January 2023 is over, and I am still unsure where it went. This past month has been one full of stress and anxiety. I have felt constantly exhausted and overwhelmed. Between my husband and myself we have had three family members in the hospital, one of whom had a very serious surgery. We have been spread between north and central Alabama, keeping our families going as well as our business going. Exhausted and overwhelmed is an understatement.
My husband is a good example of how to properly handle stressful situations, I on the other hand need a full-blown intervention! Luckily, the word of God provides ways to handle stress and what to do when you are feeling overwhelmed. We are going to look at six things to remember when you feel overwhelmed. These six simple steps have helped me so much this month and I hope they are able to help you as well.
Number 1: God has a plan for you! “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). When the plans you have completely fall through, don’t fret, God has plans for you better than you could ever imagine. I have major trouble with control. I am a true firstborn and love, I mean love, to make plans. In my mind, this month was not supposed to be this chaotic. It has been a struggle for me to let go of my strict plans and know that God has my life planned, and His plans will provide me the future I need. Knowing that God will take care of me has been such a comfort.
Number 2: God will make your “storm” calm. “That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:35-41). This could be an entire article by itself! I have been running around screaming I was about to drown, while God is just resting, waiting on me to come and asked for help. God is right there, resting in the midst of my full-blown break down, smack in the middle of my storm. He is there and willing to take your chaos and calm your life. When I remember this, the peace washes over me and I know that I will not drown.
Number 3: When you get off course, God will straighten your direction. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). There have been countless times this month when I did not understand why all the chaos and problems were piled on top of my husband and myself. I didn’t understand and I was so tired; I was so anxious. Then I remembered that God does understand what is happening in my life. I needed to pray about it and lean into His wisdom. Once I had submitted my thoughts and plans to him, I could see the straight path and the light at the end of the tunnel.
Number 4: Forgive, just as Christ has forgiven you. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32). Are your toes sore too? I didn’t realize how bitter I was until I was reading this passage in Ephesians. God has forgiven us and is so patient with us and he expects that of us as well. I have felt like we had taken on all of our families’ problems without much support and help from the other members of our family. I found myself angry and lacking kindness and patience. In reality, everyone is doing the best they can. I have to forgive others around me for not doing what I thought they should. That is not fair to them or to me. I hang on to bitterness towards them for something I expected them to do, something they weren’t even aware I wanted them to do. Doesn’t that sound silly. Forgiveness is truly for yourself. Once you forgive someone, you are able to be at peace.
Number 5: God accepts you as his own. “Because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son” (Hebrews 12:6). When a parent loves their child, they will discipline them. Discipline keeps you safe, it helps you stay on the correct path, it helps you keep your life focused on God. Feeling overwhelmed and so anxious has caused me to need God’s discipline. I needed to be reminded that I shouldn’t be a brat, and I was being a brat. Struggle in this life helps pull us closer to God and helps refine our faith.
Number 6: God is Always with you! “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). When you are a Christian, there is absolutely nothing to fear. God gives us a promise that he will never leave us. He goes everywhere with you. Even when this world is piling problems on top of us, we must remain strong and brave. Others will look to us as Christians to see how we react when we are overwhelmed and stressed. If we remain calm and strong, they will be encouraged by our faith and that can help bring them closer to God. What a wonderful, calming thought to know that God will never, ever leave us.
This week’s recipe is for chili, but not just any chili. This recipe is for Greek Chicken Chili. Not only is it delicious, but it is healthy and will be a great addition to your winter recipe rotation. As always, feel free to change up the veggies or meat to make this recipe work perfectly for your family.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).