Updated: Feb 17, 2021
For many of us, Covid has NOT brought a season of rest. In my own life, the onset of pandemic has, strangely, accelerated the pace of my life. It’s opened up doors, and that has been a precious gift. But it’s also been exhausting and overwhelming at times.
I know I’m not alone. Some of you are not just working and parenting but are also learning to homeschool. Or maybe you’re a small business owner working double time to cut costs and market yourself in the midst of recession. Or maybe you’re a caregiver on the front lines.
Either way, your plate is full. Maybe it feels like you’re juggling so much you don’t know what gets priority right now. Or maybe you’re paralyzed by options. Or you have clarified the top priorities, but distractions keep cropping up.
Here’s what’s helped me:
Worshipping God, Not My To-Do List
Last fall, I discovered the root of my anxiety was that I was worshipping my to-do list, not my Father. I was allowing my objectives for the day to determine my satisfaction, my worth, and ultimately who I saw myself as--my identity. Since then, I continue to speak the following truths over myself:
Where my satisfaction comes from: My first joy is in Christ, not in my accomplishments.
My vision of worth vs. God’s: My heart status matters far more to my Father than what I accomplish.
Where my identity comes from: I am not what I accomplish. My identity is first and foremost Daughter of Christ.
Authority in Christ To Cast Out Overwhelm
We have authority in Jesus over all the powers of the enemy. Practice casting out overwhelm, fear, doubt, or any other emotion you recognize is not from Jesus. Then, ask Jesus for His exchange for what has left your body, so that it cannot return. Try this prayer out loud:
“Heavenly Father, you have given me as your daughter authority in your name over the enemy. Thank you for blessing me with your authority. In your name and with your authority, Jesus, I cast out overwhelm. Overwhelm, leave my body in Jesus’s name and do not return. Jesus, what do you want me to receive in exchange for overwhelm?”
Focusing on One Thing at a Time
It’s tempting to multitask. It can feel like we’re maximizing our time or provide a sense of calm and control to tackle more than one thing at a time when the task list is so long. But studies indicate that multitasking reduces productivity, increases stress, tires us more quickly, and even damages our brains.
Instead, tackle one task at a time. Allow yourself to focus fully on what’s at hand. Resist the urge to keep circling over all that still needs to be done, as that will distract you and drain you.
Try This Exercise: Shelving your task list:
Close your eyes. Visualize all of your tasks as a jumble of books. Each task is a book you need to read. It’s a mess, and you don’t even know which book to start with. Visualize grabbing each book and placing it on a bookshelf, one by one. Breathe deeply and acknowledge that each “book” can be retrieved at any time. Now, ask God--which book do you want me to crack open right now?
Celebrating the small
When you are juggling a lot, progress can be frustratingly slow. Resist the urge to compare your progress with seasons when you had less on your plate. Instead, intentionally celebrate small progress with these exercises:
Identify the steps you took at the end of the day, the week, and the month. Naming gives them more significance. It also helps you balance out thoughts of what is still left to do.
Language matters: Call your steps wins! This helps you recognize your steps as progress, even when it doesn’t feel that way. (Going into the weekend with wins also helps you rest with more satisfaction!)
Reward steps: Light your favorite candle. Take a walk. Enjoy a special meal.
Adjust your expectations to what will truly be a blessing to your life. Surrender expectations that are a burden to you.
No matter how busy you are, or how well you are juggling your tasks, you do need rest. Physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional rest. Time completely removed from work, from obligations, and from our phones.
Time and space that is life-giving and soul-feeding, that renews us to fulfill the works that God has called us to.
Without proper rest, we cannot possibly experience the fullness of joy in life that God has called us to.
Looking for more?
Here is a great podcast on saying “yes” to the best for your life and “no” to all the rest. It has helped me SO much to ask God about opportunities: Is this your best for my life? Will this interfere with things I already know to be your best?
Remember: Every time you say “yes,” when you really ought to say “no,” you rob from other areas of your life--you rob from God’s best. Every “yes” is also a “no” to many other things.
Join the Conversation:
What is helping you cut through clutter and navigate overwhelm?
This blog post was originally posted on May 14, 2020 via Stephanie Haynes Coaching.