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 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
Angela J Herrington, MA, LSCC is a Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women at AngelaJHerrington.com , founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry, and Christian feminist activator at WildSacredHoly.com.
Angela is a spunky Gen Xer who creates sacred spaces for vulnerable exploration. Her specialty is helping Christian women untangle themselves from limiting beliefs, toxic religious culture, and all the ways the enemy tries to keep them small. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela and her unique online ministry were featured in Lyz Lenz’s 2019 book God Land: Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She also has been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is also a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest, and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women-led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
Angela is also a wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.