When You Feel Overwhelmed

July 13, 2013 — 5 Comments

It’s no coincidence that the last post I wrote was over a month ago and it was about getting a puppy.

Everett David Hill

Everett David Hill

These last six weeks have been filled to the brim. We got a puppy, I became the only ordained pastor at our church again, my final project for the first year of my DMin is wrapping up, and we had our second child, Everett David Hill.

Each of these events have brought monumental change to our lives. All combined, life has felt overwhelming at times. However, in the midst of it all, Sara and I have experienced a profound joy as we’ve marveled at how cool God is. In what follows, let me share a few reflections that should have been entire blog posts during the past six weeks.

1. Ask for help. You’re less cool if you try to do everything yourself and let your life, marriage, family, or job fall apart.

About a month ago, a friend of mine offered to organize a time where friends would help us around our house. I don’t want to say too much about this because Sara wrote an entire post about this experience that I’ll publish soon. But I’ll say this:

Being the man of the house and all, I felt like I was slacking on my husbandly duties by having others come and do work around the house for us. And that might be the case. But in three hours one morning, our friends did work that I had been putting off for years. Sara was on cloud nine that day and that’s worth taking a hit to my pride.

2. Saying you’re too busy is just an excuse. I’ve told myself since June sixth that I’ve been too busy to write another blog post. And yes, I’ve been really busy. But I can’t tell you how much time I’ve wasted on Instagram, Facebook, and other random websites while procrastinating. Just today, I think I’ve spent more time on the Internet than what I’ve invested on this post so far.

There’s always a fifteen-minute slice you can carve out each day to work on something that’s important to you. And you’d be surprised by how much progress you can make with fifteen minutes of daily effort.

3. Life rarely happens as you plan. For the second half of June, Sara got increasingly anxious with each day that passed where Everett was still in utero. When the first week of July came, Sara was very ready for Everett to come. I, on the other hand, knew that he’d get here eventually, and that each day he waited was another day that I could do serious DMin work.

We had a three-day weekend with July 4th, and I had this grand plan to do epic amounts of reading and writing as a big final push before Sara would have hers.

Sara went into labor in the middle of the night right before I set out on my 48 hours of work.

I should have known. The same thing happened nineteen months earlier with Lylah when I was participating in National Novel Writing Month. I had tried to write 50,000 words in a month and I was at roughly 43,000, trying to catch up at the end of the month when Sara went in to labor.

And it’s not like she was early. In both pregnancies, Sara went into labor on her due date.

So maybe another lesson in this is don’t procrastinate!

4. Don’t squander the gifts you’ve been given. Sara has been incredibly generous to me lately. She’s given me time to get away from the house and really concentrate on doing work. And this has been at great cost to her because she’s had to take care of Lylah while nine months pregnant.

While sitting at Central Perk, it’s tempting for me to check my Facebook profile for the eighth time that morning, or look for more programs to install on my new (and amazing) MacBook Air.

But Sara has given me this time as a gift and she’s been working hard for me to have it. So I need to remember to use it well.

Similarly, countless people in our church have been tremendously generous with their time, money, and abilities. And I want to honor their generosity by using what I’ve been given wisely.

So when people are generous to you, don’t squander it.

This post literally took less time than what I’ve spent looking at Instagram today. When you feel overwhelmed, what practices do you need to remember to maintain?


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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Dave

    Sorry, I guess Desert Friends is to blame for your Instagram time-wasting. Good post though.

    • Dave, I think there is a way that you can embed links into comments… It’s crazy. You are getting like 100 new followers a day!

  • Kelsi Schilling

    Thanks Austin. I’ve also been feeling overwhelmed & need to learn to appreciate what other’s are willing to do for me. I struggle with pride & not asking for help when I should. I recently started a Master’s program in Mental Health counseling & finding time to take care of my family & do (good) work is difficult! The little guy is super cute & I love the name! God Bless!

    • Congratulations on starting the new program! Make sure you stay tuned for Sara’s post that will come out this next week. It’s all about accepting help from others. Best of luck with the four of you as you all continue to get adjusted to your new(ish) place and as you’ve started classes again.

  • scrhill

    When I feel overwhelmed, breaking things down into manageable chunks helps. I want to lose weight, so breaking it down into manageable chunks of working out 20 minutes a day, and watching what I eat at each meal will help me obtain that goal. When I am overwhelmed at my messy house, setting a timer for 20 minutes and going on a cleaning frenzy helps me to get started.