Has your workload threatened to overwhelm you? Have personal responsibilities left you feeling swamped? Today’s guest post is by author Linda Shepherd. She “gets” the feeling of being overwhelmed, and she shares her secret to overcoming with us. This is an excerpt from her latest book, Experiencing God’s Presence: Learning to Listen While You Pray.
A few weeks ago I was feeling the wrath of an unexpected storm. With both of my parents in the middle of health crises and popping in and out of the hospital, I found myself hopping in and out of airplanes so I could rush to help. But by dropping everything, my ‘to-do’ list threatened to drown me. Besides caring for my parents, there were conferences for which I was keynoting as well as conferences to plan, plus there were book marketing projects already set in motion requiring my immediate attention, urgently needed websites to create, plus my non-profit ministry was in the middle of launching a brand-new online ministry for the suicidal which would require hours of my time. I was left feeling overwhelmed. Just where, I wondered, am I going to find the time to work on my new book?
Late one night as I lay my head upon my pillow, my mind begin to spin as I thought through all I had to accomplish in the next few months. My parents were still in crisis, one of my children had hit a difficult snag, and my heart literally ached with concern for my loved ones, plus my to-do list was growing faster than I could possibly respond. “Help me, Lord! Help me!” I cried from my bed as sheer panic drummed my heart.
With tears, I told the Lord, “I am only one little gal and how is it you’ve called me to accomplish so much in these next few weeks? How am I supposed to achieve all these things you have put onto my plate, plus deal with my family’s crises?
Behold me. I heard him whisper.
So I tried to imagine what Peter must have seen when he saw the Lord walking across the top of the water on the Sea of Galilee. But instead of ‘seeing’ the Lord, all I could ‘see’ was a blizzard of paperwork falling around me, each page scrawled with yet another ‘to-do’ written in black marker.
As I watched this paper blizzard fall around me, I saw the pages of my ‘to-do’ list landing, then floating on the turbulent Sea of Galilee. That’s when I saw him. Jesus was walking toward me, over the tops of the floating papers.
Behold me, he whispered.
As his face came into focus, I took a step toward him, my foot secure as it stepped on one of the many floating papers around me. Miraculously, both the paper and wave held my weight.
Behold me, he encouraged as I continued to look at him.
I took another step, then another as my eyes locked on Jesus’s face.
When I reached him, he said, “Linda, you can only walk through this storm if you behold me.”
My heart quit racing and my tears stopped falling. The Lord himself had shown me that he would supernaturally get me through my storm of ‘to-dos,’ but only if I kept my mind stayed on him. I was reminded of Isaiah 26:2-4 which states, “He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Trust in the Lord God always, for in the Lord Jehovah is your everlasting strength. (TLB)