Estimated reading time: 4 minutes:-)
If you’re like me, you give out too many yeses and the world just eats them up.
You hand out little golden envelopes with your time and dedication inscribed on the front like candy. Envelopes promising “I can make it” and “I’m fine” and “I can meet this deadline” and “I can balance everything.”
You can only hand out so many golden envelopes, however, because if you hand out too many like I do, they start to turn black and the golden promise inside turns into a lie. A lie telling people you’re more capable than you truly are. The truth that you don’t really know your limits. That you’re overwhelmed.
This week has been long. Early in the week, a shooting took place in a King Soopers close to home, and my heart was heavy and hurting for those involved. For LuHi kids, this was our first week back from spring break, and going from nothing to everything all at once is a drag. And this week was supposed to be the final week I had left to get book 2 completely finished.
But my plans don’t always work out.
It’s a long story, but my dad told me, honestly, that he didn’t think book 2 would be ready within the week, and his honesty made me realize he was right. Which didn’t make me any less frustrated and overwhelmed. It made me even more so.
It’s been a long week.
And I wish I could tell you I’ve learned to trust God completely and let go of the stress that’s overwhelming me right now, but I can’t yet. That’s exactly why I wanted to speak to others who are overwhelmed this morning, though.
Often, I write about what I’ve learned. This morning, I want to write about what I am learning–and maybe even things I haven’t learned yet but one day, hopefully, I will.
Like I said before, I give out too many yeses. I have this serious fear of missing out. But handing out yeses like candy is like handing out a dollar to everyone you meet. Eventually, you run out. Eventually, you stretch yourself way too thin and the weight of your responsibilities just snaps right through you like an overweight dad on an old trampoline.
But I’m learning: it shows greater maturity to hand out no’s sometimes. Pleasing everyone with yeses feels good in the moment, but later, when you need a break and you need to spend time with God and you can’t, it doesn’t feel so good.
Handing out yeses to everyone is really just a way of shifting your priorities to other’s expectations of you. Because something has to give. You can’t say yes to everything without saying no to something else. And often, at least for me, when I say yes to those around me all the time, I say no to God as a result.
Matthew 5:37 warns us, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.”
I’m learning to find peace in saying no.
It’s a pride thing, too. If I keep saying yes and delivering, my reputation grows and grows and the success keeps rolling in. If I say no, sometimes I disappoint people, and I don’t like to disappoint people. It takes humility to say no. It takes a lot of strength. Strength I sometimes don’t have.
I’m learning to be proud of the no’s I receive from others, because it shows I had the courage to ask.
I’m learning to embrace my weaknesses, because they show how dependent I am on God. Sometimes I simply can’t keep going. I can’t finish a homework assignment or reach a deadline. Sometimes I don’t reach expectations and I don’t block the ball and I fail a test and I mess up a painting and I write something awful.
But in these ‘sometimes,’ I’m learning they’re slices of humble pie, served whenever I start thinking I have a handle on life.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I am learning to work hard for the right reasons. I am learning to stop striving. I don’t know if I ever will stop striving, but I’m beginning to realize how often I do.
Working hard isn’t bad. But when I work so hard to succeed and place the rewards of that success above the rewards of heaven, I’m striving. And I do that so often. I forget that the price has already been paid. That I can’ save myself and I don’t nee to try. And it’s not easy remembering that. But I’m learning. I’m learning.
I’m learning: even if I cause the greatest disappointment, God won’t stop loving me.
I’m learning that I could be the least successful person on the planet, but I’m still going to heaven.
I’m learning that God’s promises are enough. I don’t need to make up my own.
I’m learning that mistakes show me how much I need Christ, not how much I need to fix.
I’m learning that Christ already fixed it for me.
I’m learning that success to God is different than success to the world.
I’m learning that the latter leads to death.
I’m learning to be a child again–a true child of God.
I’m learning to ask for peace.
Being overwhelmed with life happens. It comes and goes. But my hope, for you and for me, is that we will always be overwhelmed by God’s love for us, and that we won’t have room to be overwhelmed about other things. Because his love is too big to let fear and stress squeeze in.