Feeling overwhelmed? Dive into the Psalms
My trusty Life Application NIV Bible has a section on “Where to Get Help in The Book of Psalms.” For example, “When you feel overwhelmed” suggests reading Psalms 25, 69 and 142.
Psalm 25, written by David as he fought against enemies, is a prayer for defense, guidance and pardon. Is that what is really going on when we feel overwhelmed? Do we feel attacked by the world or by a best friend? Do we not have a clear direction on what we should be doing right now or in the future? Or is there a sin we have not yet confessed and asked for forgiveness?
Gracious! All of those things certainly could be overwhelming. David is seeking God, studying God and asking for God’s guidance. Verse 9 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”Do we need more humility, more humbleness, in order to see what God has planned for us? Certainly. God does not want us to feel overwhelmed and unable to do His work on earth.
Psalm 69 is an agonizing description of how overwhelmed David felt at the time. The first 29 verses describe all of the problems facing him and nothing is held back from his cries to the Lord. But starting in verse 30, David declares that no matter what happens he will praise God. He will be the best example of a man living the life God wants for him. Others will see David’s life and will be encouraged because of him. He chooses to continue praying and trusting in God. We must do the same.
Psalm 142 is a prayer written in a cave while David was hiding from King Saul. He felt trapped and cornered with no options -- the ultimate feeling of being overwhelmed. Although we may not be physically trapped, we may have the same feelings with too many options. Is your calendar trapping you at times? When there seems to be too many good options, being unable to do all of the good things we desire is overwhelming. Verse 7 says, “Set me free from my prison that I may praise Your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of Your goodness to me.” A footnote says, “Through prayer we can pull out of our tailspin and be reminded that God cares for us deeply.”
The late author Henri J.M. Nouwen wrote, “In this crazy world, there’s an enormous distinction between good times and bad, between sorrow and joy. But in the eyes of God, they’re never separated. Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom.”