When You’re Feeling Too Overwhelmed to Start

What to do when you’re feeling too overwhelmed to start.

I recently had a project I knew I wanted to do, but the amount of work I assumed would be required left me feeling too overwhelmed to start. It wasn’t that I lacked a vision or desire. I had plenty of both. I even knew what my first few steps would be. 

When What’s Required Outweighs the Desire

I wanted to transform our spare bedroom into a grown up office for myself. OK. full disclosure. It wasn’t anywhere near close to usable as a guest room. More like a giant closet full of junk we didn’t know what to do with. It was the one room in the house I didn’t even open the door to during a tour. After Christmas we piled even more stuff in there to make room in the loft for the ping pong table we bought the boys. There were boxes we hadn’t unpacked since moving in, some we had opened but were full of random things like old VHS tapes. There were old clothes I’d long since abandoned hope of fitting back into and mountains of “I love me” plaques and framed certificates we never got around to hanging up. 

I knew the first step was to donate, dispose of, or otherwise disappear all the stuff. But every time I thought about all the other steps. Choosing a paint color, painting, deciding how to arrange the space, picking and hanging curtains, maybe swapping out the ceiling fan for the light fixture in our room that was more in line with my vision, figuring out how to accessorize and make the space meet my needs. I wanted a little bit of fancy with a whole lot of function. And I wasn’t sure I could pull it all off. I was afraid I’d just make an even bigger mess.

So I never even bothered to start. If I didn’t start, I couldn’t fail, right?

Where do you fear failure?

I’ve been in this same place in too many areas of my life. From housework to weight loss. Publishing a book to expanding my business. Getting more involved at church to making new friends when we move. Even changing the way I parent. I’m not gonna lie, some days just looking at the laundry mountain waiting to be folded or the dirty dishes piled in the sink overwhelms me.

Can you relate?

Maybe you want to go back to school an earn your degree or you’re considering adoption. Perhaps you want to break a bad habit or make a good one. You might even desire to mend fences with a family member or estranged friend or start studying the Bible. But the time and effort that will surely be required seem too daunting. 

Too Overwhelmed to Start

At some point or another we all face something that leaves us feeling too overwhelmed to start. 

But I shared my vision with a friend and she graciously agreed to help. Not just in words, but in actions. She used her experience to educate me and she put her expertise to work. Then, she not only checked in on my progress, she also showed up in painting clothes with a roller in hand. And we had a lot of fun along the way! 

Now we have a fully functional guest bed room that doubles as a pretty place for me to work. And as an added bonus, we have reclaimed the kitchen table as a place to eat or share a cup of coffee since I’m no longer working there. Perhaps even more profound, though, is my confidence in this kind of thing has skyrocketed. In fact, I’ve already tackled another home improvement project that’s been falling to the bottom of my To Do List for far too long. 

What did all this teach me?

When you’re too overwhelmed to take the first step, find someone who understands to walk beside you.

When you’re too overwhelmed to take the first step, find someone who understands to walk beside you. Even when it feels like no one else will, trust that God always does. He has promised to never leave nor forsake us. That alone should fill us with the courage to take on whatever challenges we face. He gives us His strength to take the first step and to get through challenges one day at a time. 

But He also made us for community. First with Him then with others He places in our lives to support and encourage us. He created Eve for Adam and partnered Aaron with Moses. Caleb and Joshua stuck together. Ruth refused to abandon Naomi. Jesus sent the Apostles out in pairs. He also reminds us that we ought not fail to provide material support to our brothers and sisters in need. And Paul encourages us to continue gathering together to spur one another on in faith and good works. 

Let’s Start Together

So, what has you feeling too overwhelmed to start? Or, what experience can you exploit to encourage someone else? None of us should be too afraid to ask for or offer the kind of support God promises to provide for us. Let’s take the first step together! 

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8 thoughts on “When You’re Feeling Too Overwhelmed to Start

  1. This is great, Liz, and congrats on your new space! I felt the overwhelm when trying to start a business for the blog, but God is opening door after door and bringing people and resources to my side to answer my questions and show me the steps. And I’m super thankful for that!

  2. I can definitely relate to overwhelm when it comes to home projects!! Thanks for the words of encouragement in a way I can go about taking care of a couple of mine!! God definitely designs our friendship connections!!

    1. He does! I love the people He has been so kind and faithful to put in my path! I don’t know what I’d do without my tribe! Praying God gives you blessings after blessing in all that He has called you to and puts just the right people to walk alongside you!

    1. Gosh, I can totally relate to that, Michelle! Maybe you could find somebody who wakes up at the same time as you who could pray for you as you’re waking up! Blessings!

  3. Dear friend, Lois, helped me finally begin a purge of my piles of papers, etc. a few weeks ago. I was too overwhelmed ever to begin. This project may take months or years, but she has partnered with me to see me through. Not only that, she is a prayer partner! What a blessing….xo

  4. I had a nice office/slash guest room, my mother agreed to take in two great grandchildren who would otherwise have gone to DFACS, so I got pushed out, then an aunt with a heart attack, even less space. Not that I minded helping but it wasn’t easy. We are down to one little girl but I really would love the office. If you are familiar with Lindsay from Lindsay’s Sweet World, she put up some office ideas a few weeks back. Only thing about the office slash/ guest room is when you have a guest you’re back at the table. What a good friend to help.

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