Compass Resources for When You are Overwhelmed

We live in a world that seems to be spinning faster and faster and a society where it is remarkably easy to become overwhelmed. The constant demands of work, family, and personal commitments create a sense of drowning in a sea of responsibilities and the pressure to do more, be more, has become a prevailing mantra in our lives.

In our pursuit of productivity and success, we have somehow lost sight of the essential need for margin in our lives. Margin, the breathing space that allows us to think, heal, and connect with others, does not magically appear on its own. It must be intentionally cultivated and protected. Richard Swenson, author of Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives puts it this way:

“We must have some room to breathe. We need freedom to think and permission to heal. Our relationships are being starved to death by velocity. No one has the time to listen, let alone love. Our children lay wounded on the ground, run over by our high-speed good intentions. Is God now pro-exhaustion? Doesn’t He lead people beside the still waters anymore? Who plundered those wide-open spaces of the past, and how can we get them back? There are no fallow lands for our emotions to lie down and rest in.”

 The Overwhelm Epidemic: A Modern Plague

Feeling overwhelmed is a common affliction in our modern world, and it is driven by several contributing factors. One of the major culprits is the breakneck pace at which we live. Technology, while offering convenience, has tethered us to an ever-accelerating treadmill. The constant barrage of emails, messages, and notifications leaves little room for respite.

We have also become conditioned to equate busyness with productivity and success. The prevailing belief is the more we do, the more we achieve. So, we strive to fill every moment with activity – work, social obligations, personal projects. Unfortunately, this relentless pursuit of more often results in less – less time for ourselves, less time for our loved ones, and less time for meaningful connection.

It is no wonder that when faced with this onslaught, our immediate response is to seek ways to do even more. We attend time management seminars, read self-help books, and try to become more efficient. We strive to become superhumans who can juggle an ever-increasing number of tasks.

The Answer to Overwhelm: Creating Margin and Rest

The real antidote to overwhelm is not to pile more onto our plates; it is to create margin in our lives. Margin is not about just freeing up time; it is about fostering a mindset that values rest, reflection, and rejuvenation as essential components of a fulfilling life.

Swenson states, “We do not rest because our work is done; we rest because God commanded it and created us to have a need for it.” Rest is not a luxury; it is a necessity woven into the fabric of our existence. The need for rest is hardwired into us, and when we deny it, we risk our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

It is vital, perhaps now more than ever, to rediscover the lost art of rest and Sabbath. In today’s world, the Sabbath may no longer be a single day of the week. Instead, Sabbath may be part of a daily rhythm – a consistent practice that feeds our souls and rejuvenates our spirits. Swenson states,

“The Sabbath rest is a rest He calls us to, but the surrendered rest He offers to us. The Sabbath rest we enter out of obedience; the surrendered rest we enter out of our need. The Sabbath rest arises from the good and perfect law of God; the surrendered rest arises from the good and perfect grace of God. The Sabbath rest is remembrance; the surrendered rest is meekness. Both provide soothing, God-ordained healing.”

This surrendered rest is about acknowledging our limitations and embracing the grace that allows us to be imperfect, human, and in need of rest. It’s about recognizing that we are not called to be constantly on the go, but to pause, to reflect, and to rest. 

Creating Margin in Your Life

But how can we create this margin in our lives? How can we break free from the cycle of busyness and overwhelm? One practical approach is to engage in a group that helps provide support for you as you engage in your transformative process.

While our retreats are challenging physically, mentally and spiritually, Crucible Weekends provides a space to examine what is and is not working in your life. It is an opportunity to explore how to make significant and lasting changes toward a healthier, more balanced life by discovering more about who God made you to be.

After attending a weekend retreat, a great way to continue your personal growth and exploration of concepts like margin and intentional rest is to participate in a Crucible Growth Group. These groups meet regularly, offering a safe and supportive environment to share experiences and insights, gain wisdom from others, and collectively navigate the journey towards a life with more margin and intentional rest.

The overwhelming demands of modern life are inescapable, but our response to them does not have to be more busyness and burnout. By embracing the need for margin and intentional rest, we can find solace in the midst of chaos. The Sabbath is no longer relegated to a single day but is a daily practice that feeds our spirits, allowing us to embrace the surrendered rest that rejuvenates our souls. In a world where velocity reigns, let us choose to carve out space for still waters and open spaces to rest, heal, and connect.