A. Introduction: It's interesting that back in Aug.

when I sent an email to the board volunteering to give this talk, that at that time I was feeling pretty good and thought I was getting a handle on the overwhelm in my life. Well, my email got lost in the shuffle for several months and in the mean time overwhelm went into over drive. It seems God had a few more things to teach me before I gave this talk. I want you to know that I have not mastered dealing with overwhelm. I am a fellow pilgrim in this area, and I'm still learning lessons. I imagine it will be a life-time process. Just briefly, some of the things that cause or have caused overwhelm in my life while trying to homeschool are, dealing with death & health issues of extended family members; chronic pain from past car accidents; complications from celiac disease, mental health issues of a family member, learning challenges of one of my kids and general issues of having teens having “growing pains” in the area of relationships. God has used these things to teach me and grow me up. He never wastes trials. There is always a good purpose for them. Often however, we get to the point where we feel completely out of control, and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. This is overwhelm. When I think of overwhelm one Biblical character I think of is Elijah. 1 Kings 19:2-4 tells us: 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. 3 And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. There three Lessons from Elijah that I will focus on: 1. Don't make important decisions when you are overwhelmed.

We see Elijah running for his life when there was no indication he had gotten direction from God to run. He was physically and emotionally exhausted and he makes the decision to leave his servant behind when he really needed him. We often make unwise decisions in the heat of the moment. Take time to step back and pray before you make important decisions when you feel snowed under. One such time was when I felt that I needed to put Nathaniel in 4-H (against his wishes) because I felt that I needed to be doing what so many others are doing with their kids. I felt pressured to “keep up with the Jones” so to speak and to be able to impress those who don't support homeschooling that we are doing everything else others kids do. It turned out to be a bomb. He hated every minute of it and we ended up dropping out before the year was even half done. It was a waste of money and time for us. I'm sure you can think of decisions you made because you were either overwhelmed with life at the time or feeling you weren't doing your kids justice. I also see here that Elijah left his servant behind. When we are overwhelmed and discouraged, it is easy to want to isolate ourselves from others. This is the time when we need to surround ourselves with wise, godly friends who can help us make wise decisions 2. Ask yourself what is happening in your life at this time that is causing you overwhelm. Elijah wanted to end his life because he was so overwhelmed. Think about it. He had just had a show down with the prophets of Baal and had his life threatened by Jezebel. He had just run a long distance to Beersheba plus went another days journey alone from there. No wonder the man wanted to die! When we find ourselves overwhelmed with our circumstances we need to stop and evaluate exactly why we are in that spot. Is there anything we can change to make things better? Is there anything we are doing that is contributing to being overwhlemed? Some common contributors to the overwhelm in my life have been... too much non-productive computer time

Lack of routine and schedule. Inconsistency in discipline of the children. Procrastination Not getting to bed at a decent time I am sure you can think of your own contributors to overwhelm. Learning to use the Prioity Matrix has been helpful to me to see how I should use my time. We won't do this exercise here because of time constraints, but take this priority matrix and write down the steps I'll give you for using it. Here are the steps... a. Write down what your goals are b. Write down the tasks you need to do for a given week d. Sort your list of to-do's into the Four Quadrants Quadrant 1: Urgent/Important---these things will get done regardless--meals prepared, grocery shopping, bills paid, etc. Basically things you do to live & keep crditors off your back. Quadrant 2: Not Urgent/Important--these things are important to reaching your goals in life. Spend most of your time here if you want to reach your goals.---for me, educating my kids, writing, spiritual growth are some of my goals, so tasks related to these go in this quadrant. Quadrant 3: Urgent/not important---these are things that are important to other people but not to you. Or they are things that need to be done but can be scheduled around other things. Try to schedule these things around the first two quadrants and say no to too much. These would be non urgent phone calls, social activities, non essencial commitments outside of home, errands, etc. Quadrant 4: Not urgent/Not important--these things are time wasters. Non productive computer time, too much idle chatting on the phone, etc. You fill in the blank. There are many good resources online that will help you if organization

either in your home or homeschool is an issue. I will include those resources in an email that I'll send out shortly. Please don't be impressed that I am incredibly organized and using all this stuff, because I am not. But I am making baby steps toward getting there between my neck flare ups and tendonitis flares. God is teaching me patience and how to pace myself. Observe lastly, 3. When overwhelmed, we need to make sure we get adequate rest, nourishment and water. Often things happen in our lives that we have no control over. Illness, chronic pain, friends or family move away or we move, death, or any number of events or things can enter our lives and overwhelm us. Especially during these times of stress it's important to get good nutrition, rest, and hydration. 1Kings 19:5-6 5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. 6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. Besides good food, water and rest, There are some other things you can do to help ease the stress of overwhelm that you have no control over. Most important is meditating on scriptures that speak to your situation. This is where scripture memorized over the years comes in handy because the Holy spirit will bring those back to your mind when you need them. Prayer. I find it helps to write my prayers out. There are many natural supplements that help ease the emotional stress of overwhelm. Just to name a few:

Supplements to Help With Overwhelm
Bach Rescue Remedy--for immediate stress relief

St. John's Wort--help with mild depression

Inositol Powder--help with anxiety

B-Stress Formula--nutritional stress support (also repels mosquitos when taken for a couple weeks prior and during a camping trip! Not adverstised to do this but we know by experience)
http://www.vitacost.com/Natures-Way-B-Stress-Formula-with-SiberianEleuthero Journaling is another important way to help yourself through stressful periods. It gets your thoughts out on paper and works as a release valve. You might even write your prayers out to the Lord about the situation. I've kept journals for years. I have 17 of them now and it has been a great encouragement to go back and read them and see how God has carried me through in the past and be encouraged that he will do it again in my present circumstance. I don't know what you are facing that is overwhelming you right now. But I pray that something I've shared here will trigger your thoughts and help you to find ways to persevere through it. In closing I would like to read a quote from the daughter of a friend of mine: When God breaks us, he doesn't leave us broken. He heals. And when he heals, he makes us even more whole than we were before. No matter how dark the valley, we have to keep trusting Him that he will bring streams of living water. God restores. God heals. God redeems. He may not always do things how we want him to, but what he does or allows, he works for good. This is our God; The Rock, the Redeemer, the Savior.

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