Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed Pastors Corner

This episode identifies two ways that Christians can reduce stress and live joyfully
  1. Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed
  2. Overcoming stagnancy
  3. How to overcome insecurity
  4. The Power of a Seed
  5. What is the Holy Ghost Post Sermon

A few weeks ago, I made a very important decision. I disconnected from my cell phone, shut down everything, and disappeared into God’s office which most people call simply… the woods.

I was there for a meeting with our most wonderful Lord Jesus and He did not disappoint.

Even before I showed up, that still small Voice in my heart began to point out some things that I needed to change. I believe now that these “life pointers” are not just for my benefit but for yours as well.

So, let me share two strategies that can help you go from being an overwhelmed Christian to an overjoyed one.

The challenge

Each of us has a million things screaming at us each day. Tasks that need to be done, homework deadlines etc. And—sinner or saint—we all struggle with the constant daily grind. But God’s Word shows us that Jesus came so the Christian can have “life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b).

So how do we get rid of the anxiety and despair that sometimes stems from simply having a “to-do” list that’s just too much?

The Solution

First, remember that, while God will never give us more than we can bear, we can take on more than He meant for us to carry.

Simply put, ask yourself if the responsibilities on your shoulders are all part of God’s plan…or yours? This is where many of us make a critical mistake.

If we take too much upon ourselves—or allow others to push us into a situation where we’re trying to do God’s will PLUS their will—we run the risk of burning ourselves out and increasing our anxiety levels.

Remember, God is all about peace. Simplicity. Focusing on one major task that He has given us to accomplish.

This can be quite challenging, especially if you are a gifted person. Realize that every gift of God is also a burden. As the Scripture writes,

A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.

Proverbs 18:16

In other words, your talents and gifts will manifest themselves in ways that will connect you to others. Depending upon your gifts, this can easily translate into a spiritual or mental burden.

For example, Moses was gifted with leadership abilities and faith. While God had a purpose for these talents, they quickly became bogged in day-to-day decisions, and Moses became overwhelmed. Jethro wisely advised Moses not let his gifts control him and to let others shoulder that responsibility.

The point is, Moses was quickly becoming overwhelmed because he didn’t step back and focus his talents on the calling of God in his life. Like many of us, he had a heart for people and this streak in his nature would drive him to ruin if left unchecked.

The same is true for you. Control your gifts; don’t let them control you.

You might be gifted with a nature of compassion. If you’re not careful, you can take responsibilities onto your shoulders that God did not direct you to take. If that’s the case you will become overwhelmed.

Even though your desire is good and your motive may be pure, as Christians we must be wise stewards of our time and stress loads—especially now.

So, what do we do?

Warren Buffett is a billionaire and, one of the top ten wealthiest people in the world in 2020. He made a statement that I believe is a sound lesson for Christians to apply to their lives.

 “The difference between successful people and really successful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

Warren Buffett

Why do I believe we can learn something here? Because, although I don’t equate success with money, the truth is, that effective Christians live very focused lives. They live in ways that are centered around the calling God has placed within them.

Now, this doesn’t just mean the ministry. Your calling might be your career, it might be your role as a housewife, or a work in society, such as an orphanage etc. Whatever God has called you to do will bring its own share of burdens—burdens that God has promised will not overwhelm you.

Don’t go beyond the scope of that calling unless the Spirit specifically directs you to do so.

We sometimes feel guilty for turning down requests for help, especially from fellow believers. I’m not advocating for selfish living. I think we need to be willing to help one another even if it’s a sacrifice. But that has to be kept in balance.

If your sacrifice to help someone will hinder you from fulfilling other roles for which God has placed you on earth, then you need to say no.

The Lord Jesus lived an extremely focused life. And He did say “no.” Critics might consider Him myopic but not once did He go beyond the scope of the ministry that He had been given, although He had the power, the wisdom, and the talents necessary to do so.

For example, the zealots knew He was the perfect man for their cause. Jesus had the people in the palm of His hand. Just one word from Him and every Israelite who believed in Him would rally against the power of Rome. The Sadducees and Pharisees also recognized the potential political influence that Jesus could wield.

But the Scripture is clear:

But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men,

John 2:24

Focusing exclusively on the calling of His life caused Jesus to turn down many opportunities–including opportunities to serve. But in doing so, He was able to successfully accomplish the mission that had been entrusted to His care. As a result, the world would never be the same.

Final thoughts

God does not want you to be overwelmed. He does not want you to be stressed. His plan is that you rejoice continuously throughout this life, realizing His power and His presence more with each day. So don’t complicate you life by falling into the trap of equating success with productivity.

Don’t fill up each moment. Leave many empty spots in your day so that Christ can fill them with His goodness. In so doing, you will find that life is richer. Sweeter.

And, instead of being overwhelmed, you will be overjoyed at what God is doing in and through you.

