What Overwhelms You?
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
What Overwhelms You?
Do you remember nearing the end of 2020 and just longing for it to be over? You certainly weren't alone! As 2021 approached surveys began pouring in showing that Americans in record numbers (some 65%) were exhausted from feeling overwhelmed (Ex- Nov 23, 2020 US Sun)
Eventually a new year dawned and along came 2021 bringing with it much needed progress... the reopening of businesses and schools, the ability to gather freely, to once again breath without a mask and to make it through an entire day without hearing the word Covid... but while many of the negative circumstances once cited by people as the cause of their angst began to subside, the mindset of “barely getting by” did anything but. Instead, this feeling appears to have taken root and become almost a new normal for many.
One follow-up study targeting 18 to 34-year-olds found that 64% were experiencing burnout or mental exhaustion and 70% acknowledged that they are just trying to get through the week. (CVS Health Dec 2, 2021)
Chances are that many if not most of those listening feel swamped or stressed, overpowered, and overcome, bewildered by, or buried under... or just, well... overwhelmed.
I know what it's like to have more to do than I can possibly accomplish. Maybe you're the employee doing the work of two people and only getting paid for one. Maybe you're the one who barely makes it home to feed the family and then rushes one child off to music lessons and the other to soccer. Maybe you're inundated by bills, financial pressures, social obligations, expectations, extended family concerns, or nagging health issues. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed by your marriage having barely enough energy to be polite, much less loving, or supportive, or a romantic partner.
We all feel overwhelmed at times.
Most of us have heard how this one feeling can have devastating effects on us physically, emotionally, and spiritually... even all at the same time.
Such dire results might cause us to believe that this feeling of being overwhelmed can't possibly be a part of living Life As God Intended. But is it?
Would it surprise you if I said that God’s solution for you, when you are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of life, is that He wants you overwhelmed? I know many of you might be shaking your head or thinking, “That makes no sense.” But let me explain.
I'm going to say a word in Greek, and I want you to say out loud the first thing that comes to mind... are you ready? Baptizo! So, if you've ever read the Bible or even stepped foot in a church you might have immediately said “baptism” referring to a person being submerged in water.
Certainly, the word baptizo is used in this context. For example, in Mark 1:19 it is the word that describes the event when Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist.
But the Greek word baptizo also has a parallel English word... one which we are very familiar with. Yes, it's the word “overwhelm.”
Baptizo refers to being overwhelmed, overcome, submerged, immersed, buried, or inundated.
In addition, the word baptizo can also refer to physical action, to emotional action, and to spiritual action.
These overlapping meanings shed light in a stunning way to parallels in the “natural” realm (our daily lives) and the spiritual realm (where we meet and experience God).
The physical action of being overwhelmed is evidenced in Christian baptism when a person is submerged in water as illustrated by Jesus in the Jordan River.
In an emotional sense, we experience being overwhelmed when we feel anxiety or fear. This is clearly NOT a part of living Life as God Intended and why Paul, writing to the Philippians, said, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything” (Phil. 4:6).
However, without a doubt, the most important reality of being overwhelmed is spiritual which IS God’s ultimate desire for us.
Everyone is living overwhelmed. The only question, then, is, by what? As Christians, do we live overwhelmed by the physical and emotional stimuli of this world? No. God’s intent is that we live overwhelmed by the manifestation of the presence of His very being, nature, and character. Ultimately, Life As God intended is you and I living overwhelmed by who Jesus Christ is and the relationship he brings us into with God the Father.
Understanding our identity in Christ allows us to live overwhelmed spiritually which also overwhelms us both physically and emotionally allowing us to experience Life As God Intended.
To choose to do so is an act of faith that leaves us overwhelmed in awe and reverence.
John the Baptist was aware that Jesus would extend to all of humanity a spiritual overwhelming when he said, “I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, He will overwhelm (baptizo) you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Lk. 3:16; Acts 11:16).
Consequently, Paul explained, “by one Spirit, we were all overwhelmed (baptized) into one body…” (I Cor. 12:13); our human spirits were overwhelmed by the Spirit of Christ at conversion.
As Christians, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, overwhelmed by or with the Holy Spirit. It was at our spiritual regeneration that every Christian’s spirit was overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit.
Are you living overwhelmed by His Spirit moment by moment, or are the cares of this world overwhelming you?
Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we are taking on too much, but because we are not overwhelmed by Christ’s presence in the present moment. He doesn’t promise to take all the cares of this life away, but He does promise to be our sufficiency through the circumstances as we maintain our focus on Him. As we allow Him to overwhelm us with Himself, He will be and do what He wills in our circumstances, and we will experience the rest that God intends for us.
In fact, the only way to live Life As God Intended is to live overwhelmed by Jesus. Jesus declared, “Apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
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