You probably saw it somewhere on social media today, another loaf of homemade bread. It was perfectly golden and swollen to impossible heights of fluffy goodness. Scrolling down the website page makes you feel worse. Picture after picture of perfect living spaces with bare counters and fresh flowers are arranged in spring colored palettes. Recipe after recipe boasts images that would make Martha Stewart salivate.
Most of the days I’m trolling social media, I’m looking for recipes tagged easy and quick with five ingredients or less. I need directions I can follow while navigating the minefield of Lego covering our not-so-bare counters and floors. All those stylish outfits and home staging images on Pinterest make my closet and house look like a second-hand store after a 50% off sale.
Combat being overwhelmed by being overwhelmed.
Consider something like fear. I fear lots of things, especially when it comes to putting myself out into the world through teaching, speaking, or writing books. Most of those fears can be listed under the subheading of fear of man.
I don’t fight against the fear of man by inflating my self-esteem or by convincing myself that I am all that and a bag of chips. (Great, now I want chips…) I fight fear with fear. The only way to defeat a sinful fear of man is by cultivating a right and healthy fear of God. Only then, will God’s opinion of me matter more than man’s opinion. Yes, there is space to correct poor biblical thinking regarding who I am in Christ, but ultimately fighting a fear of man is not about feeling better about myself. It’s about knowing who God is, what God has said about me, and believing His word to be true.
Be overwhelmed by the right things
Fighting against feeling overwhelmed is quite similar. I don’t fight being overwhelmed by throwing everything “extra” into the trash, although there may be space for that kind of application in my life. Ultimately, I combat the feeling of being overwhelmed with life by cultivating a heart that is overwhelmed with God. When I know who God is, what He has done for me, and what He has promised me for the future, pleasing Him captivates my heart. Suddenly, I want to pursue Him, obey Him, and walk in submission to Him. I want it more than I want to post a social media snapshot of my so-called perfect life. I am always overwhelmed when the pursuit of image or status overcomes my pursuit of God.
Keep the first things first
When my heart is fixated on the many blessings already received from God, on following His direction rather than the direction in which culture points me, listening to His voice rather than the voice of doubt, the other things fade away.
So bake bread from scratch, if you want to bake bread. Decorate with a minimalist flair, or layer nick nacks and pictures and doilies and lace. Stay caught up on your laundry with daily loads, or work through the wash one day a week. Find the rhythm that works for you in regards to how you manage your responsibilities, but even more important than that, find God.
If I keep the first things first, the rest tends to sort itself out. The most important decision I make every single day is the decision to enter into the presence of God, to seek Him first, to understand His call on my life, and to respond to Him in obedience.
And sometimes, after that, I bake bread. But most days, I do the laundry.