When Life Is Overwhelming

In Missional Living by ChrisMarlow0 Comments

When Life Is Overwhelming

I often meet folks who want to lead something–a business, a church, a nonprofit, whatever. They are in the dream phase. Their plan makes sense on paper, but paper doesn’t always account for the risk. These individuals may not have the chops to fully execute their dreams.

They ask me questions about the “how”. They almost always hate my answer.

Q: How did you build Help One Now?

“I worked really hard for a really long time.”

Q: Um, ya, okay.. but what did you do? Show me the magic! Give me the code!

“I worked really hard for a really long time.”

It’s not talent, education, or cash flow. The foundation for success comes with fierce determination and a lot of hard, but very smart, work.

When Work Is Overwhelming

I’ve spent most of this morning working through travel (nightmare) logistics. It’s complicated. I don’t stress much, but travel logistics often boils my blood and knots my stomach.

If I had my way, I would cancel all the trips and stay home. I would love to spend more time in Raleigh and create rhythms. But–that is not my call.

Starting in mid-May and going until the end of June, I leave for Haiti, then I speak at a church in Charlotte, and then I’m off to Dallas to share at the City Sending Conference. Then I leave for 2.5 weeks to Japan and Thailand, with a little Burma and Laos mixed in. I mean, we need to spice stuff up, right?

Around the World Trip

Around the World Trip

Of course, I have three or four other domestic trips, as well as possible trips to the Dominican Republic in July and the Congo in August. Right now, those trips are still up in the air.

And, I’m working on this other side project–my book. I will need to do a complete rewrite of the book based on the feedback my editor will be giving to me before I leave on my Japan/Thailand trip.

Who Is Guiding You?

I’ve been very fortunate to be close with friends who live a much more hectic life than I do; they have been gracious and shared some road warrior pro tips with me. These tips have helped me manage the chaos and deal with the pressure.

The bottom line is this: if you’re going to make an impact and build something great and pursue your dreams, you will have seasons where collisions happen all over the place.
And those collisions can be overwhelming.

Crash and Burn or Hustle and Rest

The Help One Now team hustles. We run hard–week in and week out. We have learned that you cannot take anything for granted. One week, we’re on top of the world; the next week, we are fighting for our lives. Don’t get me wrong; we are not workaholics. 80% of the time, we demand our team to be done with work at 5:30PM.

Usually we work hard for months and then, we have breakthroughs. Those breakthroughs creates the momentum and impact we need as an organization to fulfill our mission and resource our leaders. But, here’s the thing: you can’t control the timing or size of each breakthrough.

In the last few months, God has been gracious and connected us with some massive opportunities with Major League Baseball players in the US and Japan. When I throw in some speaking gigs that I committed to months ago and the book deadline and some “oh my, that opportunity came out of nowhere,” the chaos really kicks into high gear.

This is not us saying “Yes” to everything, this is us affirming the very best opportunities so we can create the most significant impact possible.

I’m sure you can also relate to this. No doubt, you also face intense pressure in your life and often, the pressure seems so acute, so overwhelming.

So, how do we handle the pressure and deal with the chaos?

1) Perspective: I have to often pinch myself and remember when Help One Now was a “multi-hundred dollar” nonprofit. It helps me reframe the stress and remember the potential impact that these seasons in life will make.

2) Blessings: It’s such a blessing to travel to countries like Thailand and Japan. Yes, logistics are crazy and travel is exhausting. But I have take a step back and remember how fortunate I am. (Plus, on this trip, I will get to take my entire family!) This helps me focus on the positive, which far outweigh the negatives!

3) Seasons: This kind of travel and pressure are not sustainable long term. For six weeks, I will put my head down, knowing that I can see the finish line. This is not normal; before I know it, the season will have passed, the memories will have been made, and the impact will be living in the tangible. It is just a season; it’s not my entire life.

4) Mission: Study Scripture just for a moment and you see the hustle, the determination, the fight in all the key biblical players. Life is hard and has demands. Part of being a disciple is learning how to rely on God’s strength and wisdom in times where it seems as if we cannot make it.

5) Rest: Often, we want to rest more than work. But, that makes no sense. True rest, deep rest, soul-fulfilling rest can only be experienced when the work has been accomplished. (Tweet This)

These moments of rest connect us to living a life that matters, to one that creates beauty.

I believe in rest now, more than ever. Slow down, speed up, slow down, speed up. This seems to be the ebbs and flow of a life well lived.

When life is overwhelming, just remember to take a step back, reassess, and try to understand the big picture.

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