Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Recently, I had a number of situations that converged to overwhelm me. It felt like I was in the deep end of a pool, struggling to keep my head above water and then someone handed me a 50 lb weight. It is scary to be overwhelmed. I start to wonder if I'm going to make it. My mind starts to imagine a future where my whole life falls apart. Then, I feel even more overwhelmed! Have you ever been there? Maybe you're there right now. Here's what I've learned: This feeling is always a signal that I need to reconnect spiritually.
In John 15:4-5 Jesus shows us a way out of being overwhelmed. It is actually an opportunity for spiritual growth. Jesus says, "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."
Notice the last line. Apart from me you can do nothing. When I start feeling overwhelmed, I almost always realize that I've been trying to make my life work apart from Jesus. I'm shouldering all the burdens myself. Everything is up to me. Either I pull it off or it all crashes and burns. No wonder I'm feeling overwhelmed! I've ignored the spiritual support that Jesus offers. Now, like you, I never do this intentionally. It typically develops slowly over time. I begin by rightly accepting the responsibility for my life that God has given to me. I take action and do what God asks me to do. And I see the fruit that results when I partner with God in this way. And then gradually I begin to feel like I'm the one making everything happen in my life. I'm the one producing the fruit all by myself. I loose sight of all the ways that God is showing up in my life. I stop seeing the miracles. And then I'm overwhelmed.
You can see why this feeling is an opportunity for spiritual growth. It is a signal that we have stepped out from underneath the easy yoke that Jesus offers us. It is a warning light in our souls alerting us that we have disconnected from the Vine. It is a call to reconnect with Jesus. It is an invitation to seek spiritual strength and peace. It is a gift. I know it doesn't feel like it, but it really is. When we make connecting with Jesus our top priority, we will begin to sense an energy and hopefulness in our spirit. We will still take action, handling life one moment at a time. We will trust that the future will take care of itself if we stay connected today and simply do our best by God's grace.
I invite you to connect to Jesus today. Make that your first priority. Don't try to fix all the things in your life that are completely beyond you. Trust all of that to Jesus. Focus on staying connected spiritually and good fruit will grow all by itself. Then you will start seeing the little miracles once again and you will be overwhelmed by God's goodness.
May you be overwhelmed by all the ways God shows up in your life this week.