What Does The Bible Say About Feeling Overwhelmed?

We all feel overwhelmed at times. Sometimes it is a result of taking on too much work or responsibility; other times it is caused by things we cannot control, like physical illness or emotional trauma. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed when everything is normal and we don’t see any reason for feeling that way. Even things we enjoy can leave us feeling overwhelmed if there is too much to do. We face daily pressures from jobs or school, from friends and family, and from temptations to sin. These can pile up and seem completely unmanageable. Fortunately, the Bible speaks to us about feeling overwhelmed.

How Jesus Handled Stress

In the Gospels, we get a picture of how Jesus dealt with stress. He was the sinless Son of God, but He often went away by Himself to get away from large crowds-even from those that needed His help and healing (Mark 1:35). At times He retreated even from His disciples. Other times, He retreated with His disciples: “Because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest'” (Mark 6:31). It was not selfish of Jesus to get away from people and commune with God. It was wise of Him to seek time for His disciples to rest, as well. We can rightly assume it is okay for us to spend some time alone, too, if we are feeling overwhelmed by people and responsibilities. It is interesting to note that Jesus also enjoyed great inner peace because of His trust in God. Even in the midst of a storm, He could sleep (Matthew 8:23-24).

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There was one occasion when Jesus described Himself as feeling overwhelmed. It was in Gethsemane just before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. “He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to [his disciples]. ‘Stay here and keep watch.’ Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed” (Mark 14:33-35). In considering the fact that we, too, can be overwhelmed by situations facing us, there are three things to note here: first, Jesus was completely honest about how He felt. Second, He solicited the help of friends. Third, He prayed. Jesus took His burden to His Father. What a good model for us.

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