I choked back the lump rising in my throat because this wasn’t about me at all. This was a special adult baptism and dedication service, involving my daughter-in-law and grandson. But I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed and overcome by emotion as I sat in church for the first time in years. Though my grandson’s welcoming hug helped enormously.
While others stood and sang tunefully loud and proud, I stayed seated, barely croaking out the words. Mostly whispering them to myself. My physical weakness has been affecting my voice for years with fading, huskiness and coughs whenever I speak too long. And singing, which I used to love, is usually beyond me now.
Tears sprang to my eyes as I felt the lack clashing with a strong desire to join in. It would have been easy to give in to them and sob out my inner pain. But I swallowed them back and sensed God reassuring me that He heard my heart singing His praises, anyway.
The electric atmosphere, excitement and importance of the occasion were enough to make me feel overwhelmed. But so was the recognition of my weakness and pain. Travelling had depleted me enormously, though we’d arrived a few days in advance of the service taking place. Sadness sat within as I ached to feel stronger and be less dependent on others.
A holy reminder that helped quell feeling overwhelmed
Then the Lord reminded me of His mercy and grace and how much I had learnt in the process of acceptance so far. Could I not simply be thankful for being here in this moment, this day? Could I appreciate this occasion as one of joy instead of struggle? Would I sacrifice my desires for the greater good? And might I allow others to serve me if need be?
These challenging questions circled around my mind as I tried to participate in what I could achieve. At the heart of my concerns lay a kernel of pride and independence, both of which were being hammered by my circumstances. Yet God graciously gave me the unexpected gift of having voice enough to join in with the final song. Hallelujah!
As the day advanced, I learnt how to relax in my state of weariness and weakness. It became easier when I received help without needing to ask for it. Although I might have thought I was being judged by others, they were actually kind and considerate. My own inner critic’s voice was the one giving me a hard time, not those present at the event.
Several lessons were absorbed in my soul that day. If you have had similar thoughts or experiences as a person struggling to cope with chronic illness, or know someone who is, then these useful tips might help. Because we can so easily become wearied and overwhelmed.
9 tips for when you feel overwhelmed
1. Plan well in advance of energy-sapping events.
2. Talk to God and family about how you are feeling.
3. Don’t let pride stop you from asking for or receiving help.
4. Focus more on what you can do than on what you can’t.
5. Be gracious, friendly, thankful and appreciative to others.
6. Find at least one thing you can do: showing up, being engaged, listening, praying, smiling, letting joy rule instead of self-pity.
7. Remember that others have their own battles to fight, so be understanding and kind.
8. Know when you’ve reached your limit and when to take a break.
9. Allow yourself all the time you require to recover some strength.
While I am grateful for these tips, I wish they had come to me before I went away! 😏 However, I am still in recovery mode, needing to take longer than I thought to recoup some strength, especially as I battle with fresh challenges.
We’re focusing on this topic because it’s M.E Awareness Month. If you’re uncertain what M.E is then this article will help you identify it. How do you cope when you are having to overexert yourself? What helps you get back on track? Do share in the comments below.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful words that the Lord spoke to you. Oh, how well I know that feeling of overwhelm! But what a blessing that God allowed you to see and feel His grace right there in the midst of the hardest places. You are a beautiful inspiration to me, as I am still learning the Lord’s ways to walk this pathway. Truly He does have such mercy and grace for us right here. And like you, I am so grateful when He helps me to sing out His praises–whether the sound is weak or full, He is still so glorified in our praises! Blessings, love, and prayers for you my dear friend, as you rest and recover this week. xoxo
Dear Bettie, the blessing came at just the right time and made me wake up to the joy of the occasion instead of focusing on my weariness, weakness and pain. Such a gift of grace! You inspire me too, with your example and words and I am so thankful for your company, support and understanding. It truly does help to have fellow chronic illness warriors walking alongside us! I love how you have reminded me of the way God receives our praises, be they “weak or full” they still reach Him as we intend them to. Blessings, love and prayers for you too, dear friend, as you recover from your own recent exertions and face more to come. xoxo 💜
I am glad you managed to overcome your emotions and to enjoy nevertheless this special moment with your family. Your tips are priceless and I agree with them, although I am not religious per say. My beliefs lie elsewhere but are always comforting. See my posts, #28 days, Reward, Heal and FMFs.
