother was refusing to eat, and could Jane please come immediately. When Jane got into the car, she was surprised by the waves of anger that she felt. It seemed like it was all up to her to take care of everything. Lately she moved in a blur from caring from her children and her husband to her students to her mother. It seemed like everyone always needed something and lately she was beginning not to care.
  • Tom was barely ever home. The new job, while lucrative, had him on the road much of the week. Travel was exhausting, so even when he was home, he barely had the energy to keep up with his two year old.
  • Sandy is a good student—maybe too good. She’s involved in a score of activities and taking advanced classes. She’s starting to have difficulty sleeping, she can’t relax, and at times, she can’t even focus. She’s starting to think that nothing she does is good enough, and so she may not even apply to college.

Definitions and Key Thoughts

  • Western culture continues to push the limits, has become increasingly obsessed with the “pursuit of excellence,” and burnout has reached epidemic proportions, even within the church.
  • Burnout is a stressful state characterized by physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and lethargy.
  • Someone experiencing burnout may:

-feel cynical toward life

-have a strong desire to “escape”

-experience a false sense of failure

-display emotional distancing, numbing, or apathy

-become hypercritical

-experience negative feelings toward others

-show inappropriate anger or sadness

-succumb to depression

-endure a resulting physical illness

-abuse alcohol or drugs

  • Burnout is often experienced by those in the helping professions such as clergy, doctors, teachers, police officers, social workers, and others who work extensively with people. It is thought to result from the excessive demands that others place on their energy, time, and resources.
  • Burnout can also be felt by caregivers of the chronically ill or by overburdened parents. These people often feel trapped by the demands of others, isolated, and unable to find sufficient time for rest and relief.

Assessment of Burnout

Q1 How are you feeling physically? (If you are experiencing burnout, chances are you haven’t been caring for yourself physically. If you haven’t had a recent physical, it might be time to schedule one.)

Q2 How are you feeling emotionally?

Q3 When did these feelings start?

Q4 What prompted you to seek information?

Q5 What are the stressors in your life?

Q6 How large a part does each stressor play in your stress level?

Q7 What kind of support do you get—both with your responsibilities and for yourself personally?

Q8 How do you perceive yourself? (For example, someone who feels that he must meet all the needs of an aging parent to be a “good” child is setting himself up for failure.)

Q9 What do you do for fun?

Q10 Are you able to relax?

Q11 What do you do when you relax?

Q12 What are the activities you’re currently involved in?

Q13 How would you prioritize these activities?

Q14 What can be taken out of your schedule?

Q15 What can be put into your schedule to help you have down time and family time?

Q16 What would keep you from doing that?

Q17 What is the worst thing that will happen if you say no or pull out of certain responsibilities?

Q18 What will happen if you do nothing?

Wise Counsel

Any physical concerns and issues should be addressed medically.

Try to take immediate action to gain some short-term relief from your responsibilities.

Try to mobilize family members and friends to begin sharing more of the load. Ironically, someone who is overburdened needs this help the most and is often least able to ask others to provide it.

There is both a short-term crisis component to resolving burnedout and a longer-term component of beginning to live life in such a way that burnout doesn’t reoccur. If you are burned out and overstressed, immediate relief is essential — begin to get adequate sleep, relaxation, and exercise. Then as you begin to recover, looking at some lifestyle issues that may have caused burnout will be important to preventing burnout from reoccurring.

Action Steps

1. Take Control

  • Don’t relinquish control of your schedule to the whim of everyone else.
  • Put a concrete plan in place to relieve yourself of some of your responsibilities. Enlist the aide of family members and friends. Name this as a crisis and validate your own need for others’ help and care.
  • If you are a student, find the balance between what is essential and what is “extra.”
  • Schedule days more sanely, humanely, and relationally.

2. Say No

  • This is a very helpful word—and often the overworked don’t know how to say it.
  • While some things can’t be dropped (if you’re a student you have to do homework, if you’re a businessman you have to travel, etc.), there may be creative ways to schedule to allow for less stress and more rest.

3. Understand God’s Will

  • God never guides you into an intolerable scramble of overwork—after all, Jesus didn’t live that way.
  • Before you say yes to any new activity, pray about it. Even if it’s a good activity, now may not be the time. Realize that there will be other phases in your life when the time will be better.

4. Slow Down

  • Consciously slow the pace of life.
  • Take the time you need to replenish your own resources.

5. Set Priorities

  • When you set priorities, you may get less done, but you’ll be doing the right things.
  • When you think about what really matters, much of your frenzied activity will be seen for what it is — frenzied.

Biblical Insights

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. —Genesis 2:3

  • From the very beginning, rest has had a special significance for God.
  • God rested, and He made the seventh day a day of rest for us as well (Exodus 20:8-11).

So the Lord said to Moses: “Gather to Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tabernacle of meeting, that they may stand there with you. Then I will come down and talk with you there. I will take of the Spirit that is upon you and will put the same upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone.” —Numbers 11:16-17

  • Pushing hard with many hours and demands can become counterproductive. We need to set boundaries around our time and energy to protect ourselves
  • God is aware of our limitations and encourages us to lighten the load by delegating responsibility to others who can help us be more productive and effective.
  • We should consider our responsibilities and how we can delegate to others in order to get the job done.

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31

  • Isaiah reminded God’s people of the value of waiting upon the Lord. “Waiting” does not mean inactivity; rather, it is patient service that is not overcommitted and overextended.
  • Many desire to “mount up with wings like eagles,” but they assume that the harder they run the more likely they will fly. The harder people run the more likely they will fall. Instead, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.” Such “waiting” is the antidote for spiritual burnout.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
—Matthew 11:28-30

  • Jesus says that He will take from our shoulders the heavy burdens that are burning us out, and replace them with an easy yoke, a light burden.
  • Jesus is in touch with the burdens of life that we carry and how much they hurt and exhaust us. When we give our troubled hearts to Him, He gives us rest for our souls. That kind of rest will cure our burnout and renew our enthusiasm for Him.

And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” or there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. —Mark 6:31-32

  • Even our Savior, being God, was aware of His human limitations. He never seemed to be in a hurry; He didn’t work 24-hour days. Even as more and more people crowded to Him to hear His words and be healed, He would often withdraw into the wilderness and pray (Luke 5:15-17).
  • After an exhausting time of ministry, Jesus invited His disciples to take a break in order to refresh themselves.
  • A hectic schedule takes a physical, emotional, and spiritual toll on us. God knows that we need to come aside and rest a while so that we don’t burn out. He will refresh us so that we can continue to serve Him. Rest and refreshment is not wasted time.

Recommended Resources

Before Burnout: Balanced Living for Busy People, by Frank B. Minirth & Paul D. Meier

How to Beat Burnout I–II: Broadcast Cassette/CD, by Focus on the Family

Refresh, Renew, Revive: How to Encourage your Spirit, Strengthen Your Family, and Energizen Your Ministry, by H. B. London

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