Carrying the weight of the world

It may feel like you are the only onOverwhelmede with all the weight of the world on your shoulders, but that feeling is shared by more people than you think.

People everywhere — in various types of jobs, ministries an
d life situations — are expected to do more with less,
no matter what other loads they are carrying at the moment.

We are all putting more and more pressure on ourselves and each other by nature of tight financial times, a resistance to draw boundaries and the mind-boggling speed at which technology increases daily.

And social media has created a new form of anxiety — FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) — which piles on another layer of pressure.

Trying to do it all

So here we all are trying our absolute best to manage our families, spend quality time with our families and friends, do more than any one human could possibly do in a day at our jobs, be super involved in countless church activities, volunteer with a specific ministry or charity, participate in our communities, keep our homes and cars in decent order, make sure our children are part of every possible activity available to them and maybe find a few minutes to exercise. Oh, and try to be available to everyone at all times while attempting to find moments here and there to spend time in God’s Word and clear our minds long enough to pray (for real, not just say some words) — and maybe, if we are lucky, get more than four hours sleep a night.

Whew, I’m exhausted just writing that paragraph, but I’m guessing more than a few of you can relate.

You might be overwhelmed if …

Do you ever want to pause everyone and everything so you can catch up?

Have you ever secretly wished you would end up with a temporary but serious illness, maybe something that would hospitalize you, so you would have a good excuse to drop everything for a few weeks?

Does it feel like everyone you know is pouring guilt on you and/or you are continuously disappointing every person in your life?

Have you ever felt overly frustrated when others don’t do what you want them to do?

Negative results

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then you are likely overwhelmed with life right now. If you aren’t aware of that fact or if you aren’t working toward finding balance, then you aren’t only hurting yourself, you are most likely negatively affecting those around you as well.

I know when I’m at my most stressed-out points, I impose unrealistic and unfair expectations on others. I convince myself that my responsibility list is more important than everyone else’s. Frustration sets in when others don’t cooperate.

And if two of us in the same circle are overwhelmed at the same time, then a collision is almost guaranteed. Emotions are usually raw and overreactions happen easily. Hurtful words may be spoken and unfortunate decisions may be made in the process.

Three immediate actions to take

The answer has multiple layers and will have to be customized to some degree to the person’s specific situation. But things all of us can do to prevent spreading the problem are:

1. Commit to stop piling pressure on those around us. Avoid the temptation to pass our issues on to others who are not obligated to help such as might be expected with an official team at work, church or the community.

2. For one project or one day, help a fellow struggler by doing exactly what they ask (assuming it is nothing harmful) so you are the one person in their life not resisting them. It encourages both parties because we know from experience how much it means for someone to help without resistance. It also opens the door for a conversation about how we can help each other in the struggle.

3. Accept that you are overwhelmed and commit to start the process of correcting the problem. A good first step is to freeze your calendar until you can clear some space to breathe.

—Jennifer Davis Rash

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