This week, enrich your time with God by listening to:

Letting off the Pressure, 05.18.1962

Meditate on Psalm 103 (the whole chapter).

Overcoming stagnancy

Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed Pastors Corner

This episode identifies two ways that Christians can reduce stress and live joyfully
  1. Turn Overwhelmed into Overjoyed
  2. Overcoming stagnancy
  3. How to overcome insecurity
  4. The Power of a Seed

The Book of Ecclesiastes is one of my personal favorites. Not only is it rich in breathtaking imagery, but the wisdom that fills each verse is beyond human comprehension. Inspired by the Spirit of God, Solomon presents us with very realistic insights into life, death, and God’s plan for each of us between those two points.

In today’s post-sermon, I want to draw on Ecclesiastes 1 to focus on how to overcome stagnancy in our natural and spiritual lives.

The problem

Many times we find ourselves in spiritual/mental “ruts”. These are places where we can’t move forward. We feel stuck. Confused. Sometimes even like a prisoner.

We may pray or seek spiritual guidance, but we don’t always see the results that we want right away. Sometimes we need to cling to things or people too much and that hinders us from being able to move on. Our memories of the past can stop us from embracing what God has planned for our future.

No matter what the reason, we need to overcome stagnancy to grow into the men and women that Christ envisions.

The solution

One generation passes away and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth forever.

Ecclesiastes 1:4

To overcome stagnancy, we need to recognize that our time on this earth is too precious to stand still.

Change is all around us. Sometimes it is good and sometimes not. We can only live a full and complete life when we align ourselves with the opportunities for positive change that God brings to us.

On my way up to church this morning, I almost missed my exit off the highway because I saw a brilliant maple tree that lit up the road with its gorgeous leaves that were painted in shades of red.

What allowed that tree to change?

It accepted the fact that the season had turned. Somehow, unbeknownst to you and me, a message was sent to all creation in our area that the fall season is here.

Ecclesiastes 1 shows us that life is filled with great cycles. Distinct seasons of change happen—spring and summer, birth and death. They are all part a great circle that keeps our world turning.

If we hold onto one stage we will never be able to embrace the next. This is why the Christian must always look forward. That is why we must always be willing to let go of what we have now to accept what God has in store.

For that tree to stay in tune with God’s program, it had to change.

So do you and I. Stagnancy, or the refusal to let go of the past and move on, can keep us from fulfilling our part in God’s plan.

Sometimes we get a certain thought in our minds—a desire that we have or a goal that is un-reached. Stagnancy will keep us focused on that desire or goal while God may have another path to which He is trying to attract our attention.

Many of us have heard of Fanny Crosby, the author of more than 9,000 hymns. One of the first things that comes to mind about Fanny is that she was blind. She wasn’t born blind— her affliction came from the wrongful treatment of a pretended doctor. You can imagine the disappointment this produced, especially when it was followed by the death of her father a few months later.

A stagnant approach would be to focus on her blindness. But Fanny once made the following remark.

Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I was born blind? Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior.”

Fanny Crosby

Her refusal to remain stagnant—or to focus her attention on her condition instead of what she could do for the Lord—led Fanny Crosby to become one of the most influential songwriters of of all time. By age 23, she had addressed Congress and wrote hymns for several U.S. presidents.

Why? What allowed this woman to move forward instead of remaining stagnant?

When we understand that we only have this brief span of life to be all that God wants us to be, we become driven to accomplish God’s purpose. We embrace the challenges His Word offers us and grow by them. We accept the difficult situations of life, no matter how unpleasant, because we know that through them He is molding us into His image.

Yes, the earth endures but you and I only have a few heartbeats. So make every moment count.

What if a tree could talk? Imagine if it could say, “well I’m comfortable where I am. I don’t want to push forth the effort to grow or to change.” It would die. But all of nature portrays that change is life and life is change. Likewise, to be stagnant is to die on the inside. We must push forth the effort to grow in Christ and as human beings.

How do we deal with the past?

The past may comfort us. The past may be filled with things we’d rather forget. It can inspire us, or make us laugh. But the past should never rule over us. It should never dictate how we live in the present. Because today is a new day—a day that brings us closer to the Eternal Day which will never end.

Fanny Crosby died about a month before she turned 95. Her last verse of poetry read, “You will reach the river brink, some sweet day, bye and bye.” I’m confident that she got her wish and that the first face she saw was the Lord Jesus.

As our world and our lives change in ways most of us never imagined, let’s focus on our attitude.

Look inside. Do you recognize the opportunity that this new season brings to you? Or do you focus so much on the negative that you can’t see the beauty of what’s right ahead?

Recognize that we only have today. And, with that mindset, embrace God’s plan for this season in your life.

Brother Joseph

Recommended reading:

Ecclesiastes 1 (whole chapter)

1 John 2 (whole chapter)