Why am I overwhelmed? Find peace in the chaos.

Why Am I Overwhelmed? 10 Reasons Why

     Why am I always overwhelmed? Do you ever find yourself wondering that? There can be a lot of things in life that make us feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, those things are out of our control. But, there are many areas where we can do things to make life simpler and less stressful. Let’s look at 10 things that could be causing you stress and some things you can do to help eliminate it!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Isaiah 41:10

1. Your Mind Has Blown Things Out of Proportion

     Does this ever happen to you, or is it just me? You lie awake, mulling over everything you need to do tomorrow instead of getting the peaceful rest that you need. The longer you think about your to-do list, the bigger and more overwhelming it looks. From your tired and sleepy state, you don’t see how you’ll ever be able to get everything done that you need to.

     By the light of the next morning and after getting some sleep, the list doesn’t look as bad as it did, but it still seems overwhelming. Do you think that’s a good way to start your day? No! Being overwhelmed can be paralyzing.

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:34

Old fashioned key lying on Bible

2. You’re Meditating on Your To-do List Instead of God’s Word

     So, what is the problem that is causing your mind to blow things out of proportion and make you overwhelmed? You are meditating on your to-do list.

     Instead of lying in bed thinking of everything that you have to do and getting worked up over it, you should be focusing on things that are lovely and of a good report. We should be meditating on Scripture and thinking about God and His power. Do you think your to-do list looks overwhelming to Him? Absolutely not! He can speak stars into existence. Your to-do list is not intimidating to Him.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Philippian 4:8

     When you are intimidated by your to-do list, you are leaving God out of the equation. We don’t have to do things on our own – in fact, we can’t do things on our own! Look to Jesus and rely on His strength. Replace those overwhelming thoughts with meditating on Scripture verses and the character of our wonderful God.

3. You’re Focusing on Your To-do List and Not What Is Done

     Sometimes, we look at things out of proportion. We get so focused on one thing, that we forget about a lot of other things. In this case, I’m talking about your to-do list. It’s easy to get trapped looking only at what we have to do and forgetting all the things the Lord has already helped us to get done. We rush on to the next thing without stopping to thank Him for His help with the last one.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

     How many times have you been so overwhelmed trying to get ready for something at the last minute and felt like you would never make it? If you’re like me, this has happened a lot of times. And you know what? The silly thing is that even though somehow the most pressing things always seem to get done, I still get stressed out the next time. Instead of stressing, let’s remember and give thanks for how God has helped us in the past, seek His help for the present, and go forward in His strength, doing the next thing He has given us.

Fountain pen on notebook

4. You Haven’t Written a To-do List 

     This is a big stress inducer. When you have a to-do list that feels about a mile long but you don’t have it written down, your mind has to keep juggling it so that you don’t forget anything. Maybe you are thinking, “I don’t have time to write it down.” I think that if you would take the time to write it down anyway, you would find it worth it in the long run.

     By giving your mind a rest, you will be better able to focus on doing the things you need to do. Plus, you can have the added satisfaction of crossing things off the list and seeing your progress add up!

5. You’re Trying to Juggle Too Many Things

     Let’s face it. Sometimes we are allowing our minds to blow our to-do lists out of proportion and make them appear impossible. Other times, our to-do lists really are much too long.

     If you find yourself always having a to-do list that is bigger than the amount of time you have, then it may be time to sit down and evaluate some things. Are there some things you need to eliminate from your schedule? Are there certain areas where you are spending too much time to the detriment of other areas in your life? Ask the Lord to show you, and be willing to follow Him where He leads. Remember, He isn’t giving you more to do than what He is giving you time and strength.

Sharing a bouquet of yellow flowers

6. You Hurry and Make Yourself Feel Rushed

     Maybe in the past, you always felt behind and like you had to rush. Rushing can become a habit. I’m speaking from experience. I struggle with procrastinating and then having to rush around at the last minute. The Lord is helping me in this area, but I still have room for growth.

     Possibly you really aren’t that behind, but you have made rushing such a habit that you do it without thinking about it. Learn to slow down. Enjoy the task that you are working on. Embrace the God-given responsibility. Be aware of your surroundings. Walk more slowly. Relax. Use your 5 senses to enjoy the beauty God has put around you. Slow down. Be present. Take time to praise the Lord as you work!

7. Your Surroundings Are Stressful and Unorganized

     Even if your to-do list is not too full, having a cluttered environment can make you overwhelmed. If you need to cook supper but have stacks of dishes sitting around, you will probably feel overwhelmed, even if the job itself is not hard. Maybe you need to do some work at your computer, but your desk is piled. You need to do laundry, but your laundry room is cluttered.

     Assess your surroundings. Are they contributing to your stress? What simple thing could you do today to improve your surroundings and lower your stress levels? Maybe you can’t do it all at once, but you could start. Wash one load of dishes. Sort one stack of papers. Put away a few items. Keep doing this every day, and you will be surprised the difference it can make! Little tasks done consistenly can be life changing.

Lady holding Bible

8. You’re Not Prioritizing the Most Important Things

     This is a big one. Maybe you are looking at your to-do list wrong. Instead of focusing on the most important things first, you may pick the ones that look the most fun or the easiest.

