by Christine Berglund

A passerby took one look at my wheelbarrow and said, “I don’t think that wheelbarrow was meant to hold that much.”  The rusty old wheelbarrow was holding a nice collection of Portulaca, and when the chipper truck came down our street, I wanted the mulch more than I wanted the makeshift planter.

This scene typifies my feelings at this time of year. The holidays are over, and my cup runneth over, but not in a good way. There are all kinds of chores, cares, and concerns mounting with no end in sight. It is downright overwhelming, but I know I am not alone in these feelings.

Statistics tell us that the suicide rates skyrocket at this time of year. People feel like they just can’t handle the load. This economy has been unkind to many, with layoffs increasing, and housing values dropping. We may have had high expectations for the holidays that just didn’t materialize. The post-Christmas blues, and in many cases the pre-Christmas blues, are too often unrecognized or unspoken for fear of being Grinch-ey or Scrooge-ey.

Sometimes the condition is a chemical imbalance, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is the time of the year people will feel depressed for no reason. I say “no reason” because any one of us will have sadness in our lives, but usually manage anyway. S.A.D. or “the winter blues” means the body is depleted of the serotonin that helps us to keep emotionally balanced. Just knowing what is happening will help me through it. A vacation to sunny Jamaica would, too. But, depressingly, that is not in the budget. (See what I mean?)

Do you ever feel like my rusty old wheelbarrow with the flat tire and outlandish load? God is there with you helping to bear up. If he hadn’t been, you wouldn’t be here reading this! Find someone who will understand, to help you unload. We are commanded to bear one another’s burdens, but we can’t do that if we don’t see each other’s wheelbarrows!

Be careful where you look for help, however. I mentioned the Seasonal Affective Disorder on Facebook once, and a few moments later a preacher friend of mine posted that S.A.D. people should stop their whining and just cheer up! Talk to someone who will understand. If you can’t find a sympathetic shoulder, tell God. He cares! (1 Peter 5:7).

“And it came to pass….” This is one of the most used expressions in the Bible. While we jokingly take it out of context as another form of “This too shall pass,” it is still very true. When you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Sometimes that’s all you can do. God knows. He understands. He happens to be holding the other end of that rope!

My nature is to nurture. Sometimes, especially in winter, I just want someone to care for me. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7 NASB). Let him help with that load of care. In fact, he is the only one who can; any good counselor would point you to him.

David was inspired to write the most despairing thoughts in the Psalms. He also was given the answer, to pass on to us, in Psalm 42:11. “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him.”

God is not only at the end of the tunnel, he is walking you through it!

One thought on “Overwhelmed

  1. It was pointed out to me that some new research indicates that the chemical imbalance might be a result of the “down” feelings, rather than the cause of it. This was very interesting to find out, because I although I categorically deny that we can just “choose to be happy” all the time, that choice is very important in getting us out of the low places that our emotions take us.

    I wrote this article out of deep empathy for those who may suffer from depression, because to deny its existence or its validity is not helpful to our brothers and sisters who are suffering its ravages.

    The point here is to see the problem, and to defeat it with God’s help. Making a conscious effort to count our blessings and to
    “Rejoice in the Lord always” is mandatory, even if it does not provide the whole answer.

    I welcome any comments on this important subject, as we all try to find ways to minister to those who are hurting.

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