Indeed, there's an old saying: If the devil can't make you bad, he'll make you busy! If you've found your way to this article, chances are, you're familiar with the nagging void that grows when we feel distant from God. You've likely sensed that missing fragment of peace, clarity, and confidence, quietly calling you from the last oasis of intimate connection with Him - form your heavenly seat with Christ.
As we navigate through the world, sometimes the burdens we bear can make even the thought of reaching out to God feel like a tall task on a to-do list. But these burdens are not ours to shoulder alone. When we find ourselves neglecting to cast our burdens on Him, it helps to remember that He is eager to help, and when we just show up, He already knows what we need. If you're looking for resources to strengthen your prayer life and tap into the full power of prayer, you can find further guidance in my blog post, "The Power of Written Prayer: A Path to Deeper Intimacy with God"
Resting in God's Presence
Where can we lay down our burdens, if not at the feet of God?
Acknowledging His presence in our lives is the starting point.
God's presence isn't confined to your prayer closet. His ear
isn't closed off when you rise from your knees. Acknowledge His presence, His listening ear, His compassionate care for you, all throughout your day. Take a moment, breathe deeply, and let the awareness of His nearness wash over you. here are some other ways to enter into His peaceful presence:
Focus on God's attributes: Think about His sovereignty, His long-suffering, His timelessness, etc. This can help anchor your faith during times of stress and overwhelm.
Pursue thankfulness: In the midst of your storm, intentionally pursue thankfulness. Recognize His past faithfulness and the countless blessings He's showered upon you. This practice can shift your focus away from the immediate stress, opening your eyes to His enduring grace. This shift in perspective will also often reveal a path forward of least resistance.
Meditate on Scripture: Use Scripture to guide your prayers and to remind you of God's promises. His word provides a firm foundation for your faith in challenging times. It is living and active and the Holy Spirit will call verses to remembrance as you need them, like a prescription for your soul!
Finding Peace Through Prayer
Our Savior promises us peace, but we must come and receive it. This might mean we have to seek it out in prayer, not because He's hidden it, but because we've constructed or accumulated barriers between us and Him. In moments of stress and overwhelm, how do we dismantle these obstacles and claim the peace Jesus promised?
Surrender your burdens: Yes, He already knows your worries and fears and that you believe He is capable of solving your problems, but He requires that we act on our faith by acknowledging His presence, engaging with His Spirit, and reasoning with Him about those worries and fears. This demonstrates trust in His ability to handle them and provide for your needs and puts you in a receiving position to "hear" His guidance.
Be honest with God: Share your feelings of stress and overwhelm openly with God in prayer, knowing that He understands and cares about your struggles and knowing that there is power in confession. In His divine wisdom, admitting to our shortcomings makes room for grace to fill in the gaps.
Pray for wisdom: Ask God to provide you with wisdom and guidance to navigate your challenges, trusting in His ability to lead you through difficult circumstances. The key is trusting His ability to lead before you even ask for it.
Seek God's peace: Request God's peace to guard your heart and mind as you face stress and overwhelm. There is a supernatural comfort to sustain you.
Pray for others: Interceding for others can help you shift your focus outward and foster a sense of connection to Christ, both the head and the body. Inadvertently, it places your burdens on Him alongside everyone else's.
Persevering in the Power to Overcome: Overcoming Stress and Overwhelm Through Faithful Conversation with God
Stress and overwhelm should not be your default. Life in Christ, with the Holy Spirit, should be marked by an abiding rest and momentary anxieties rather than pervasive stress. That is what it looks like to overcome stress and overwhelm, not that it becomes non-existent, but that it is fleeting - it diminishes in the face of the great eternal truth of God and His plans for us. By developing intimacy with Him (aka praying incessantly), we consistently find perspectives of peace, divine wisdom, and clarity.
Pray without ceasing: Cultivate the habit of ongoing communication with God. Share your concerns and joys with Him throughout the day, inviting Him into every moment of your life. This will help mitigate feelings of stress and overwhelm.
Trust in God's timing: Remind yourself of His perfect timing and His promise to work all things together for good, even in the midst of adversity.
Pray with expectation: Approach prayer with the expectation that God will answer and provide for you. This attitude of expectancy can help you maintain a hopeful perspective despite stress and overwhelm.
I encourage you not to be overwhelmed by the breadth of advice here. Rather, take a moment to reflect on which ones resonate with you most, and jot them down. Try them out the next time stress and overwhelm try to take the wheel. Keep them close and use them as your compass, leading you back to the path of peace.
Remember, God doesn't measure us by our productivity, but by our faithfulness. He doesn't value us for our ability to carry heavy loads, but for our willingness to surrender them to Him. So, take a deep breath, dear friend. You are not alone. You are never alone. With these tools at your disposal, and the Creator of the universe by your side, no burden is too heavy, no mountain too high. You are more than capable, because He is infinitely capable, and He is with you, always.
And so, the journey continues. Take one step at a time, one prayer at a time, and allow God's love to guide your way. You've got this, because He's got you.
A Prayer to Overcome Stress and Overwhelm
God, I feel like giving up. I don't understand how I'm supposed to manage this, but I know this ain't it. I feel like I'm at the end of my rope so I'm here to give it to you. I'm here in my weakness, reveal Your perfect strength. Your perfect strength is a peace that surpasses all understanding. Your perfect strength is a long-suffering love that holds no records of wrongs. Your perfect strength is enough grace to cover the sum of my sins. Your perfect strength is your enduring word prescribed and administered by your Holy Spirit within me. Hallelujah to You my Rock and Redeemer. I know You've gone before me to set my path straight. You are the stream in the wilderness. May the way home to Your heart never be hidden from me.
In Jesus's name I pray. Amen.