At the moment I feel like there’s so much to keep on top of with uni, and friends, and church online, and ES, that I don’t know where to start. There’s so much I need to do that I can’t get anything done! What am I supposed to do when I’m feeling like this? From an overwhelmed Christian.
Dear overwhelmed Christian,
Staying on top of things can be hard enough, even when there isn’t a pandemic! Being at uni and managing study, work, family, friends, church, chores, and health can sometimes feeling like trying to juggle with knives! And doing all those things while you’re socially isolating, and working from home (with pets and all kinds of other distractions), and trying to do everything online…it’s no wonder everything is overwhelming!
The good news is, that Jesus knows how it feels to live in this world! He lived here and dealt with all the busyness of human life. He understands what this is like. But we also have reassurance that we can take our worries to God in prayer. This is a great reassurance that Paul reminds us of in Philippians 4:4-7:
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We have a confidence that God is in control, and so we don’t need to worry about the things of this life. When things in this life are overwhelming, we can go back to these truths and take comfort in them, knowing that God knows about the every day needs of our life and cares about them. But there are also things we need to remember that are bigger than our everyday worries: the eternal things we need to keep in mind and not neglect.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:27-34
We know that no matter what our situation is we can trust that God is in control and we can take all our anxieties to him. There are also some really practical things that you can do to help you to get started on things when you feel overwhelmed by tasks, and by the amount of things you need to get through!
1. Prioritise- when you have a lot to do, it can be hard to know where to get started. Work out what your priorities need to be, then start there!
2. Start small- When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the workload you have, starting anything at all can be the hardest part. Do something small to start whatever task you need to do, because once you’ve got started things will probably get easier from there
3. Change things up- when you can, mix up what you’re doing. Change your workspace (if you’re working from home try using different areas to work from), or try changing up the tasks you’re doing from time to time
4. Reward yourself- if you need motivation to get things started, make sure you reward yourself for the things you do get done by having a short break or something else that will help you want to get going with work
The current situation has been described as a once in a lifetime event, so it’s pretty normal to be feeling overwhelmed by everything that is happening on top of normal everyday things like keeping up with friends and family and uni and work and exercising and remembering to sleep… so its really important to make sure you look after yourself more intentionally at the moment!
If you’re concerned about how you’re feeling at the moment, it is also important to reach out as well. If you would like to talk to someone about how you’re feeling at the moment, feel free to reach out to an ES staffworker or a service like Headspace. It is important to recognise when we need support when things are too much!
Grace and Peace,
PS maybe this isn’t how you feel…maybe you actually feel like you have more time than ever and you need things to fill it with! Check out our other post for suggestions on how to use this free time!