Prayer for the overwhelmed

Sharing with you the prayer I shared today at the Internet Café… God, it’s too much. No matter how hard I try, how good my intentions, how little I sleep and how much I work, I can’t hold it together. Why do I feel like I have to? Why do I expect myself to be able ...

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Sharing with you the prayer I shared today at the Internet Café…

God, it’s too much. No matter how hard I try, how good my intentions, how little I sleep and how much I work, I can’t hold it together.

Why do I feel like I have to?

Why do I expect myself to be able to handle it all, fix everything, and do it without breaking a sweat?

Why do I let myself drown in worry and sorrow, sadness and fear?

Wash over me, Jesus. Wash away the emotions that drag me down. Lay Your hand on my weary head and calm the tumultuous emotions. Break the chains of things that weigh me down.

Carry this weight, Lord.

Carry me. And let me not worry that I’ve failed. Let me trust only in You. Renew the drive inside me and give me energy and hope. Make a way. Clear paths, open doors, transform my life.

It’s Yours, Lord, and I give it back to You. Asking—no, begging—You to make sense of it all. To untangle the knots that trip me up, over and over.

And let me know I’m not all alone. Remind me that You are with me, and that even when I don’t see or feel You, You remain beside me.

And no matter how lost I feel, how overwhelmed by the responsibilities I have and the things I cannot control, give me the certainty that it is not too much for You. Never too much for You.

Never too much.

And if this is not too much for You, and if You are right here with me, then I can do this. I can endure the hard moments, withstand the onslaught of too-much, and carry on. I will get through this. And when I come out on the other side (of this trial or sickness or deadline or broken heart or lack of resources), I will be stronger. Hardened by Your holy, refining fire. Made into something better, something more beautiful. Resilient and transformed.

And ready to face the next thing. Because there will always be something more—but that doesn’t have to discourage us, because there will also always be more of You. You endure. Never change. Always provide. Engender hope.

And remain faithful, always faithful. Amen.

Time to panic? Or time to just breathe?

Well, I went ahead and put my tree up on Thanksgiving day since my husband was home, even though I’m not sure I’m quite ready for all the associated Christmas clutter. To be honest, I just haven’t been all that into the holiday spirit the last few years. But I’m trying. Usually I wait until ...

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Well, I went ahead and put my tree up on Thanksgiving day since my husband was home, even though I’m not sure I’m quite ready for all the associated Christmas clutter.

To be honest, I just haven’t been all that into the holiday spirit the last few years. But I’m trying. Usually I wait until a week or two before to decorate, and it’s a lot of hassle to do all that work just for a couple weeks. Although, to be honest, if I put decorations up so late, then I’m not ready to take them down until late January. But by then, I’m sick and tired of all things holiday. So I figure if I don’t wait until two weeks before Christmas, then maybe I will be ready to take everything down at the start of the new year. And maybe, just maybe, I will enjoy the season.

Don’t get me wrong. I love what Christmas really means. I love that we can celebrate Emmanuel, “God-with-us.” I love even more that God is actually with us. I love that we can take this opportunity to be intentional about doing things for others and finding ways to show people that they matter.

I guess it should be no surprise that my favorite Christmas song is Silent Night. Because silence is what I long for, and holidays are nothing if not noisy (visually, emotionally, and literally).

Am I the only one who feels overwhelmed? Who dreads seeing the first trees in the stores? Who feels claustrophobic from the holiday clutter on every surface of your house? Do you have kids in college who, as much as you love to see them, you’d love even more if they didn’t bring so much clutter with them? Do you have a tender spot in your heart, knowing that your mom/dad/sister/brother/spouse/child/grandparent/friend is not here with you and knowing it will be a battle not to let the sadness overwhelm you? Do holidays remind you of past (or current) family squabbles? Do you worry about how to make your money stretch? Or are you fine with it all but still feel stressed trying to coordinate all the cooking for dinner, wrapping presents, attending various holiday functions, and so on?

I’m sitting here laughing at myself right now. I’m writing this as though I have the answer… and if we just keep reading, we’ll find out how to handle it all. I’m just as excited as you are. What will I say?

Hmm…

Nah, I got nuthin’.

And yet, deep down, below the part of me that feels rather defensive and justified in my frustration, who wants to kick and complain, who likes to whine and be a martyr, I think I know the answer.

It’s always the answer: Draw near to God.

I don’t mean this to be cute. I won’t pretend it’s simple or easy and instantly fixes all.

Also, I don’t want to saddle you with additional responsibilities. Additional tasks to transform your spiritual life in five steps… five steps you don’t have time to do. Five more unchecked lines on your to-do list, the one that’s longer than Santa’s naughty list.

But let’s try something together, something simple. And natural. So natural it doesn’t even require conscious thought, normally. After all, part of what makes Christmas so miraculous is that Jesus came to earth to be with us. To lead us, teach us, and pay what we were unable to pay ourselves. So it makes sense that the best way to celebrate this miracle is to be aware of it. To give thanks for it. To breathe in the presence of God until it calms our soul, stills our scattered minds.

Just breathe.

Every day, whether it’s at the same time every morning or at some random moment during your overly-busy schedule, stop. And breathe. Eyes closed. Deep, soothing breaths. Set your mind on Him. Picture Jesus, and breathe Him in. His presence gives life. He brings renewal. He restores. He gives hope. And He provides rest for the weary.

I don’t know about you, but boy, do I need every single one of those things.

And I believe this or I wouldn’t say it: if we stop, if we allow ourselves to just breathe, if we fix our minds on Him for even a moment, we will see Him. We will find Him. And we will find the strength to keep moving. If we do it enough, we’ll realize the holidays are a reason to celebrate. We’ll notice oh-so-much good in the midst of the busyness. And our souls will breathe easy.

Because He is here. He really is. And I don’t want to waste another moment without Him.


New prayer prompt calendar for the month of December is ready. Click to download (free to blog subscribers).


 

Looking for a personalized Christmas gift? I’d love to sign copies of Praying Upside Down for your friends and family. How would this work? A couple options:

  • If you have a book and live in the area, email me through my “Get In Touch” page and we’ll arrange a time to meet so I can sign it.
  • Have Amazon or Barnes & Noble deliver the book to me. Then I’ll sign and mail it to you. Shipping (USPS flat rate envelope) is $5.75, and I can send you a payment request through PayPal.
  • Or, if I have books on hand, you can pay me through PayPal and I’ll sign them and mail to you. Cost of book is $15 and I will throw in shipping.

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