Sometimes I sit at my desk and feel utterly overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks, their relative importance, and their deadlines.

Add to that my various relationships — especially the ones that are in my inner orbit (like wife and kids) — and the shortcomings I bring to all of those.

Add to that my God-given responsibility to provide for my family financially and how I feel like I’m coming up short there.

Add to that the extra weight I’m carrying around my midsection that I know is an indicator of an overall unhealthy lifestyle.

Add to that my reading list that if I could just absorb through osmosis would catapult my thinking and behavior — but I don’t feel like I have time for it.

Add to that my inadequate amount of sleep every night. My Fitbit reminds me of that every day.

Add to that my neglect of prayer and scripture reading which I know is foundational to everything else.

It sure adds up after a while.

My wife tells me that when I’m juggling this many balls, just be sure to not drop any of the glass ones. There are likely a lot of items on your agenda and/or to-do list that would be just fine if they never got addressed. Let’s assume you’ve checked those off and still have a lot of overwhelm to deal with…

The long-term way to address this level of overwhelm is to make the time (I know, there isn’t any time, right?) to make a plan.

The short term solution might be something like:

  • What promises have I made for today? Can I ask for an extension? Worst they can do is say no.
  • What will get a lot worse if I neglect it? These are the glass balls… the problems that will get worse the longer they go unaddressed. Deal. With. These. The higher the stakes, the higher the priority.

Sometimes there’s so much overwhelm that you just need to do the next best thing until the overwhelm dissipates.

Beware of the temptation to turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like drugs, alcohol, porn, doomscrolling, overeating, etc. They DO NOT help. Your tasks and responsibilities will still be there.

Know what? While drafting this message I got an email from the Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce alerting me to the possibility of lead in my drinking water. I know they mean well by shining light on a potential blind spot, but it’s another ball to juggle. And is it a glass ball? Don’t know. And that’s overwhelming.

Sometimes it helps to have someone on your side to work through the overwhelm. Sometimes this can be a spouse or friend. But if those relationships aren’t ready for that kind of strain then hiring a stewardship consultant might be an option. I do offer that service, so if you’re overwhelmed and you need help, please apply for stewardship consulting by clicking here.

Danny Nelson