“What’s wrong with me? I can’t think…I can’t focus…I can’t even…even…Gahas;ldkfj;ahgdjf…”
That, my friends, is the sound of overwhelmed. It also happens to be a direct quote from me that my husband heard multiple times over the past several weeks.

Yeah, I finished the pre-Thanksgiving blog series on healthy boundaries with family only to find I needed a refresher on healthy boundaries with myself. There’s just so much to do! So much that legitimately needs done (kids gotta eat and wear clean clothes at least 90% of the time and stuff…), and so much that I want to do, and so many fun things we could do. It’s Christmas!
I’m still learning to say no.
I still have this habit of trying to do all the things, all by myself.
I’m still figuring out how to sort necessary things (including physical, spiritual, and emotional rest) out from the extra things.
Therefore, I still occasionally break down with the crying and the panicking and the repetitious I can’t even-ing.

Anybody else?
It’s just me?

Since Dorian is an emotional carbon-copy of me (I’m so sorry, kid) he puts the same pressure on himself and gets overwhelmed and implodes.
Last night it was about math homework, and as soon as I started talking him through it, the moment the words left my mouth, I knew I was talking to myself too.
“Feeling overwhelmed is not a signal to quit. It means you need to break your task up into little, necessary pieces and do one necessary piece at a time until it’s done. Then you can reward yourself!”

Of course there is a time for setting things aside and making time for necessary rest, but there is also the reality that sometimes rest comes after you get necessary stuff done.
There are so many blog and social media posts about rest and self-care with warm fuzzy pictures, and honestly they frustrate me (even when they’re true). They don’t always account for the reality of an intensely busy season. Not just the holiday season, but a life-season that could span anywhere from a couple of months to several years. A candlelight bath or a glass of wine isn’t going to sustain me over the long haul.

“Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. “

Psalm 54:4

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

When life is overwhelming with necessary things you actually have to get done for survival reasons (mailing Christmas cards is a matter of life and death, right? No? Okay…), smash that task into tiny pieces (like the glass Christmas ornament you thought would be safe from your toddler on the tree…) and do one piece at a time. Don’t look at the next piece until the one your working on is finished.

Stop telling yourself that’ll never work, or you won’t be able to stay focused, or just one more episode of whatever you’ve been bingeing to distract yourself.
Pick how you’re going to reward yourself when this task is done, look forward to it, and savor it when you get there!

We never do anything alone. God is always available to help us, to talk us down when we’re overwhelmed, to help us see what is necessary and what can be saved for a later reward. What are you going to ask him for help with this holiday?

Published by Sara Hall

Hi! My name is Sara. I'm a minister, author, and counselor in Oklahoma. I help people overcome the emotional barriers that prevent them from having their best possible relationships with God and others by helping people discover practical ways to apply Scripture to their everyday lives. My husband, Steven, and I have been married 15 years and we have two sons. We also own and operate a company called ModScenes.com which serves churches and businesses with modular stage backdrops for their services and events!

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  1. Hi Sara, I just realized I have not read your blog posts in a while. This season can be overwhelming. Thank God you know the issues to address. Yes, focusing on one task at a time makes things less overwhelming. I do that and it helps. Prioritize tasks and focus on just completing one task at a time.

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