Overwhelmed by Grace

The circumstances of my current season frequently leave me feeling overwhelmed. There are constant needs to be met, errands to be run, appointments to be made, meals to be cooked, dishes to be cleaned, and so. much. laundry to be folded. My natural response to the feeling of overwhelm is to press on, work harder, and check everything off the to-do list. I tend to believe that if I can just accomplish everything, I’ll feel better. But this response never actually snuffs out the feeling of overwhelm for long because there is always a new list. There is always more to be done.

When it is impossible to stay on top of my work, I am forced to remember the truth that productivity and accomplishment will never bring lasting peace. When the “tyranny of the urgent” and endless tasks threaten to overwhelm me, I don’t need to accomplish more; I need, instead, to be overwhelmed by something bigger. My gaze needs to be lifted to something (and someone) greater than myself and what’s on my plate today.

When I’m overwhelmed, I need more than a few bandaid Bible verses slapped on my circumstances. I need more than the uncertain “hope” that things might get easier in a future season. I even need more than the false promise that I am enough for the tasks set before me. What I need is the fullness of real hope, both cosmic and eternal in its scope.

The gospel is the only news that offers this kind of hope. Christ Jesus, the one through whom ALL things were created, is preeminent over ALL things (Col 1:15-20). As I rest by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, the glorious reality of his preeminence swallows up in victory every smaller reality I face today.

Gloria Furman writes:

“It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are; the greatest reality a mother [or anyone] can appreciate and rest in is the work Jesus has done on the cross on our behalf. Jesus’s purifying and cleansing work through the sacrifice of his own body is preeminent over the dirty laundry that is threatening to avalanche soon. Jesus’s victorious rising from the dead and triumph over death are preeminent over the chaos of your busy household as everyone is shuttled off to where they need to be for the day. Jesus’s sovereign reign over the cosmos and eschatological harnessing of everything under his feet are preeminent over the plans you’ve made for the evening, your busy schedule this weekend, and the ideas you have about your child’s future.

Even as a mother’s hands can be filled with troubles, back-breaking work, and frightening unknowns, she is being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation to be revealed in the future (1 Peter 1:5). Because of the gospel, we mothers can rejoice as we find our hands full of blessings in Jesus, because we know all is grace. There is a circumstance that supersedes all the complexities of your life. It is the simple truth that the one great, permanent circumstance in which you live is that you have been allowed to walk in newness of life as you are united to Christ by faith through grace.”

Whatever he has set before us—blessing, suffering, or a work load that feels too big—God has called us to steward what we have been given with gospel hope as we rest fully in who Christ is and what he has done. As we walk by faith, his strength supplies what we need to do the the work before us. We get the privilege of being a part of God’s work of uniting all things in Christ, and no life circumstance can truly overwhelm us because we have been completely overwhelmed by his grace. As you face what is before you today, stop and look up. Lift your gaze to the preeminent, sufficient Christ!

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