Get out of overwhelm…
I’ve coached a lot of women over the last several years who get stuck in a place of overwhelm when making decisions, particularly if there are a lot of good options. We feel a ton of pressure to make the right decision, especially when people are counting on us. This causes us to descend into this place of uncertainty or overwhelm, and it really becomes something that limits us.
It’s okay to be uncertain. It’s okay to step into overwhelm for brief periods of time. Unfortunately, sometimes we get stuck there. In this post, I want to share with you two steps that will help you get out of overwhelm. You’ll also gain clarity and hear what God is saying to you as you navigate your current decision.
The first thing is you’ve got to do is break the loop and stop the cycle of anxiety.
We’ve got to understand where anxiety comes from and what it does to an in our body. First of all, anxiety is a normal response to uncertainty and fear, and it helps keep you safe. It creates a biochemical response to tell your brain and your body to respond in a specific way. For example, imagine you are out in the woods and you see a bear. Your body goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode, and releases chemicals that amp you up. That boost of energy protects you, so that you can safely get away from that bear and keep living. That’s really helpful in those life or death conditions!
But if we’re trying to use our brain, our discernment, and our logic, going into fight, flight, or freeze can make it harder for us to make good decisions. It’s also important to know that the physical response your anxiety creates takes a toll on your body over time. And you don’t just snap out of it! You have to allow your body to process and respond to those chemicals and emotions first before you can access those logical parts of your brain.
The first thing we need to do when we are overwhelmed is let our body and brain know that we’re safe. There are a lot of options for this, and it can be as simple as shifting positions, moving your body, or changing your environment. If you’re sitting in front of your computer, maybe you need to get up and go walk around the house. Go downstairs and get a glass of water. Take a break to do an easy, unrelated task. Switch out laundry or grab lunch. You can also physically move your body, which in turn communicates to your brain that you’re not stuck or hurt. This helps burn off some of that fight, flight, or freeze energy in your body, and also gives your brain a chance to recognize that there is no bear trying to eat you.
Once you’ve disrupted that anxiety cycle and can access the logic part of your brain again, you can move on to the second step of the process, which is to find God’s Word. Now I know a lot of times we’ll say, “Go to God first; go find His word.” But here’s the thing I want you to hear: You have to tend to the anxiety cycle first. I’ve seen women spiral downward trying to find God’s word, apply logic, use discernment, remember what God has said about them, and engage their intuition while they’re in the midst of the fight, flight, or freeze. But your body is different when you’re trying to protect yourself, and so you end up frustrated and working against your body, rather than with it. So settle your body and your emotions first.
A friend of mine has a video, which I posted here, called “Settle Your Glitter”. It’s about understanding emotions and how to manage them in a healthy, helpful way. Do that first, so that your body isn’t fighting you when you try to go find God’s word.
Now, when I say find God’s word, I mean to find His word in a variety of ways. That could be Bible verses,worship songs, remembering things He has spoken over you, or repeating things that other people have spoken over you in His name. There are a whole bunch of different ways God delivers messages to us. To engage in this process, ask yourself and God these three questions:
What is true right now?
What has God said about this decision?
How does God feel about me?
If you’ve calmed your body down, you can take these three questions and you can go into meditation and prayer. If you are still a little fidgety or feel anxiety creep back in while you are trying to process those questions, don’t force yourself to sit still and silent! Make it a walking prayer, or take a quick drive down to the local park and change your scenery. Whatever you need to do, keep bringing those questions back to God. Find what is true right now, what God has said about this, and what He says about you.
These two steps provide a sure-fire way to get yourself out of overwhelm and calm your heart, mind, and soul so that you can make that decision that you’re totally equipped to make.
Settle Your Glitter link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6-p-j8kj8g
Hey there friend! I’m Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC and I’m a Faith Deconstruction coach who provides soul care for people who are untangling from toxic religion.
As a certified life coach and seminary-trained online pastor, I have a lot of experience helping people connect with God. But this is also a very personal journey for me.
For the last decade, I’ve been on my own journey to break free from learned smallness and step into wild sacred holy womanhood. Long story short, after finding faith in my early 30’s I began to realize that what I was hearing from the church about women didn’t always line up with what God was telling me. I loved God but realized the church was teaching some really toxic stuff.
So this Enneagram 8, first born, Gen Xer started deconstructing. I questioned and challenged everything I thought I knew about faith, gender, and myself.
It was messy and took a lot of work to sort it out. Therapy. Coaching. Bodywork. Spiritual healing. Conferences and retreats. And even a couple of college degrees.
You name it…I tried it.
But the thing that made the biggest difference was the presence and support of wise people who helped me up when I didn’t know where else to turn.
That’s why in September 2021, I created and hosted The Deconstructing Faith Summit. I gathered 20 phenomenal deconstruction experts to share their expertise and hosted over 1100 attendees in the week-long virtual event. Those who attended realized they weren’t alone, had a safe space to ask questions, learned dozens of strategies to help them deconstruct, and released tons of pent-up emotions they didn’t even know they were carrying around.
We laughed, we cried, and we danced, but the best part was…We did it together.
It was AMAZING and it was just the beginning.
So now, I’m doubling down on my commitment to create an inclusive support system for people, like you, who are longing to get away from toxic religion and cultivate a nourishing spiritual life.