Overcoming the Spirit of Overwhelm

by | Sep 4, 2014 | Blogs, The Plumb Line

Sometimes life can be absolutely overwhelming. The enemy is expert at coming in like a flood with crushing circumstances and disturbing thoughts that try to drown you in feelings of helplessness and even hopelessness. “Overwhelm” is an enemy I’ve fought many times over the years, and defeating it starts with understanding what it really is.

Merriam Webster defines “overwhelm” as: to affect (someone) very strongly; to cause (someone) to have too many things to deal with; to defeat (someone or something) completely. Overwhelm also means: upset, overthrow; to cover over completely, submerge; to overcome by superior force or numbers; to overpower in thought or feeling.

Of course, you can be overwhelmed simply from a natural perspective with too much work or too many facts or too much opposition. But the enemy likes to work in our naturally overwhelming circumstances to apply spiritual pressure. When that spiritual pressure mounts, too often we look for a way of escape rather than trusting in the Lord for His sufficient grace to meet the situation at hand.

David Understood Overwhelm

Don’t feel ashamed in your battle against overwhelm. David understood these feelings all too well. He once wrote, “My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, ‘Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest'” (Psalm 55:4-8).

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I could fly away and escape. Yes, this is the same David who ran to the battle line to defeat Goliath without a second (or fearful) thought. And this wasn’t the only time David felt overwhelmed. Another time he wrote, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” (Psalm 61:2). And again, “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then You knew my path” (Psalm 142:3).

The first step in battling overwhelm is to recognize it and acknowledge the situation you find yourself in. Denying feelings of overwhelm won’t help you conquer your flesh or the devil. Once you’ve acknowledged the reality of an overwhelmed heart, you can work with the Holy Spirit to get to the root of these feelings.

What is causing this overwhelm, really? Is the enemy blowing it out of proportion? Is it really as bad as it looks, or is this pressure demonic? Put your circumstances—and your emotions—into perspective. Is there anything you can do right now in the natural to relieve some of the burdens you feel? Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom in the midst of this trial:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8).

God Is Not Overwhelmed

While you wait for this pure wisdom that comes from above, meditate on Jesus. Get your mind off the overwhelming circumstances and onto the Word of God. Pray for grace, strength and whatever else you feel you need from Father in the moment. Remind yourself of His promises. Here are a few I like to keep in mind when overwhelm tries to wreak havoc on my soul:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I will praise Him” (Psalm 28:7).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3).

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

And remember David. When he was overwhelmed with Saul hunting him down and with Absalom trying to overtake his kingdom and with his baby son dying and with even his own sin, he always turned to God. Here is one of his prayers for help in troubling times that you may want to pray for yourself:

“I cry aloud with my voice to the Lord. I make supplication with my voice to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare my trouble before Him.When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. In the way where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. Look to the right and see; for there is no one who regards me; There is no escape for me; no one cares for my soul.

“I cried out to You, O Lord; I said, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. Give heed to my cry, for I am brought very low; Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring my soul out of prison, so that I may give thanks to Your name; The righteous will surround me, for You will deal bountifully with me'” (Psalm 142). Amen!

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor of Charisma. She is also director of Awakening House of Prayer in Fort Lauderdale and author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet and The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at jennifer.leclaire@charismamedia.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us, the Lord Jesus Christ, who gives us the strength to overcome obstacles....

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

Prophetic Word: The Lord Says, ‘I Am the Consuming Fire’

God says that during this season, He is turning up the heat, finding the gold and bringing His refining fire. Job makes a powerful statement of faith as he says of the Lord, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." God knew Job's heart and Job knew the heart...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

RECENT ARTICLES

Prophecy: A Window of Time Has Opened for Believers to Preach the Truth

I was rejoicing and praising God on Friday, June 24, 2022, for the overturning of Roe v. Wade, knowing that an ungodly decree was overturned and one national curse was broken. I heard by the Holy...
The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

The Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: The People I Saw in Hell

In 1998, God gave me a life-changing vision of hell. I receive many questions about my experience from people all over the world, but one question I'm often asked is, "Who did you see in hell?" There are others who say they've had an experience like mine, and they...

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

The United States: Birthed in Prophetic Symbolism

One of the most amazing facts about the Founding Fathers of our nation is this: The one referred to as the "voice" of the revolution (John Adams) and the one referred to as the "pen" of the revolution (Thomas Jefferson) both died on the same day—July 4, 1826—exactly...

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

Why Did God Give ‘This’ to Me?

It’s a question I frequently hear. It’s one I’ve asked. And maybe it’s one you’ve asked, too. The question is, “God, why did You give this to me?” This can be any number of issues, from emotional or psychological struggles to symptoms or sicknesses, disabilities or...

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

No Evil Can Stop What God Has Planned

I sense it. And I perceive a growing number of people in massive proportions sense the increasing momentum of power and might worldwide. Something is on the horizon—something more eerie and ominous than what the people of the world have ever before experienced. Even...

Pin It on Pinterest