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When you're overwhelmed and anxious - my encouragement to you (and 3 practical ways to choose peace)



I am a worrier, a natural overthinker. My friends often remind me to breathe, to calm down and take a step back from the situation. As much as I try not to, my mind often tends to wander towards "worse case scenario" before "best case scenario".


Let's just say that I'm not effortlessly calm and at peace.


But the longer you settle in this place of worry, stress, and anxiety, the less and less joy and contentment you're able to enjoy. There were times that I became a different version of me - one I don't particularly enjoy - because I've been so stuck in stress. Never-ending stress and anxiety steals potential memories, breaks down my favorite relationships, and pulls me away from the Lord.


So lately, I've been much more intentional with both my heart health and my mental health. I don't want to send myself into that spiral again; I'm tired of losing sleep, pushing away friends, lacking joy, and growing distant from God. I'm working on relaxing a bit, letting go of my need for control and having everything perfect. I don't want to waste away these precious days God has given me by worrying and stressing, so I'm learning that I have to be purposeful about it right now. (Not tomorrow, not next week, not once things get easier, not during summer, but right now.)


I'm learning that in the grand scheme of life, the things I'm stressing out about will probably not matter - and if it does, it'll either turn into a blessing or a lesson. I'm learning to take every day as it comes, instead of spending all my energy worrying about what's coming, because as Jesus said, "worrying doesn't add a single hour to your life" (Luke 12:25).


So practically, what does that look like? (Because I'm pretty sure none of us want to live in worry and stress.)


1. First and foremost, lean on Jesus.

The biggest thing is relying on Jesus for strength and guidance. We can't "fake it till we make it" or wish away our stress - it simply doesn't work. This is something that we need help with, and only Christ can carry us through. And honestly, as we continue to spend more and more time with the Lord, peace comes more naturally, because His presence gradually becomes more obvious to us.



2. Learn to create priorities and follow through.

We won't stop being stressed by continuing to pile up things on our to-do list and never organizing it. Creating longer lists or more detailed instructions on how to pull our life together won't work (I tried). What does help ease the stress, though, is evaluating each item on our to-do list and deciding how urgent its completion is.


Our culture screams at us that everything must be done ASAP, and done to perfection. Rest isn't a thing - that's wasting time that could have been used on being "productive". But that's not going to help our stress or anxiety levels, and I'm pretty sure that's not how God wants us to live our life. Instead, we need to understand that not everything needs to get done right at this moment, and not everything requires our full energy or attention. We don't have to be in such a rush to strive or achieve or complete everything; we just need to decide what is most important to us and then complete tasks according to that.



3. Make time for rest and the things that fill you up.

I so strongly believe that the reason why we are so overwhelmed, so tired, so anxious is that we are simply not taking the time and being intentional about resting and refilling our hearts. As I'm navigating this journey myself, I'm learning how extremely important it is to do things that recharge my soul and set aside space for me to breathe. I can't function, let alone thrive, if I'm not plugged into Jesus and often refreshing myself - or else I'll be draining myself. Be aware of what leaves you feeling filled, and what simply drains you, and be intentional about balancing the two in your schedule.



 

This world is full of chaos and busyness, and it is so easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. It's not easy, and it's not a quick fix, but as we continue to choose to lean on Jesus, create priorities, and make time for rest, we will begin to notice a shift in our attitudes and stress levels. I want you to know that you are not alone, and you do not have to do it all! All Jesus asks of you right now, in this moment, is to slow down and abide in Him. You don't have to achieve, keep it all together, or finish the to-do list; just be with Him, and walk through all of the things that are overwhelming you with the Creator of the universe.


How do you manage the craziness of life without getting too overwhelmed and stressed out? Do you have any practical tips that work especially well for you? Let me know in the comments down below!

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