Life is full of chaos, leaving us overwhelmed and living above our capacity, threatening our sanity. Here is how to handle these seasons.
There are some days that the weight on my chest is so heavy, it literally hurts to breathe. The air I take in is shallow, and I end up deeply sighing repeatedly. Like right now. I literally just forced myself to take a deep breath. The kind of breath that almost feels like scratching an itch. The breath that is cleansing, and feels refreshing. For all of about 45 seconds, until I feel the need to do it again.
It’s my own doing though, I can admit this. When I am active, I feel alive and honestly, more peaceful. Thus, I teeter on a very delicate balance of sanity. It is something I am very aware of, and continually check into. Most days I am operating “at capacity,” meaning I am a little stressed, but mostly I’m having fun. Then there are days I am “over capacity,” meaning the mental and emotional breakdown may happen at any moment, so watch out!
I hit this point this past week. Looking at my partner in crime, I just simply stated, “I’m operating above capacity.” At that point I felt like I could curl up in a little ball and begin to sob. She understood. Praise Jesus for people who I can be real with, and not fear judgement! Typically when at this point, I go into hiding. I simply don’t trust myself around people, and I feel too fragile to trust people with myself.
It is in this time of hiding I replenish and refill my soul. In the hiding I can refocus my perspective. It is in the hiding I find protection and am able to survive the chaos.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:4, NLT
Surviving the Chaos
It begins with self-control…
In these situations, we have to make ourselves stop the chaos in our minds. And when we feel so out of control that that does not seem possible, we need to remember that self control is a gift that has been promised to us.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23, ESV
Then we become still…
Whether it is for ten minutes in the bathroom, or a weekend away, we reach a point when we need to physically stop. But when we stop we need to be careful to not just replace the chaos with a different type of busyness. Instead we are to recognize the majesty of our Lord, and the power He possesses.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10, ESV
Taking a breath…
With every breath, we breathe in the Spirit. With every sigh, we release the tension. There are times when the chaos is so loud, and our minds so cluttered, that prayer is simply breathing. God created our bodies to need oxygen, so breathe Him in deeply.
I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God…
Psalm 34:1-2, MSG
And put it in perspective…
Often, we make scenarios more dramatic than they need to be. If we can view life in the view of eternity, the pressure lessens. The weight of the world does not fall on our shoulders, nor is the outcome based on our situation. We are not powerful enough to change what God has ultimately planned.
…you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
James 4:14, ESV
Gaining control of our reaction…
But we do have the power, through Jesus Christ, to conquer our emotions. This well quoted verse in Philippians is often taken out of context. “All this” refers to finding contentment through hardship. Because of God’s strength, I am able to function calmly in seasons of chaos.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13, NIV
Accepting our limitations…
We are finite beings, facing the limitations of 24 hours, and needing sleep and food to continue in our tasks. If we do not accept these limitations, our bodies will literally force us into submission. But praise be to God, He is not limited!
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26, ESV
To quiet our mind, and move forward…
There are times amidst chaos when we simply cannot stop, to do so would be giving in to fear and to be disobedient. It is possible to still the heart and mind without stilling the body.
And Moses said to the people… “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward…”
Exodus 14:13-15, ESV
So use self-control, take a moment (even if it is just a moment) to catch your breath, and put the chaos in perspective. In doing so, you will gain control, accepting your limitations. Then your mind will quiet, and you will continue on, brave sister.