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This is one of those posts that I don’t really know how to write.
I’m a private person, yet honesty is very important to me. Sometimes I struggle to know how to balance those in this blog and my presence on social media. While I try to be personable, I’m not going to share every detail of my life with people I’ve never met. That being said, sometimes God calls me to write about something, and today He’s called me to write about being overwhelmed. I have a lot of experience with “overwhelmed” lately.
“God will never give you more than you can handle.” Do you believe that? I don’t. I recently saw an article about this (I can’t remember where…), and I agree with what the author brought out: God gives us more than we can handle so we have to call upon Him for help.
With that in mind, I don’t think we should resist when God calls us to do things that look impossible. Rather, we should accept them with open arms, telling God, “I’m excited to see how you’re going to get me through this!”
Just make sure it’s God who is calling you to those things – not yourself.
And that’s where I often fail. I feel responsible for more things than I should (this is one of the ways that obsessive compulsive disorder affects my everyday life), and I have a bad habit of over-committing myself to things that might be well and good – but I’m not really called to do them.
Finding the fine line between “this is a worthwhile endeavor” and “I am called to do this” can be difficult, especially if you’re stubborn and proud like I am. The key to knowing the difference between the two comes with a close fellowship with God. You have to be in close communication with Him in order to hear His voice above the clamor of life. Be careful about committing to things on impulse. Instead of immediately saying, “I’ll do it!”, go home and pray about the matter, then give your answer the next day. (All this being said, if you never say “yes” to anything, being spontaneous once in awhile might actually be a good thing.)
Stick to the things you are called by God to do. If you take up the torch for every inspiring project under the sun, you aren’t going to have enough energy to get through any of them; and why should God help you if you weren’t consulting Him before committing to those projects? I’ve gotten myself into this situation more than once in my short life, and I am so thankful that I serve a merciful God. When I’m at the end of my rope, absolutely frazzled (me, not the rope…well, maybe both), I can cry out to God for forgiveness for running ahead of Him. I’ve done that before, and my prayer usually sounds something like this: “Father, I know I got myself into this mess, but will you please forgive me for focusing on myself and my plans and give me the strength to get through? And help me not to make the same mistake again?” He always comes through for me, even though I’m the one who created the mess.
Right now I feel like I’ve kind of gotten myself into a mess again. I have too much going on in my life, and everything seems so important that I’m not sure where to cut back. Hands-down, the most overwhelming thing in my life right now is my cookbook project. Note to self: don’t set deadlines for big projects, especially when you really don’t know what said project is going to entail. Do I really have a deadline for this cookbook? No, but ever since I started last summer when I got back from Ohio, I threw out “fall of 2016” as my target publish date and I’d like to stick with that. I’m disappointed when people announce something, then don’t meet the expectations they caused me to set. I want my word to be trustworthy, so if at all possible, I still want to finish this cookbook in time for the holidays this year. To keep up with my self-imposed deadline, I’m perfecting 10 recipes a week. That, my friends, feels like a lot, especially when I am the only person creating, tweaking, and photographing. I know the work will be worth it in the end, but sometimes I get tired of cooking, and I can’t wait for the day when I only have to come up with 2 recipes per week (for my blog), plus work on an e-book or two. But I will continue by the grace of God, and I’ll be done recipe testing in a few months. Through God’s strength, I have been able to meet my goals so far!
On top of cookbook work, I have blog work like writing posts, editing pictures, interacting and promoting on social media, and answering questions. I have a part-time job 4 mornings a week (I do barn chores for a good friend of mine, and I really don’t want to give that up because it’s part of what keeps me sane. I need some outside time.) and take a voice lesson once a week (practicing on my own at least 5-6 days a week). Voice lessons are an integral part of building a foundation for my favorite hobby, singing. Family is very important to me, and I need time with them. Church is also important to me, and I have some obligations there. I also try to fit social obligations in once in awhile.
I really don’t see many places to cut back, but there are a few. I do have some responsibilities at church right now that I will be done with soon. The all-consuming recipe testing for my cookbook will be done in a few months. Until then, I need to change how I view these things so I don’t become overwhelmed. Are there some things I should do differently in the future? Yes. Through this busy season of life, I have learned not to raise people’s expectations on things like cookbooks until the majority of the work is already done (so I have more flexibility). I’ve learned that when I have a large project going (*ahem* cookbook), I really need to make sure I don’t bite off more than I can chew in other areas of life. I’ve learned things, and hopefully I’ll practice what I’ve learned in the future. But for now, I am still busy, and will be busy for a few more months. During this time, I feel like God is teaching me to trust Him to give me the time and strength to do what needs done. Being overwhelmed isn’t so much about being busy – it’s about feeling out of control because we know we can’t keep up in our human strength. Right now, in the midst of my business, I need to remember that God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
I can’t, but God can. That’s why I don’t need to be overwhelmed.
These are the thoughts going through my head right now. Just writing it down helps me process it, and I hope that reading it provokes thoughts of your own. Feel free to share your own experiences with being overwhelmed (and what you learned through them) in the comments below. I look forward to hearing from you!
(Edited to add) Thank you all so much for the words of encouragement – commenting here, commenting on my Facebook page, and messaging me. I really wasn’t sure if this was something I should share or not, but I want everyone to know that I am a real person with real struggles – but I serve a real God who is FAITHFUL and He will be faithful for you too. Blessings to you all as we walk the journey together!