What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2


I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

When I face an overwhelming day, I do a lot of dumb things. I eat too much, too quickly. I start to obsess over the little things I should be doing that I’m not (like cooking dinner or responding to emails). I rush around, and then feel badly that I didn’t spend enough time with my kids, or even the Lord.

One More Step challenged me to step back and really look at those behaviors. Then I made a list that I taped on the inside cover of my planner:


When I get overwhelmed, I will not:

Skip Bible reading

Skimp on time with the kids

Feel like I have to cook

Turn to sweets

I will ask:

What, if anything, is actually wrong?

Whose deadlines are these, anyway?

Lord, please show me what absolutely has to get done today.



When you begin to feel overwhelmed, what’s your fallback position? Do you fill your own spirit with clutter like I do?


Take the Challenge: Prayerfully consider your bad reactions to an overwhelming situation, and plan in advance how you’ll overcome them. You may want to write them on a notecard and put it in your planner as I did!

And, if you’re going through a time of struggle, check out Rachel’s book One More Step.


What’s you’re new fallback position for crazy days?

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