Ask any overwhelmed woman why she feels burdened, and you’ll probably get a response like this:
I’m overwhelmed because I have so much I have to do.
But is this really true?
Having a full plate is definitely overwhelming. But let’s dig deeper into this response. We’ve all said it.
I have so much I have to do.
The truth, however…at least for me, is usually this:
I have so much I believe I have to do. There’s a difference.
Our culture offers us so many options, and lays on us plenty of expectations. If we’re not careful, we may begin to see these options and expectations as requirements.
Think about what you have to do today. Some of it is definitely necessary. What about the rest?
I’m betting you can find at least a few commitments or to-do’s that aren’t essential. Instead, they’re things you feel like you should do or just plain want to do. I know, because I live in your world!
Romans 12 gives us a warning. It says, “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God…” (ESV).
Here’s how the EasyEnglish Bible puts it:
“Do not become like the people who belong to this world. But let God completely change the way that you think, so that you live differently. Then you will understand what God wants you to do.”
If you find that you’re regularly overwhelmed by your load, it’s time to look at what you believe you must do.
Here are three strategies to help you think differently so you can live differently.
#1: KNOW SCRIPTURE
Many women find it hard to do less because doing so could disappoint other people or keep them from living up to what they believe they need to be.
It’s much easier to stop doing all the time when we are secure in God’s love and we know who we are in Christ.
To know and believe this, we need the truth found in the Bible.
If you don’t yet have a habit of reading Scripture regularly, check out this post for different ways you can begin to study the Bible.
If you do have a regular habit of Bible study, consider devoting this month to studying Scripture that can transform what you believe you must do.
If you’d like structure for your study, check out these resources:
- Winning the War of Your Mind by Greg Groeschel
- The Life You Long For by Christy Nockels
- Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen (book and
TEST “HAVE TO-DO’S”
How well do you distinguish have to-do’s from should do’s, could-do’s, and want to-do’s?
It’s hard, but here are some questions that can help:
- Why am I doing this?
- Does it really need to be done?
These questions can help you find that can be eliminated from your schedule. Doing that isn’t always easy. Not doing something can disappoint people and prevent you from experiencing things we really want. But we all have to choose what we’re willing to give up in order to find God’s peace.
But what if you ask these questions and discover that what’s burdening really needs to be done?
Then it’s time to ask:
- How can I change the way I’m doing this so that it’s less overwhelming?
If you want to make sure you’re focusing on the essential, you need to seek God. This podcast unpacks how to schedule God’s priorities so you’re not overwhelmed.
If you want to give this strategy a try, download a free sample of our ABIDE & FOCUS Christian Planner.
REST YOUR BRAIN
Finally, various verses in the Bible encourage us to be sober-minded. Different Greek words translate to this, and mean to be self-controlled, of sound judgment, and free from the intoxication of the world.
Knowledge helps us to be sober-minded. But if we’re tired and burnt out, it’s hard to do what we know we should do. That’s why we need rest and recovery.
You can rest your mind by:
- Creating white space. Simply take a few moments for silence, restful breathing. It’s tempting to turn to media (social networks, TV, podcasts, etc), because it’s fun or mindless. But this does not rest your brain. Commit to finding real silence and solitude.
- Getting enough sleep and exercise. Chronic physical neglect makes it difficult for your brain to function. So commit to regular self-care.
Life has challenges, so we’re going to feel overwhelmed sometimes. But if overwhelm is your default setting, it’s time to evaluate how your beliefs are working against you.
As Pastor Greg Groeschel writes, “Our lives do follow the direction of our thoughts. The better we grasp that truth, the better equipped we’ll be to change the trajectory of our lives.”