O-ver-whelm (o’ vėr hwelm’) v. To overcome completely; to make helpless.
I think that’s a good word to describe how life makes me feel. Especially when things aren’t going my way. I have a tendency to want to control everything. I think my plan is best, and when something doesn’t go how I planned, I feel overwhelmed. Overcome. Helpless.
It’s frustrating, really. To have so many plans and ideas and never see them come into fruition. To work toward goals and realize that there is so much I don’t know and so much I am not able to do. To make suggestions and see them ignored, to be ill-prepared and have to deal with the unexpected. To reach the end of the day and realize that nothing on my to-do list was crossed off.
I often think life would go so much smoother if I could just decide how my day went. If my plans would just succeed every now and then, things would be better. If people would just listen and do what I say, I could get everything done that I need to do, everyone would be happy, and my goals would be accomplished.
The problem is, God doesn’t care much about my plans if I am not seeking to exalt Him with my life..
Frustrate means “to keep from attaining a goal or fulfilling a desire; to thwart: to prevent the fruition of; to nullify.” If I am not seeking to further His kingdom instead of my own, then I am going to feel frustrated. His never-failing plan is going to frustrate anything that goes against His will, including my plans. I cannot become so caught up in my plans that I am unwilling to see that He has a plan that is better than mine. I have to be willing to be guided by Him.
His ultimate plan for me is to glorify Him with my life and to become like Him through sanctification. It is only when I am focused on Him and His will that I am going to get anywhere. His plan is the only plan that is going to prevail, and my plan will fail every.single.day. if it is in opposition to His.
It may be my daily plan to finish a college paper that is due; to clean out my room, or to teach a music lesson. None of these things are bad, but I can only see a tiny bit of the picture and if I am focused on my goals only, I am going to feel like a failure when I don’t complete my list by the end of the day.
If I can look up and see that God has a plan that is bigger than anything I can imagine, if I can grasp the truth that His ways are higher than my ways, then I can take comfort in the fact that He works through my short-comings to make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).
Life is all about perspective. If I am not focused on how awesome and powerful Christ is and instead focusing on myself and my goals, I am going to feel overwhelmed and helpless because apart from Him, I can do nothing. If I turn my focus toward Him, then I will become overwhelmed with His love and mercy and my problems will begin to look smaller and smaller in contrast with His majesty.
When contemplating eternity, a late school assignment suddenly becomes less important. When thinking on His incredible mercy, a seemingly unproductive day isn’t frustrating anymore.
I am constantly going to be overwhelmed, but my focus is going to determine what overwhelms me.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8