Dr. Randy Carlson


One of the callers on the Intentional Living program said, “I’m a single mom. I’m feeling overwhelmed with life. I’m trying to go to work. I’m trying to raise my kids.” And if you’ve been a single parent, you know some of that stress.

You may not be overwhelmed with parenting or grand-parenting. It could be your health, your finances, your work or any number of things. But we feel overwhelmed at times. And I’ve learned over the years in working with people that when we get really overwhelmed, sometimes we can do some stupid things. People have made decisions when they’re overwhelmed that they later look back and say “I shouldn’t have done that,” or “I could’ve made a better decision, but because I was feeling so overwhelmed, it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

So, let’s look at six things you can do when you’re feeling overwhelmed with life.

1 – Embrace what you’re facing

We usually want to hurry through life; we want to get to the next stage, especially when the current situation is overwhelming. We tend to ask the question, “Are we there yet?” We tend to have an expectation that once we arrive, we’ll have peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (NKJV). When you’re feeling overwhelmed in life – whatever stage you are in – embrace the season that you are in because there’s always lessons to be learned, experiences to help you grow.

When we are feeling overwhelmed, we should be able to say, God, I don’t know why I’m going through this. I’m not quite clear on what this experience is going to teach me, but, I’m going to embrace this season of my life.

2 – Picture a better future

There is something about being able to see a brighter, more hope-filled future. And I don’t mean only in eternity. God’s mercies are new every morning. The sun is going to come up again tomorrow. You are not always going to be facing the situation you’re experiencing right now.

3 – Understand God’s intentions for you are always good

In Jeremiah 29:11, God is saying “Hey, listen! I know what I’m doing. Just relax. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you – plans to give you a future that you’ve hoped for” (MSG). It’s assuring to know God’s intentions for us are always good.

4 – Declare your intentions

When I declare, not only what I believe, but what I’m going to do, it’s transformational in my life. Look what Paul says when he’s talking about the declaration of our intention spiritually: “It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word of God, Jesus is my master” (Romans 10:8 MSG). Paul says it’s important “we declare with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised him from the dead and we will be saved. Embracing and body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead” (Romans 10:9-10 MSG).

This passage reminds us God doesn’t need to hear us speak audibly to know what’s going on in our hearts. Declaring it helps us.

5 – Act in faith

I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see” (Hebrews 11:1 MSG).

We have faith in people we’ve never seen, people we don’t even know. So, why can’t we have faith in a God who is always there for us?

6 – Build confidence

When you act in faith, it builds confidence in your life. The first time you got on a bicycle, you acted by faith to be able to ride it. After a while, you had the confidence to be able to get on it and do it.

The word intention comes from the Latin meaning to stretch. Intentional living is all about your faith being stretched to its limit – knowing what scripture teaches, taking that step of faith and stretching to that next level.

Paul says in Philippians 3:14, “I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back” (MSG). He’s saying – I’m going to stretch towards this goal and get it done.

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