Y’all, we are about as halfway through the year as it gets (without, you know, all the math and ‘well, technically . . .’) Has it gone by fast for you, or has the time crawled by? I’ll admit that, for the most part, the time has inched away while in the mess of things, but when I come up for air, it’s flowed right on by without any proper salutation, like the white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.
I can’t help but look at all the days crossed off the calendar and panic, thinking ‘But I haven’t done anything yet! Where did the time go? What have I been doing??!’
Have you been there? Are there any goals you wanted to reach for this year, then got distracted by all the other things? If not, and you’ve been able to stay focused and make real headway on whatever it is you set out to accomplish, I applaud you. Teach me your ways, because I added so many other items on my to-do list that the original intent has gotten lost in the scribbles.
It looks at me with sad eyes every time I catch a glimpse, and I say, ‘I’ll get to you, I just need to finish xyz.’ Then time does this weird thing called passing, taking no prisoners, and all of a sudden the year’s half over and I’ve made no real steps forward.
I’m talking about my book, in case you were wondering. I’d set out at the beginning of the year with the intension to finish the draft rewrite on my manuscript, then proceeded to sign up for street teams and cover reveals, Realm Makers, sewing projects, etc. and the poor thing’s been left in the dust.
When you volunteer yourself so much to the world, it's easy to ignore what you're working on alone with the Lord.
There’s a balance, of course. There always is. But it’s easy for us to get out of balance, isn’t it? I know it is for me. I stress so much over being involved and present and seen on the social scene that I loose sight of why I joined the community to begin with. And all the things pile up, and eventually those things that were supposed to be fun have become tasks. What was supposed to be recreational causes nothing but stress, and every day is spent trying to muster the energy to get it all done on time.
Which brings me to the title of this post. I don’t know if ‘whelmed’ is actually a word. I didn’t look it up. But I remember the phrase from a TV show I watched with a friend of mine a while back. One of the characters would jovially say ‘Stay whelmed!’ out of the thinking that it was the natural middle ground—the balance—between overwhelmed (which was stressful) and underwhelmed (which was dreadfully boring).
Right now, I’m in a season of feeling overwhelmed, and I’m 97.2% sure you have been in seasons like that yourself, friend. We take on more than we can reasonably handle, bite off more than we can chew, then exhaust ourselves trying to keep up while forgetting and neglecting what’s truly important. We worry about doing enough, having enough, relying on our own (feeble) strength, surviving rather than thriving.
And you know what? That grieves the Lord.
What living like that says is that we don't trust God to take care of us, to provide what we need when we need it.
To keep doing more and taking more onto our plate, thinking that it’s up to us to get abc done, shows that we don’t believe God can pull through. That we can do it on our own.
Well, friends. Not-so-Fun-Fact: We can’t. We get overwhelmed. Burned out. Stressed. Discouraged. We become automatons in a constant state of flurry just doing life and not actually living life.
In the midst of my hydra of a to-do lists and abominably messy schedule, I was reminded of what Jesus said about worry in Matthew 6:25-34. If God feeds the birds and clothes the fields and notices the sparrows, how much more can he provide for us?
How much joy and peace have we been cheating ourselves out of by telling our creator 'I got this, I can do it on my own. I don't need you.'?
What a slap in the face, right? Because he knows better than we ever could. And he loves us more than we could ever understand, because no matter how many times we push his hand away, he’s always right there when we realize we don’t ‘got it’ after all. God doesn’t do take-backs. What a glorious blessing!
We can’t do everything by ourselves. We are finite beings and need repeated reminders that the God who tells the ocean where to stand and causes the rain to fall in its season will also take care of us out of his infinite love. He’s got a plan, and his timing is perfect. We just need to trust him with our needs and desires. To do life with our Lord and rest in his incomprehensible peace.
So when you fill your arms up with things rather than laying them at the foot of the cross, remember this: the one who made you doesn’t want to stand by as a spectator and judge how much you can handle. He made you because he wants to do everything you do with you. Together. He’s got the strength to handle any and everything we can unload and knows exactly what to do with it.
Psalm 46 speaks well to this, but the most well-known verse is 10a: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
When we remember who God is, the things of this world pale and fade in comparison, shifting into proper perspective, and all I can tell you, friends, is that when I take a moment to be still and remember my God and Savior, I am filled with sweet, sweet relief.
God has everything well in hand. So I encourage you to step back, look to the Lord, and stay whelmed.