Sunday, May 30, 2010

Avoiding Overload: Part One

A couple days ago, I wrote about the need to rest in God when one is feeling overwhelmed. In that same vein, I went and found some old journals that I'd taken church notes in (back when I had a free hand and a free lap during church!) Some of the following information on overload is taken from notes I took on April 23, 2003 from the Wednesday night message of Pastor Phil Carney of Pendleton First Assembly in Pendleton, Oregon.

Since I've been blogging for the last couple days about things that can cause us to be overwhelmed or distracted, I won't go into that again here. I'm sure you can insert your own scenario to make this applicable.

When we take on too many responsibilities, even "good" ones, we can start to sacrifice our time with God to do these other things. We all have 24 hours in our day---how we manage that is what determines whether or not we are good stewards of our time. In Luke 10:38-42, Mary and Martha illustrate the classic war between the "human 'doing' and the human 'being'". Jesus points out that Martha was doing so much that she was missing the main thing: Jesus was THERE! He was present...but she was not.

We have got to make time to sit with our full attention on the Lord, making sure to hear what He would say to us. We must make the time to read and really comprehend what God's word is saying to us. The Bible is food and we should eat daily!

There has never been a time like today---mainly because of the technological advancements that we've made just in the last century. We weren't designed for the vast amount of information that is forced on us daily. Think about when you watch something like Fox News. You've got the graphics on both side bars flashing, the guy in the video talking, and two or three different headlines scrolling in two directions across the bottom of the screen. It is impossible to focus on all of them at the same time. Just watching the news can really wear a girl out!

Not only were we not designed for the amount of information that we're exposed to, but our spirits were not designed for the huge amount of tragic things we are made aware of every time we turn on the news or the computer or open the newspaper. It's no wonder that we're so stressed out, full of worry and fear, and paranoid---we dwell way too much, perhaps in a large part subconsciously, on all the negative and terrible things that are going on in the world. These things are tragic, yes---but there's only so much we can handle---especially if these tragic things are happening so far away that there's nothing we can actually physically do to change the circumstances.

When the Titanic sank in 1912, it took 5-7 days for the whole world to find out. Now, there'd be television crews in helicopters patching in live footage as it goes down.

When we exceed our limits, we get into trouble. Even Jesus had limits and had to get away and rest and eat and spend time with God. The Bible teaches us that God has no limits but nowhere does it suggest that WE have no limits! Limits were designed so that we'd know who is God!

One of the most spiritual things that we can do is to rest. It is prideful for us to think that we have to wear ourselves out to accomplish something for God. He will give us exactly enough time to do exactly what is required of us.

A good indication that you are doing more than God is requiring of you is that feeling of being overloaded and overwhelmed. I spent several years in children's ministry: I taught kindergarten at a Christian school, I headed up a Missionettes ministry of about 10 leaders and 80 girls, I taught countless Sunday school and Missionette classes. I spent a couple years in women's ministry: I participated in meetings, events, retreats. I put together programs and speeches and tea parties. I led a Mothers of Preschoolers class. I held Bible studies in my home and spent extra time outside my home mentoring and ministering. These were all good things and I was able to impact lives and have my own impacted. However, I was overwhelmed, exhausted, unhealthy and my home was falling apart.

Thank God that he showed me that I have PLENTY to do right here at home. I felt like I had to have a "real" ministry on top of my "job" as a mom and a wife and a homemaker. What I couldn't see was that my home and family were being seriously neglected while I tried to keep up with all this busyness. Once I realized that I was being lied to and led astray by an Enemy who desires to destroy my family, my eyes were opened to the wonderful blessing of the ministry God has given me right here at home.

Now is not the time for me to be physically ministering outside my home. However, God has given me this blog and a group of faithful readers who are being blessed when I do have the time to sit down and write. God saw my desire to write and my desire to minister to other women and showed me a way that I could still have that ministry without overwhelming myself or neglecting my family.

Today, I encourage you to take a few minutes for inventory. Allow God to show you the things in your life that are overwhelming you because they simply don't belong there. Then ask him to give you the steps, one at a time (so you're not overwhelmed! :), that you need to take to make the right changes. God desires us to be at peace as much as possible. He wants us to rest in him and to have the energy and excitement to serve him in the place he's designed for us. Rather than trying to "fit him in" to an already overly-scheduled day, let's allow him to have the very best of us each day.

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Mrs. Sarah Coller

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