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Feeling Overwhelmed? Find Calm in the Midst of Chaos
We all have them—those times when life feels overwhelming. Perhaps you are experiencing a strained or broken relationship, a lost job, financial or medical worries, or even the unrelenting busyness that can come from juggling your family’s conflicting schedules. You find yourself feeling stressed and edgy, as if just one more thing will tip the scales and you’ll be hopelessly unable to cope. What can you do?
Delight in God's Word
When similar issues present themselves in my own life, I try to keep my thoughts focused on God and not my problem. I spend time reading psalms, because they soothe me. In fact, Psalm 34:17 tells us that “the righteous cry, and the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” I also take a good hard look at the situation to see if there is something I can do or not do or change that might help relieve my anxiety. Taking positive action—even just a small step—can do wonders for my mood.
Praise Him Until the Hurting Stops
Some years ago when I was faced with what felt like insurmountable grief, I began to praise God daily for His blessings in my life. Now that might not seem like much, but at the time I couldn’t think of even one blessing that I could praise God for...or so I thought. Still, I decided to try. The first day, I halfheartedly thanked Him for being alive. It wasn’t much, but it was a start. I doggedly kept at it, and soon I began to have an increased sensitivity to God’s movement in my situation. The result? Praising Him became easier and easier, and over time, the crushing anguish I felt began to dissipate.
Focus on Something Bigger Than Your Circumstances
I’ve also learned that when I’m stressed, I need to remove myself from my daily routine and find a place where I can focus on the Lord, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes. I have read that Susannah Wesley, a mother of nineteen children including the prodigious soul-winners Charles and John Wesley, found her place of rest by throwing her apron over her head. Her children knew that when Mother covered her head, she was praying, and they shouldn’t interrupt. I suspect that you won’t need an apron to get away for a few moments of reflection and prayer—a comfortable chair can do just as well.
And if you drink a cup of homemade herbal tea, the soothing brew will refresh and calm you as you bring your petitions to God and find those points of praise.
Soothing Herbal Tea
- Mix together equal parts dried lemon balm, chamomile, and peppermint. (Add one part valerian root if you have trouble sleeping at night, but save this combination for before-bed drinking.)
- To use, steep 1 teaspoon of the herbs in a cup of boiling water.
- Strain out the herbs, add some honey if desired, and drink a cup several times a day, either warm or iced.
When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I know to pray, because the darkness that seems to surround me will flee when encompassed by the Lord’s light, and I know that I will find peace when I seek His face, so “because [God] bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” (Psalm 116:2 NLT).
Blessings and peace,