Have you felt overwhelmed with what it takes to write and publish a book?
In this episode of our Breakthrough series, CJ and I are going to help you as Kingdom Writers overcome this obstacle of overwhelm. What makes this series different than most training for writers is that we integrate the powerful combination of Scripture and prayer to help you breakthrough the obstacles holding you back.
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Notes from this episode:
- Psalm 142: 2-3a – “I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.”
- “I spill out my heart to you and tell you all my troubles. For when I was desperate, overwhelmed, and about to give up, you were the only one there to help. You gave me a way to escape from the hidden traps of my enemies.” – Psalms 142:2-3TPT
- Hebrew word for overwhelmed here is “ataph” which means: to a shroud, i.e. clothe (whether transitive or reflexive); hence (from the idea of darkness) to languish:—cover (over), fail, faint, feebler, hide self, be overwhelmed, swoon.
- Ataph is also used in Jonah 2:7 – “As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple.”
- “fainting away” – ESV
- “Ebbing away” – NIV
- How many would agree that Jonah was overwhelmed inside the belly of a whale?
- You might say that Jonah was “overWHALEmed”
- Whenever you feel overwhelmed, just think of Jonah and your situation will improve 🙂
7 Tips to Overcome the Overwhelm
1.) Take a mini-break
Do something you love that nurtures you. Here are a few ideas:
- Listen to calming music
- Go for a walk
- Sit in silence
- Take a nap
- Read a book (for FUN)
- Have a cup of coffee
- Tea on the porch
- Play an instrument
- Deep breathing
- Time in nature
- Do a brain dump
2.) Use a whiteboard, mindmap, or in a notebook. Sometimes getting OFF your computer can help when you feel overwhelmed. Getting everything out of your head helps to stop the swirling thoughts. You now can see everything in one place and you know you won’t forget it. This step can give you clarity on where to focus on first.
3.) Prioritize your list
What is most important for you to finish first?
4.) Focus only on today
We put unnecessary pressure and expectations on ourselves to try to do ALL THE THINGS. What do you need to do today? Put it on a sticky note or piece of paper and put the master list away where you can’t see it.
5.) Eliminate or Delegate
What can you completely eliminate from your list or delegate to someone else? If you are overwhelmed, there is a good chance that you are overcommitted.
6.) Think in terms of layering
Focus on one layer at a time and build upon it. It’s like starting with the edges of a puzzle first and then filling in the center. For publishing a book, the first layer is outlining your book. Then, comes writing the first draft. Then self-editing. Then professional editing. And so forth. You won’t do everything at once.
7.) Capture your ideas for later
For all the ideas that are not, for now, capture them somewhere to re-evaluate later.
It’s kind of like parking your car in a parking garage. You’re not discarding it. You’re not saying, “I’m never going to do this.” You’re not being irresponsible. You’re simply saying, “I’m going to park this idea in the parking garage. It’s safe here and I will get back to it later.
This tells your brain, “I have my idea stored away. It’s OK. I will get back to that task, but right now this is my focus.”
- Story of Mary & Martha – Luke 10:38-41
- Martha was overwhelmed in the kitchen while Mary was overwhelmed by the teaching of Jesus.
- “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42
- Martha was doing something productive while missing out on precious time with Jesus. Jesus affirmed Mary’s decision to linger and listen to his feet.
- We can find ourselves distracted and occupied with a whole lot of busywork while missing nuggets from the heart of Jesus.
- There really is no time more productive than spending focused time in prayer and meditation of God’s Word.
- Example of Phillip Telfer saying he was striving to pray twice as long as he spent making phone calls & sending emails for potential speaking opportunities
- “Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast.” – unknown
- Don’t sacrifice prayer on the altar of busyness. Sacrifice busyness on the altar of prayer. It goes against the grain of how the world does things.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 NLT
Prayer to Overcome the Overwhelm
Transcript of the prayer:
The twelfth obstacle we’re overcoming and seeing a breakthrough in is the whole area of feeling overwhelmed. In other words, I feel overwhelmed with what it takes to self-publish my book. We start seeing this big monster. It’s just too big and I can’t face it or handle it. I’m overwhelmed.
We’re going to pray in the spirit of Isaiah 41:10 which says, “Don’t be afraid for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
“Lord, when I picture your right hand, I see Jesus right there and we are in Christ who call ourselves Christians. We have access to your strength. So, Lord, I pray against the spirit of overwhelm that sometimes causes us to be intimidated and we start making excuses like, I can’t do this or it’s just not going to work out or it’s just too much.
I pray against that and I pray that you would give us the right perspective. And I pray that we would even see through your eyes. I think of the story of Elisha and his servant that was actually looking out an enemy army. This servant is overwhelmed. He’s thinking there are just so many. Elisha then prayed, ‘Lord, show him what’s really out there, open his eyes.’ And as he did, there were angel armies surrounding that earthly army and they were ready to destroy the earthly army.
Lord, I come against any principalities or any earthly type of overwhelm that seeks to intimidate us. I pray that you give us that perspective, that in Christ we’re able to accomplish anything. There is nothing too big that we can’t handle. And I pray that we’d stay connected to you and that as we do so we have the perspective of looking out and seeing you defending us, seeing you go before us, seeing you strengthen us.
And Lord, would you do that with each and every one of us? Would you just remove that spirit of overwhelm and replace it with holy confidence in our God who is easily big enough to handle any obstacle? Thank you, Lord.
The picture God gave me is like you’re a jar. You have all this water in it. But there’s this mud and when you shake it up, it’s like the overwhelm. The jar gets all muddy and you can’t see through the water. We get stirred up and right now I feel like the Lord wants to allow that to settle. Lord, we ask that you bring your peace over this in Jesus’ name.
Open your hands and say out loud, “I receive your peace.”
Take a deep breath. Picture yourself breathing out the overwhelm. You don’t need it.
Part of our story is putting our trust in you, Lord. And what I saw is that as you receive this peace, you set down the jar and then you’re not shaking it. But the mud settles back down to the bottom and clarity comes again. That clarity then gives you the ability to see what your very next step is.
Not your next 100 steps but what is your very next step? It could be a five-minute task; it could be a one-hour task. What is your very next step? It removes all the things clouding our view. And we see what the very next thing is. We then have that peace to hear from God, to hear his voice. I pray right now that you would receive that clarity.
We’re going to give you just a few seconds to ask God, “What is my very next step?” In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.
I’m reminded of that Chinese proverb that we’re all familiar with, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” And that’s what we’re about. One step at a time. We’re going to be able to look back at this journey and see how God led us to step by step to accomplish the work that he put on all of our hearts.
Free Download: 15 Prayers for Christian Writers
Download the PDF transcript of all 15 Prayers for Christian Writers, here:
Share Your Breakthroughs
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