5 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

5 Things to Do When You Feel Overwhelmed

We all feel overwhelmed at times. It is a feeling of being underneath life’s circumstances rather than above. We know we are not called to live this way (“you shall be above only, and not be beneath” – Deuteronomy 28:13), but sometimes our experience doesn’t match up to that truth.

I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed recently because of a full schedule, some commitments I was wondering if I should have made, some unresolved relational challenges, and not getting as much rest as I wanted. After experiencing this for a few hours, I decided to write a blog on how to overcome the feelings of being overwhelmed. (Most of my writings and teachings result from my own struggles.) So here is what I felt like the Lord showed me about overcoming this:

  1. Know it will pass – Aren’t you glad the Bible says in numerous places, “It came to pass” and not “It came to stay”? We will not feel overwhelmed forever. Say out loud, “This too will pass. I am going to have breakthrough and a sense of dominion and inner victory in my thoughts and emotions.”
  2. Attack anxiety through your words – We cannot think a lie when we speak the truth. God’s promises are truth. When we get them in our mouths, we will find the overwhelmed feeling lessening. Also, when we attack any kind of dread, foreboding, or anxiety about specific things in the future (meetings, responsibilities, etc.) with faith-filled words, we will increasingly defeat anxiety. I have been using the phrase, “It’s easy” to attack mindsets that are expecting difficulty. It has helped a lot.
  3. Prioritize and do what you can – Find a way to become proactive. If we are only plugging holes in the dam or just putting out negative fires, we are simply being reactive and will stay overwhelmed. But as we get a plan and decide what we are going to do about our time, finances, relationships, and personal well-being, we will create forward movement in our lives which will cause us to be, and feel, on top of things.
  4. Communicate – Guilt tends to grow when we battle being overwhelmed. This is because we will be more likely to not fulfill responsibilities, and then disappoint people as a result. This will just increase our internal struggle. We can lessen this by communicating with people we are responsible to and for. Whether it is saying “I am sorry – what would you like me to do?”, informing key people of our challenge, or to communicate a change in the time we will do something, we will help ourselves by moving toward people and not away from them.
  5. Get help – When we humble ourselves and ask for prayer, it causes empowering grace to strengthen us. Also, as we allow the pain of being overwhelmed to cause us to pursue wisdom and teaching in how to create margin (surplus) in our time, finances, emotional health, and relationships, we will improve the life choices we are making, which will lessen our being overwhelmed in the future.

For more on this, listen to my podcast. Also, my book Crucial Moments is an outstanding devotional book to help overcome any tendency to live beneath circumstances instead of above.

For more on topics like this, listen to my podcast by clicking the link below.


Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.