Overwhelmed – A Devotion

Overwhelmed

Isaiah 61:10-11 (NLT)

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.

 

Remember a while back, the game application came out called Temple Run. In “Indiana-Jones-like” fashion, the player would take off running from the entrance to a temple being chased by the guards who resembled evil ape-like creatures. Scaling walls, avoiding trees and clearing obstacles, the runner would continue being pursued until they made an error only to be overcome by the predators chasing them. The game was addicting and most of our family got caught up playing it endlessly trying to make it the farthest on the route. I played the game briefly before deleting it from my phone completely. At first, it seemed fun but then became stressful as the enemy would catch us. I found that I didn’t like being pursued like that even if in animated form. It would get me all riled up. My stomach in knots and nerves tangled up over nothing at all. I have decided that it was the feeling of being overwhelmed that I found so distasteful and still do to this day. We choose what will overwhelm us each day. Being overwhelmed is not a physical state of being but a mental and emotional decision that can be changed by the Power of God that is found in His Great Love for us. However, most of us set out each day like the adventurer in the game, Temple Run in hopes that we can stay just one step ahead of the enemy and make our way through our day. But the Lord is speaking to overwhelmed hearts and minds today telling “us” that we do not have to live like that anymore.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! I want to be that person. He has dressed me with the clothing of salvation, I am truly thankful for such a gift. He has draped me in a robe of His Righteousness that does not fit properly over the sin I hang on to but each day I work to make it more fitting by His Grace, Mercy and Love. He is my bridegroom. He has promised to be a good husband and proven so thus far. Everyone will praise Him and it should begin with me. Why do I get caught up in the worries, cares and anxieties of life when I am promised such a marvelous future? I am overwhelmed but not as I should be. I should be overwhelmed by His Love.

Psalm 142

I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord’s mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.
Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, “You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you are good to me.”

 

Are you overwhelmed today? I feel that way but I am confused in this place. In dealing with our son’s illness and the uncertainty of it, I do not feel this unsettling inside me but I am overcome by peace. Yet, now in everyday life I feel pursued to the point of exhaustion. The pressure is almost crushing as I try to cram everything that everyone expects of me into a human schedule with its own limitations. I feel dumb to feel this way after having gone through so much to be overwhelmed by ordinary life but I am transparent today. It finally hit me that my mind is exhausted. My thoughts are constantly spinning. I feel just a step in front of the rolling responsibilities that I feel are pursuing me. Either I will get on top of them or they will plow over me and each day I am just as surprised as you are at the outcome. I left the refuge that I made my home in that is the Peace of God. I had no intention of vacating the premises but someone has flushed me out into the open. I am surrounded by people yet find no real help. No one can do for me what My God can do for me. I find solace in the careful reminder from My God who loves me so that He is “my place of refuge” and that He is “all that I really want.” God is good to me. When I feel overwhelmed by anything other than His Love than something is amiss and it is up to me to find my way back into His Presence to get all wrapped up in His Love once again.

Did you know that to be overwhelmed is a state of mind? Overwhelm means to overcome completely in mind or feeling, to be overcome or overpowered buried beneath a heavy load or emotional burden. It is an overpowering or excessive amount of anything. It means that the Holy Spirit has been overthrown of ruler of our heart and mind as the enemy invades our thoughts crushing our faith in fear, worry and doubt. When we are overwhelmed by our thoughts, it puts our heart in fear and bondage once again choking out the peace, love and joy that the Spirit of God is working through our life. We must commandeer our thoughts and surrender them once again.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NLT)

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 

 

