We live in a world that seems to focus on problems, uncertain situations and the absolutely ridiculous. In the past several weeks, I’ve watched the news at night and heard reports about how our economy is about to go from bad to worse, how solar flares from the sun are going to make airplanes crash, how an asteroid barely missed Earth and how to survive a zombie attack. (No, I am not making this up!)
Some of those situations are pretty extreme. However, some of the overwhelming situations in life aren’t “out there”—they’re real, and they’re right in front of us on a daily basis. Getting laid off at work, experiencing struggles in your marriage, having your first child, not being able to get over a past full of mistakes—life can easily become overwhelming!
If you allow them to, your overwhelming circumstances will always be overwhelming. Change begins with a decision: overwhelmed or overcome? Some people never make it out of the current of their circumstances. Instead, they surrender to stress, anxiety and fear—simply because they don’t know how to take the first step out.
The path to victory is paved in making the decision that life is not going to overwhelm you anymore—period. I know this may sound simplistic, but it’s true. What gets our attention ultimately determines our direction. If we are constantly focused on our circumstances, we will be overwhelmed.
Let me be very clear that I’m not saying that if you simply think you aren’t in bad circumstances, they’ll just go away. However, it’s a fact that as we shift our focus from our circumstances to Christ, everything in our lives can change. We see this challenge issued to us in the Scriptures over and over again. The author of Hebrews says, “we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
The temptation when we’re feeling overwhelmed is to focus on our problems and circumstances—the things that got us stuck in the first place. However, when we do that, we give our problems more weight than they deserve and we end up even more overwhelmed than before.
As crazy as it may seem, the best way to conquer feeling overwhelmed is to take our eyes off what’s consuming us and get a bigger picture of what’s really important. One of the main ways we accomplish this is by changing our perspective so we can get a true sense of God’s character. We no longer have to feel defeated when we remember that God is even bigger than whatever big thing we’re facing.
All too often in my battle with fear and anxiety, I keep looking at my situation and my struggles, thinking things will never change, when my focus should be on my Savior. After all, Jesus didn’t just die on the Cross so I wouldn’t have to go to hell, but also to give me an abundant life on this earth (see John 10:10).
I know what it’s like to live outside this abundance, I had the incorrect focus for more than three agonizing years, and this resulted in a season of crippling fear, anxiety, worry and even a dark depression.
I was looking to Jesus to change my circumstances; He was trying to change me.
And He’ll do the same for you, too. It’s possible to stop the hamster wheel of feeling overwhelmed day in and day out and embrace the full, satisfied life Jesus planned for you.
Taken from Overwhelmed by Perry Noble. Copyright © 2014. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring church in South Carolina. for more information, please visit overwhelmedbook.com