I have found myself again at a place of Overwhelm. A point where I cannot do it all. When my best isn’t good enough. My strength has faded. My cup is not overflowing. This is not going to be 5 ways to Overcome Overwhelm or 10 steps to find Happiness in the Overwhelm. Because sometimes there is no way to Overcome Overwhelm. It is called Overwhelm for a reason. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to stop the wave of life as it overtakes you, leaving you grasping for God’s grace in the midst of all the imperfection in this world. But there is beauty in that rest in God’s grace.
This morning I woke up hardly able to breathe or speak, depleted of strength and unprepared for another day. So here I am battling the attitude of Little Brave over breakfast food, the random tantrums of Wild Little Girl over this or that, the bickering of the Littles over who has more toys, or the inability to even get that call in to the doctor to make myself an appointment due to all the whining and crying happening, myself included. I promised I would put it to you straight and this is full transparency right here.
I used to beat myself up SO bad for these moments when I let myself fall apart right alongside my kids but as my kids get older I see these moments of Overwhelm in a new light. The Overwhelm doesn’t happen often but it does happen. I promise I am mature most of the time. But in my immaturity here is what they are seeing.
Because I am in fact, human.
I will fall and fail.
So will my kids.
In those moments God’s grace and mercy sweep over me. I do not let myself feel shame over my bad moment all day. I apologize, lift my chin and make the most of the rest of our day. One thing I do not want my kids to grow up feeling is this overwhelming need to perform perfectly for me. When they see me fail and extend myself grace, they see that it’s OK for them to have those moments too. That is my cue to show them mercy and grace in their bad moment. To teach them to apologize and lift their chin and make the most of their day.
I do not want my kids to grow up feeling so proud of themselves that they fail to see even their own human flaws. How am I supposed to expect them to live in humility if I do not show them humility myself?
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
How do we find beauty in the Overwhelm?
If there is one thing Overwhelm brings me perspective on it’s empathy for others. Here I am battling a severe case of Bronchitis but others deal with chronic sickness, stress, depression, cancer or caring for ailing parents. I’m going to be OK in just a few weeks. It doesn’t diminish what I am going through but it reminds me to be careful not to judge others too harshly. You never know what they are going through.
After I reach my limit and surrender, it allows me and my family to bear with one another’s burdens in a loving way. Admitting we can’t do it all is never easy, but it sure is a blessing when we allow ourselves to fall apart and let others contribute. Today this meant my husband picked up our kids and brought them out for lunch while I went to the doctor alone. If I had been proud and stubborn I would have miserably brought them all with me to the doctor and had a bad attitude about it all afternoon. Dreaming Daughter blessed me this morning by making my bed and doing some laundry without being asked. This wouldn’t have happened if I had not been allowed my moment of Overwhelm. In that moment I put my pride away and asked for help that I really needed.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10
Overwhelm allows us to be lifted by God. We cannot rest in his grace without first humbly calling out to Him. In those moments, He is just waiting for us to call out to Him. To whisper or cry out prayers of healing, restoration and peace back into our lives and our home. He wants to lift us up!
When my Littles are grown I hope they’ll remember these, dare I say, beautifully humble moments and know they can come to me when they are overwhelmed. I hope they won’t feel too proud but instead will remember that on occasion, their Mama couldn’t do it all either. That a home full of pride is not what God intended even when things are going well.
You could say, A Humble Home is a Happy Home.
And I believe it would be absolutely true.
What is God calling you to be humble about?