I’ll be honest. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately. In my new position, there are more opportunities than time. I’m excited about the potential, but my calendar won’t hold anymore and my mind is exploding.
One day recently, I was driving on the road which leads back to Clarksville. I considered my schedule, the enormity of the challenge ahead, the dozens of emails awaiting a response and the people I was still having to say “no” to when they ask for my time, many who don’t understand why the pastor can’t see them right away, and I turned to Cheryl and said, “Right now I wish I could just keep driving and that this had been a nice little dream”. That wasn’t reality speaking or how I really feel. It was emotions talking. I knew that I was simply feeling overwhelmed.
What do you do when you find yourself in that situation? Here’s what I am doing.
Here are 5 steps when change seems overwhelming:
Step back – Take a day. Take a week. Pause everything. Stepping back gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at the challenges ahead. It may seem like you don’t have time to pause right now, but it may be you don’t have time not to do so. The time away will give you a better perspective, a clearer head and the rest will give you energy you need.
Get fit – I used to tell our staff in a church plant that “you have to strive to be healthy to work here right now”. I’m in that season in ministry again. As much as it depends on me, I need to be healthy spiritually, relationally, emotionally and physically. I need to eat healthy, exercise, and maintain a healthy relationship with Cheryl. I also need extended time in God’s Word and prayer. This is even more than usual a time for intentionality in living a healthy lifestyle.
Renew the vision – When change is overwhelming you need to remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing. The why is the key. It’s what fueled you in the first place and what has the best potential to fuel you again. I was called here for a purpose. God doesn’t make mistakes. If you are overwhelmed at something God called you to do, ask God to renew that passion you had in the beginning, before you were overwhelmed, again.
Chart a course one step at a time – Baby steps. That’s how big change is accomplished. One foot in front of the other. The bigger the change the more methodical you must be. One day, one week, one month at a time. I’ve had to ask some people to be patient. I have to prioritize each day. I have to not feel bad about saying no. I have to get up every morning, create a list of things I can accomplish that day, and realize that tomorrow is a new day.
Invite people on the journey – Delegation becomes even more important during overwhelming times in leadership. If you’re world is like mine, that pretty much equates to every season of ministry. Read THIS POST for more of my thoughts on delegation. I’m learning again the value of a team. I’m learning who I can trust, but I’m taking risks on people. I can’t do it without them.
I’m making slow progress, but the process is working. I am expecting great things in the days to come. Stay tuned.
Are you overwhelmed at the changes occurring in your life right now? Try these 5 steps.
What suggestions would you offer?