by Brittney Chan
“You’re doing too much.”
These words have recently become a popular saying. I’m not really sure who coined the phrase or where it came from. Depending on the context, it can be a subtle hint to let someone know that they’re overwhelming you or it can be a backhanded compliment that acknowledges how insanely productive someone is.
I’m guilty of throwing it around to myself, but not so much in a good way... A few weeks ago, I realized that I was in a foul headspace. It seemed as if all the events on my calendar fell into time slots that were barely manageable. I was stressed out, and that caused me to have a negative outlook on my responsibilities. “You’re doing too much.”
I remember praying about it - you know - it was one of those prayers that was slightly dipped in bitterness, but I hoped that God loved me enough to overlook my attitude. On the contrary, His response dealt with it directly. I was reminded that these “obligations” were opportunities, not inconveniences. God was telling me that my mindset mattered!
The big course assignments and final exams that consumed my time were actually being used to grow me into the clinician God is calling me to be. The ten-hour drives to school and back were actually times I could use for prayer and worship. The stresses of setting up classrooms and figuring out which students were going to be on my caseload for the school year were actually chances to build better relationships with coworkers and to prepare a safe space for little minds and bodies to learn. The rush to figure out the program for children’s church was actually a moment to be intentional in the way I lead my kiddos to Christ. Studying and writing for Pursuing Virtue was actually an occasion to hear from the Lord and apply His truths to my own heart first.
You’d think I’d know that, right? It sounds pretty simple. But stress has a funny way of bringing out the worst in us. (Thank God there has yet to be a version of me He hasn’t loved!) Every task becomes a point to check off of your to-do list, instead of a moment to enjoy or an experience that has a greater purpose. The school, work, family, and church responsibilities can pile up and be overwhelming. It leaves us feeling frustrated and longing for a moment of relief.
For those of you in the school world (whether you send your kids or it’s your job) the change of routine that comes with starting a new school year can be unsettling. Juggling work stresses and managing a home life can create conflicts without offering any solutions. There are even times when the things we have volunteered to do will create more stress than fulfillment. We are constantly doing, but it never feels like it's enough.
The truth is: we are not enough. We are not strong enough to carry the load alone. And that was never God’s plan anyway.
What would happen if we flipped the script? If we changed our mindset about the obligations in our lives?
Stop…pause…breathe. Take a look at the responsibilities that your hands hold…the people you care for…the jobs that you do…
How does the way you approach each one bring honor to God? Do you make room for His presence in every conversation? Do you invite Him in the moments of frustration when you feel overwhelmed?
Everyday blessings are hidden in the opportunities that we once saw as inconveniences.