We are only human. Disappointing as it is, we have certain limitations that must be accommodated in order to protect our heart and mind from becoming overwhelmed. Before we will win the battle in our mind, we must learn to care for our natural man. For example, we need to eat properly, get plenty of rest, and yes, even that dreaded word exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in our body that help our mind function properly. You know the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Well, this is true. A well-balanced life of mind, spirit and body are essential. It is alarming the rate of obesity in the House of God today. We must care for our temple to be better serve God. Exit the soapbox, if we are poorly nourished, overtired and easily exerted, how will we ever finish the race? Once we properly care for our human physique, it better accompanies our spiritual stride. Now we can take better hold of God’s Mighty Weapons which are spiritual. How? Because we are not physically exhausted and overrun in the natural so we can focus on the spirit man more effectively. We must learn to attach our Knowledge of God to every single thought we think and task we encounter. God in everything is the only way to succeed in it all without being overwhelmed. The enemy is powerless in our life where God is present. The Holy Spirit will inhabit those who allow Him to do so. He will work in those who release Him freely in their life. This does not mean that we do not have to swing the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God through our life bringing down every “proud obstacle”. You may be as surprised as I was to discover that from time to time that obstacle in my life bears a fierce resemblance to myself.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NLT)

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 

I am beginning to think that it will take my entire life to fully discover the true meaning of these words and the sufficiency of God’s Grace. It just keeps stretching and spreading over more and more of my life. My grace is all that you need. The Lord keeps reminding me of this over and over again. His Power works best in my weakness because it is such a state that I finally let go. When I am weak, then and only then am I made strong. Humbly I begin to comprehend that I feel overwhelmed because somewhere along the way I have tried to assume full responsibility for my life again rather than continuing to rely on the Grace and Power of God that He has given to me. We are all naturally independent. Yet, we depend on others more than God without even knowing it. We expect them to see that we are buried in our responsibilities and help us out. We hope that they will help us get through this tough season feeling abandoned when they don’t. We cannot see that they too are barely getting by. We do not really care because of the pressure overwhelming our heart, captivating our thoughts and overtaking our mind. God is whispering to me today, “My grace is STILL all that you need. My power STILL works best in weakness.” Could it be that this overwhelming feeling that I am having is as easy to forget as a silly video game that consumed way too many hours of my life?

Romans 8:37-39 (NLT)

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

To fully accept the truth that NOTHING can ever separate us from the Love of God and applying this truth to every aspect of our life will keep us from becoming buried in the trenches of this life. (Psalm 65:10) God’s desire is to bless you! His Goodness is pursing us every day of our life. When we are convinced of this, we will stop being overwhelmed with life and choose to be overtaken by His Great Love. The Glory of God promised to us is far greater than anything that we can imagine so it is too easy to take hold of lesser things. (2 Corinthians 3:9-11) We become overcome by temporary problems and make permanent decisions when everything is subject to change. The closer we are to the Lord and deeper we move into His Presence by faith the bolder His Intervention in our life as His Glory, Power and Goodness finally make it to us. We will have a peace that passes all understanding just like He promised. The Lord has promised perfect peace to those who trust Him and fix their thoughts there, too. (Isaiah 26:3) The opposite of overwhelm is to encourage. The Lord is encouraging those who are overwhelmed today that you don’t have to live this way anymore.

Psalm 18:1-3; 25-36 (NLT)

I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.

 

To the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity. To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. You light a lamp for me. The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness. In your strength I can crush an army; with my God I can scale any wall. God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. For who is God except the Lord? Who but our God is a solid rock? God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.  He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.

Reading these words of David, I am encouraged. I like King David. He was not perfect but his heart was after the Lord. Even when he messed up, David was quick to find his way home to the refuge found in the Presence of God. The Lord was faithful to David simply because of his sold-out heart. I love the Lord. He is my strength today. I must learn to rely heavily on Him with my whole life and not just parts of my life that I have chosen to delegate to the Lord. I must surrender my life to the Lord once again to be overwhelmed by His Great Love for me. Jesus Christ has overcome the world and everything in it. If I fully surrender my life to Christ, that same power that conquered the grave lives in me, works its way through my life and changes the impossibilities to probabilities. It is a head decision to give up before God. It is a heart decision to fully give in to Jesus Christ. It is my decision to be overwhelmed by His Great Love today and every day for the rest of my life.

John 16:33 (NLT)

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

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