I know I’m not the only one whose been anxious and overwhelmed. It is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer some form of anxiety disorder. That is 18% of all American adults. This is a scary statistic.
I’ve seen friends and family crippled by anxiety and the effects of being overwhelmed. Families have fallen apart, overwhelmed friends have tried to end their lives and I can’t help but think the Devil is working time in this department.
At my home church, Calvary Chapel Vista, we took three Sunday morning services to address this topic and give those who are feeling hopeless the encouragement and instruction that we all need to hear.
I appreciate the sovereignty of God in all of this. During this season of life I have never been more overwhelmed and anxious. With overseeing a five-week youth discipleship program with 90+ students and 40+ staff, and moving to and serving in a different city and church, I’ve had to fight against the paralyzing repercussions of being anxious and overwhelmed.
Through this season, I have learned (much through failure), how to rightly overcome the overwhelming. Here’s what I’ve observed and learned…
God is completely in control
At the end of the day, the truth still stands: God is control. I’ve learned that even when everything around me is falling apart I can have faith that God is intimately involved with every single detail. As mentioned before, I recently took six weeks off of work so that I could direct a five-week summer discipleship program.
This program is called On The Edge. This means that I would not be getting paid for six weeks! As I’m thinking and praying about all the things that needed to get paid for the month (car insurance, credit card, monthly rent, etc..) my “check engine” light comes on in my car as I’m traveling to church.
I roll my eyes with frustration and quickly ask God to give me the assurance that He sees and knows everything that I need even before I ask. I get home that night and start preparing for my next teaching engagement at church. While studying, my housemate drops off some mail with my name on it. I open up this letter and out of this card drops a $1,000.00 check with my name on it! HOW DOES GOD DO THAT?!
The importance of prayer
Prayer has been a safe refuge for me. In prayer, God restore the perspective that He is in control. With intentional prayer, anxiety and the feelings of being overwhelmed, flee as God’s promises are brought back to memory. In prayer, God has taught me to take my eyes off the mess and put it back on the Master.
This is a learned discipline. I’ve seen that distractions and temptations are waiting, trying to lure me into taking my eyes off the Lord. Praise God that He is with me and has lovingly brought me back to Himself over and over again.
I’ve also learned that no man can take my burdens for me. Yes, the church can help me carry them, but I still have a responsibility to bring them to the Lord. I love that God doesn’t mind all my mess. God actually encourages me to bring all the anxiety and “overwhelmedness” to Him! I also praise God that He understands all of life’s difficulties and is able to lead me in triumph through all of it.
Friends, it’s time to overcome the overwhelming. We cannot do this apart from the Lord. If we don’t hold fast to Him, we are bound to fail. Let’s commit ourselves to continue to seek God and rise above all our difficulties!
Aaron serves in Murrieta, CA and is a pastor at Calvary Chapel Vista
Aaron Sabio’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/aaron-sabio.html