Overwhelm has a way of sneaking up on you. Like the long shadows of summer, you suddenly realize the brightness of day is disappearing and before you know it you are consumed by the darkness of overwhelm. It just happens.
For me, it was tied to trying to be the one to handle everything. I had always been told how organized and capable I was, so therefore, I believed, I should be able to handle any challenge. Which, if these had been singular event challenges, may have been true.
But I added challenge after challenge to my plate without making trades or concessions to allow the emotional and scheduling capacity they would require. Add to this that my husband was struggling with depression, so I was also trying to serve as a buffer and handle things without tapping into his limited emotional resources.
And then we moved from a home we were renting into our very first owned home. It was perfect in every way – except the timing. Our move was “squeezed in” between a lot of life that couldn’t be slowed down or postponed.
The day after our move I had a fundraising gala that I was organizing. The kids still had six more weeks of school in 2 different buildings with 3 different schedules, so my days were spent driving and in the car rather than unpacking. And then we left on a 2-week trip just days after school ended.
I kept waiting for things to get better, but they just never did. I felt like my soul was tired and I was struggling with focus and motivation. I almost felt like my brain needed to be defragmented just like we used to do on our computer with older versions of Windows. I was living deep in the heart of overwhelm.
And then, life got even crazier! Totally out of the blue we were surprised by an opportunity and moved forward with adopting a sibling set who were in the final days of a fast approaching deadline that would have put them into the foster care system.
Talk about overwhelming!!!
In the months leading up to this strange turn of events, I had been feeling an overwhelming sense that I needed to dig in my heels and focus on catching up on certain things that I was responsible for: our financial data entry, homeschool record keeping, and some other projects that weren’t pressing but were important. They weren’t anything terribly difficult, just time consuming. And doing them would only benefit me – there was no downside. But I had resisted. I had made excuses and I had squandered my opportunity to prepare for what was to come. So, as we stood at the threshold of a completely changed life, I was wishing I had followed the promptings that God had so graciously given me.
I was now trying to create time and margin in a schedule that didn’t actually have any margin. I was rearranging things left and right. Our oldest, had become a licensed driver just a month earlier and at the time I hadn’t been ready for my baby girl to be driving, but now having a 3rd driver in the family was a huge blessing!
But this exciting and amazing life change also just about pushed me over the edge.
And one day I got up and realized that my strategy of waiting for things to get better had run its course. Waiting wasn’t ever going to make things better. In fact, it had made things harder.
I mustered up all the mental energy I had and tried to figure out one thing I could change.
And it hit me…
I could control the laundry. At that moment it was everywhere! Between growing babies with constantly changing sizes, larger size clothes coming into our home by the bagful, and the diaper mishaps, we were surrounded by laundry.
Taking control of laundry was my first step on the road home from overwhelm because it was a relatively easy win. Unlike some other things, I could make a change to our laundry system and know within a couple days if it was working.
Chances are pretty high that laundry is something you find challenging, too. To learn how more about conquering that battle, click here to read L.A.U.N.D.R.Y: A Laundry Routine That Works