Are you overwhelmed with Joy – or is your spirit just overwhelmed?
I heard about a Dallas Seminary professor who met a gloomy student walking across campus. When he asked the fellow how he was doing the student began his response with “under the circumstances…” But the professor interrupted and surprisingly asked “What are you doing under there?
Sometimes the affliction of lists, plans, and goals overwhelm us. Other times it can be sorrows, worries or lack of something –needs of ours or of others’ whom we care about that can draw us into the deep.
Allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed can be defeating, and even paralyzing – where we get nothing accomplished and hover near depression.
Did you know there are ways that being overwhelmed can also be a good thing?
Look at the differences of the main part of this word: – whelm: It has two meanings
engulf, submerge, or bury (someone or something).
flow or heap up abundantly.
Overwhelm is presented as a verb or a noun – usually with a negative meaning
“his teams overwhelmed their opponents”
give too much of a thing to (someone); inundate.
“they were overwhelmed by farewell messages
Then as a verb
It often indicates to overcome by superior force or numbers The city was overwhelmed by the invading army.c :
to overpower in thought or feeling overwhelmed with grief — inadequacy overwhelmed me. overwhelmed with guilt
So how can any of this be positive?
Mark 10:27 comes to mind – Looking upon them, Jesus *said, “aWith men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
Cor. 4:8 also indicates an alternate action: we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;
We can often relate to the first part of such verses – feeling beaten down, afflicted, worn, knocked down
BUT what about the rest
The secret is in this same letter – and comes before the list of demoralizing incidents that pain them –
It comes in reminding and remembering our purpose and calling—just as that professor encouraged his student that he did NOT have to be UNDER the control of the circumstances.
2Cor. 4:5 Remember, our Message is not about ourselves; we’re proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you.
2Cor. 4:6 It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.
2Cor. 4:7 ¶ If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us.
And this verse from Isaiah shows an opposite side of the definition of overwhelmed:
I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. – Isaiah 61:10
those being persecuted back in I Cor. 4 remind themselves (and us) that God is not dead and say in 4:10 “What Jesus did among them, he does in us –he lives!”
Today we have a choice with all our issues, concerns, pains and prayers – to take them upon ourselves knowing it is impossible and overwhelming just to think about them, let alone try to figure out how we in our weakness can do anything about them
We can literally turn them over to God and we can focus instead on Christ and what HE can do in the situation.
Overwhelming losses or concerns always remind me of Job – He was honest when he said he could say (Job 9:27) though I say I will forget my complaints, and leave off my sad countenance and be cheerful,….I am afraid.
Such a change is more than a determination of wills or mind-over-matter – it is giving up to Grace to let God’s truth overwhelm our runaway emotions. You’ve probably experienced as I have some literal ways to heave over those emotional fears – write them down and have a bonfire – nail your list to a cross – visualize Jesus’ hands reaching out to accept your list and trading your list with His – truth for emotion – you are – He is – I AM –
The enemy tries to flame our emotions to search for satisfaction of our distress – with more tasteful food or drink, with more toys or things, or more feelings…but our need is far deeper than these superficial emotions that threaten to overwhelm us yet never satisfy us.
Psa. 4:6 ¶ Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
I have God’s more-than-enough,
Psa. 4:7 More joy in one ordinary day
¶ Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
Psa. 4:8 At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
How about you? If you stop to list who you are or what you have in Christ – if you look at what in your life is good, pure, noble, worthy to share, etc. are you also overwhelmed with JOY?
Can you say with the Psalmists that you have
I pray it is so, and would love to hear of what brings joy to you today.
Num. 6:26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’