Have a restful week.
Dear Susan, how sweet and kind of you to visit and leave a lovely, thoughtful comment! I’m glad you found some merit in the tips I shared. It’s good to connect with you from the #FMF linkup. May your week be restful too and blessed with joy-filled moments. 😊💜
Hi Joy ! I also replied to you on Blogger, Life in Poetry. Yesterday ! https//:www.writingsusanb-rouch.blogspot.fr
Hi Susan, I’ve tried to find the thread of that post and I couldn’t see any new comments. Maybe it’s not shown up yet for some reason. And I didn’t get an email notification either. Sorry, I seem to have missed it. But thank you anyway for letting me know here. Blessings on the rest of your week. 😊🌼
For some reason Blogger wouldn’t publish my reply to your comment on my own blog !
Oh how annoying! The world of blogging can throw up some surprises and challenges along the way but this seems odd to me. You should be able to leave a reply on your own site. Yet I know Blogger can multiply or leave comments out sometimes. Perhaps you could try again? Hope it works out for you. If not, you can always reply to me here or via my contact page.
For some reason, Blogger wouldn’t publish the reply to your comment on my own blog !
I’m so glad God helped you to focus on the joy of the occasion even while you were so weary and weak, Joy. We truly need grace for that, don’t we? I love all your tips, though I am not so good at many of them. I always try to act strong and don’t share how I’m feeling with others, and that just taxes me more in the end. I’m not very good at asking for help or taking a break when I need it. Often I’m pleading, “Help me, Jesus, please!” I so identify with this – “My own inner critic’s voice was the one giving me a hard time, not those present at the event.” Thank you for understanding! Love and blessings of rest in every way!
I’m grateful for it too, Trudy. My mind was steered in a more positive direction, which was good for me and everyone I interacted with as well. Thank you for letting me know the tips are helpful. I can’t pretend I’m able to keep to them myself! Though it’s beneficial to ask for and receive help, something in us seems unwilling to do just that. Strange, but true… I have the kind of inner pleading you describe going on as well. And it’s quite a revelation when we see that people are far less likely to judge us than we thought, and far more willing to assist than we imagined. Thank you for understanding my perspective. It helps to know we’re not alone, doesn’t it? Blessings, hugs and love to you, dear friend! xo 💜
Joy-your raw words are reminders for all of us that anyone with chronic illness needs to be treated with tenderness. Your open heart in sharing what it feels like coupled with practical tips will help everyone.
I can’t imagine what this feels like, but your words teach me that offering help is okay. Thank you for being so real and willing to share honestly.
Mary, I so appreciate you stopping by to read this post and offer such sweet encouragement. Yes, offering help may need to be done with sensitivity and tact but it’s welcome when we’re struggling and forget or neglect to ask for it ourselves. My hope and prayer in sharing aspects of my journey and experience is to help and support others who are living with M.E and chronic illness. It’s a blessing to see you here, my friend! xo 💜
Ongoing prayers and appreciation for you, Dear Joy! Be gentle with yourself, as God is infinitely gentle. ❤
Thank you, Cheryl Anne! That’s so kind of you. Being gentle with ourselves is often harder than we think, but I see the wisdom in it too. I appreciate the reminder of God’s great gentleness with us. If we drive ourselves upwards and onwards it can become an act of the flesh instead of a response to God’s calling and grace. Bless you, dear friend. 💜❤
Thank you for sharing these tips. I have found that it helps me to recognize when an sad anniversary makes it a hard day, It is important to take time to grieve and be gentle with yourself.
I’m glad they have been helpful for you. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Our difficult days do make it harder to remember to practice good self-care sometimes. But it is vital to be gentle with yourself, just like you say, if you are needing time to grieve and recoup some strength before moving forward again. Sending healing blessings and prayers your way. May you find peace in the midst of the pain. 🌸❤