     Maybe you tell yourself, “I’m too busy to read my Bible this morning. If I wait until my to-do list is done, then I’ll enjoy it more.” All too often, your to-do list never gets done, and the Bible reading never happens or is a few minutes rushed reading before bed. This is not surprising. Waiting until you have finished your work to read your Bible is like waiting until you have driven to the store to put gas in your car. It’s like waiting until you have done all your work for the day to eat and get energy.

     We need to meet with God first thing in the day to receive the strength for what He has called us to that day. No matter how long your to-do list is, you still need to connect with Jesus first!

     Begin to put the most important things first. Time with the Lord. Time with your family. The goals the Lord has given you. Don’t wait until your to-do list is done to do the most important things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

9. You Let Little Things Pile Up

     Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed, we start thinking that everything is out of control and needs our attention. Often, it’s not really as out of control as it seems. Sit down and think things through. What are the specific things that are going around in your mind and making you feel overwhelmed?

     Often, it’s the little things that pile up and make life seem out of control. Maybe you keep a journal and have gotten behind, and that’s hanging over your head. You could be feeling overwhelmed because you have texts and emails that you need to answer. Or, maybe you have dishes stacking up or a pile of laundry that is growing.

     If you will take the time to figure out what is causing you the stress, then you will be better equipped to do something about it. Focus on the things that are stressing you out. With the Lord’s help, knock out some of these tasks instead of letting them continue to build and overwhelm you.

Hand holding phone. A phone can definitely be an area where we stumble with procrastination.

10. You Are Letting Technology Control You

     Judging from my own personal experience, I should probably mention this point. We live in a technology-driven world. It’s easy to let it begin to take over and drive our lives. In fact, a lot of it is designed to be addictive and control us. As Christians, we are not to let it control us. We are to be led by the Holy Spirit. But, even as Christians, we are not exempt from becoming addicted to it.

All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

1 Corinthians 6:12

     This is why we need boundaries. Two days ago, I started making it a target goal to not be on my computer after 5:00. So far, I haven’t gotten off quite that early, but it has already helped tremendously for me to be off of it most of the evening and doing other things. It gives me time to be with my family, read, write in my journal, and do other things that I kept pushing off.

     I don’t know what technology boundaries you need in your life, but I do believe that we all need them. Pray about it. See what the Lord leads you to do. I’ve found it helpful to “hide” my phone from myself so that it is out of sight and I don’t keep absentmindedly picking it up without thinking about what I’m doing. Just saying you’re going to “cut back” is not enough. Devices are addictive, and you need a concrete plan to keep them from controlling you.

Simple Takeaway

  1. Ask the Lord what He would have you do. Seek His strength in doing it. Give Him thanks for His help!
  2. Write out a to-do list, don’t keep thinking about it, and don’t make it too long.
  3. Work on the little things, and don’t let them pile up. Do the important things, and don’t put them off.

Let’s Chat!

     What things make you feel overwhelmed? Which of these points would help you with the things that overwhelm you? I’d love to hear about it!

     Until next time, go in the strength of the Lord, and don’t let the overwhelm keep you from His best for you!

In Christ,

Bethany

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4 Comments

  1. How did you know exactly the biggest stressor of my life right now?! I really needed this, especially since I started the day like any other – looking at a long to-do list, dreading and procrastinating, always trying to do the easy things first, and then never getting to the big stuff that really matters.

    Thank you for this! I’m going to bookmark it so I can come back to it when the overwhelm sets in.

  2. Aww, praise the Lord for using this post to speak to you right where you are, Amy!! That blesses my heart. I’m praying for you as you continue pressing on in the Lord’s strength, focusing on the things He has for you!! One reason I could speak to where you are is because I know what it’s like. Just today, the Lord brought to mind something from the post and used it to bless me. He’s so wonderful to bring just the right thought and encouragement we need!!

  3. Àgape says:

    Bethany, thank you so much for the encouragement!
    How do you find the balance between doing the important, bigger things/goals and keeping up with the little things? That’s what I’m up against right now. So many little things…
    Another thing… any tips for keeping a Master List that actually works? I write out a huge master list, but then hardly ever refer to it, because so many other, urgent daily things come up and I have plenty to do without looking at it. What do I do?

    1. You’re so welcome, Agape! Thank you for commenting! I think one thing that helps a lot with the little things is to not let them pile up. For example, maybe you struggle with having emails pile up. Wait to check your email until you have time to answer one or two if there are any that need to be answered. If you do them right away, then they won’t pile up to where you have a long to-do list of little things. This could apply to any other little things you have to do.
      As far as accomplishing that to-do list of little things that you already have, maybe you could start with one or two larger tasks in the day, then fill in the gaps with some little things. There will always be little things to fill in the gaps with, but if you always start with them, then you may never get to the bigger things.
      I have found that what is working pretty well for me right now is to have yearly goals. When I plan my monthly goals, I look at my yearly goals. Then, I plan my weekly goals from my monthly goals and break those down further into daily goals one day at a time. I’m not always consistent with this, but it seems to be working well for me this month so far. Maybe you could try that with your master list. Use it to base your monthly or weekly goals on. Keep the master list with your other lists so that you can easily refer back to it and use it for planning your to-do lists.
      God bless you as you continue planning for and living for Him, Agape!

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