When Overwhelmed is an Understatement

yellow wall

Have you ever felt so deeply buried beneath everything needing your attention that the word overwhelmed doesn’t even scratch the surface?  That’s where I am lately.  Feeling overwhelmed, overrun, over the edge.

If you were to visit my home today, you may wonder about my housekeeping skills.  The kitchen is in disarray from time well spent between siblings making sugar cookies.  School books and supplies cover the table, along with a few displaced Christmas decorations.

Before the evening ends, the living room will house four or five pairs of abandoned shoes, and the coffee table will be littered with cups left there by a few somebodies who have already turned in for the night.

I cringe at the mountain of laundry lurking in my bedroom. I shake my head at the floors that once again need mopping. I detest the bathrooms that are never as clean as they should be. And the paperwork, that never ending mound of paper which always finds its way onto the countertops. I’m never successful at conquering it all, despite my best efforts.

All this in one quick glance.  And it doesn’t begin to address the purging that needs to happen in the hidden parts of the house.  The closets filled with outdated or ill-fitting clothes. The collectibles that are no longer collected. The bounty of school books demanding to be cleared out and passed on.

When I concentrate on what needs to be done, I grow weary.  I don’t know where to begin, much less how to finish.  A fleeting thought darts through my mind… run away, run far away.  And yet, I stay.  I stay and linger here, in the midst of this messiness, because there is more here than meets the eye.

That flour-covered kitchen indicates that my children enjoy spending time together.  The cluttered table signifies to me that we are making progress academically, even though the excitement of Christmas is hard to tame.  The discarded shoes, piles of laundry, and dirty dishes are evidence of life – the very existence of this precious family God has entrusted to me.  And the need to do away with so much stuff is a stark reminder that God meets our needs and blesses us far more than we deserve.

Shifting my focus off my to-do list and onto my why-I-do-what-I-do list helps me tremendously.  I become less overwhelmed with what must be done, and more overwhelmed with gratitude for the sheer blessing of it all.

Yes, all these duties must be dealt with at some point, and then they’ll need doing over again. But let’s work on our perspective, sisters.  Let’s choose to see the beauty around us rather than settling on those parts that aren’t so beautiful.

So when you come calling, I’ll try not to worry too much over the cleanliness of my house.  And as we sit and chat, I pray you’ll notice the good within the walls of this house, even if the sink is full of dishes, the floors are a tad dirty, and I conveniently forget to give you a tour.



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