My brain is going to explode.
For so long, I guess since the kids left home, my calendar has been blissfully quiet and slow –just the way my introverted, home-body soul likes it. But I have some new irons in the fire these days. These are lovely irons to which God has directed me, but they require time commitments that are shocking my normal routine.
“I can’t do this” is my M.O. Followed by paralysis. Followed by shortness of breath.
But some of my learning over the last year is coming into play, and I’m finding a new way to live instead of in the land of overwhelmed.
The first idea I’ve been considering is that “overwhelmed” is an illusion of Satan. All this last year, I’ve been pondering what I read in Life without Lack, by Dallas Willard. With his encouragement, I’ve been working to practice what I find in Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.” (NIV) If I feel overwhelmed, Satan is trying to convince me that I simply don’t have what it takes to live what’s in front of me in this day, this week, this month. He is distracting me from worshiping the Good Shepherd who is rich in resources and who always stands ready to give me whatever I need and a whole lot more.
I’ve also been thinking about the YouTube videos I listened to while I was painting the house this summer, called How to Detox Your Brain, by Caroline Heath. She’s a brilliant neuroscientist who teaches about growing healthy brains as we pray and worship God in our minds. God created our brains, and they are incredible. She says we are “neuroplasticians” who can literally change the growth of our brain material. She also says we can do four to seven brain functions at once, which means we “were designed to do busy well.” So in my feeling of being overwhelmed these days, I’ve been stopping to worship the Creator of my brain and have being saying to myself, No, God made my brain to be able to think in many directions. My brain can do this. IT WILL NOT EXPLODE OR BE INJURED by thinking about all of these irons I have in the fire.
I’ve also been listening to an audio book that my brother gifted me (Thanks, Bro!) It’s called The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson, and he talks about how Satan always wants to shut us down by making us feel ashamed. He wants us to feel weak and “not enough” and paralyzed, so that we give up on doing the good work God has put in front of us.
So I’m combining all of this rich truth these days:
God made my brain to be able to function in many directions.
I can use my brain to plan and calendar well, so that I’m getting work done but also taking care of myself and my home.
God is the Resourceful Shepherd who can give me whatever I need to do what he has asked me to do. I only need to ask.
I need to be a sheep and only worry about the grass in front of me, trusting the Shepherd will be there to care for me in all of the days down the road.
I need to be a sheep. Dependent, weak, and needy.
I need to be attentive to thoughts of shame creeping in –Satan whispering in my ear that there’s no way I can do all of this. I can ditch the language of shame, including the word “overwhelmed” and say to myself, God made me to be able to work hard and to think in complex situations. I can do the work in front of me and ask him to supply the need every day.
I’ll add, here at the end, that yesterday I started to panic about writing a blog post. I really wanted to sit down and write but felt like there was no way I could do it. Pretty soon I felt tightness in my chest and wasn’t breathing. So I practiced all that I’ve just written here and calmed down. In place of panicking, I said, “Lord, you know I want to write a blog post. Will you help me? Will you give me an idea to write and the time to write it?” Well, here I am at 5:22 in the morning, after a good night of sleep that was a gift of God. You are reading the very answer to my prayer.
Let’s leave the word “overwhelmed” behind, shall we? We can discard the language of “I can’t” and pick up the language of worship, meditating on the greatness of God and what he has created us to be able to do. To say, “With God’s help, I can” is to live in beautiful, life-changing faith.
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