When I first looked up the definition of the word “overwhelmed” in preparation for this week’s podcast episode – I felt attacked. It was hitting just a little too close to home. Too on the nose. And oh so heavy.

  1. bury or drown beneath a huge mass
  2. defeat completely
  3. give too much of a thing to (someone)

Ugh.

I know I’m not alone in knowing exactly what that feels like. (And I hate that.) Far too many of us are suffocating under the weight of everything we’ve taken on. We are drowning in discouragement. We are over-tired and spread too thin.

We all know we’re drowning under the weight of our obligations and swirling about in the stresses of life. But, what really interested me was WHY. Why are we continuing to add to our plate? Why do we over-schedule and over-extend? Why?

While there are seasons of life that can and will be busier, choices that sometimes have to be made, and other extenuating circumstances – for many of us, we heap a portion of that “huge mass” on top of ourselves. Here are a few reasons I think we do this to ourselves…

  1. Society has taught us that we are to wear “busy” like a badge. For some reason, culture has equated being busy with “goodness.”
  2. If we’re always on the move and always have something that needs to be done, we won’t have time to be alone with our thoughts.
  3. We’ve bought into the lie that we prove our worth through our achievements. (Ie – The more I do, the better I am.)
  4. FOMO (Fear of missing out.)
  5. Comparison! (Ie – “She” has her kids signed up for xyz and uses such and such system to clean her house and plan her meals so I must need to do those things too, etc.)

And now, here’s the truth. The point/counter-point if you will.

  1. Being busy does not make you better. (It doesn’t make you worse either.) Being busy, just makes you more busy.
  2. It may feel easier to avoid the uncomfortable work of wrestling with your emotional baggage. It’s not.
  3. You have value. Full stop. Without qualification. You are worthy. You are enough.
  4. You do NOT have to do all the things. You get to choose what actually matters to and works for YOU.
  5. When you’re already feeling overwhelmed by all of the real (and imagined) things to be done, the last thing you need is to scroll social media, start comparing, and suddenly feel weighted by all these other things you didn’t know you were “supposed” to be doing. (Stay in your lane. Run your race. Let “her” run hers.)

Like I said, we don’t always get to live free from stress. We will all walk through more challenging seasons of life – seasons that require more from us physically, mentally, and emotionally. BUT – we don’t have to live buried under the weight of all the “extra.” We don’t have to try to make our life look like someone else’s – choosing the things that work for other people. We get to use “yes” AND “no” freely.

Life has enough stress in it without us getting in our own way – without us adding more to our already full load. Taking on more than you have capacity for can feel tempting in the moment. Think about a buffet. Everything looks delicious – and you want to sample it all. BUT, if you take everything, you’ll make yourself sick. Not only will you have taken more than your body can handle, you won’t be able to enjoy the items that were best for you – the items you really wanted and needed! We can’t have and do everything. (And that is GREAT news!) We get to pick what works for us. We get to pick what we need and want in this current season.

Pick what matters to you…what works for you…what fits with your life, talents, and purpose. When you see that lady that’s doing things differently than you – applaud her. Do NOT let those differences deceive you, shame you, or whisper in your ear that you picked wrong. Know that you are enough, and that no amount of striving to please, perfect, and perform will ever bring you rest. Kick comparison to the curb and know that what you do matters. You’re loved. You’re worthy. You’re enough.

For more encouragement on this topic, please check out:

When The To-Do List Dictates Your Worth: Tips to Help Stop the Spiral

You Can’t Do It All, And Why That’s a Good Thing