A well known pastor once said, “Most of the people I know are overwhelmed and overcommitted.” I thought to myself, that’s interesting. I live here in Southern California and he lives in Illinois, and he knows some of the same people I know, because most of the people I know are also overwhelmed and overcommitted.  Many of the leaders I talk with seem to be overwhelmed. All the uncertainty, changes and fear with Covid hasn’t helped much in this regard.

Over the years, one verse that genuinely speaks to my heart on the issue of being overwhelmed is Psalm 139:3 in the Living Bible

“You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am.”

As I am traveling down the highway of life and ministry, God has rest stops he wants me to take.  He calls this practicing Sabbath; not just as a day, but as a principle of life. But in my desire to get more and more done, I blow past the rest stops keeping the pedal to the metal.

I have come to the studied conclusion that many (if not most) leaders are traveling too fast and trying to do too much.

Why are so many people overwhelmed and dog-tired…bordering on exhaustion? 

Is it a personality thing?

Is it a cultural thing?

Is it an idol thing?

Is it an inability (or unwillingness) to say “no” needy and persistent people?

Is it a constant connectivity thing due to our tech toys?

It would be nice from time to time, when I ask someone how he/she is doing, to hear:

  • Doing great
  • Having lots of time for family
  • Doing well at practicing Sabbath
  • Getting adequate and restful sleep

Instead of hearing:

  • I am so tired
  • I am so exhausted
  • I am so burned out

Is being overwhelmed and “Leading on Empty” (Title of a Wayne Cordeiro book) the new norm for leaders? I certainly hope not!

How about you? Are you (most of the time or much of the time) feeling overwhelmed? How about people on your team and those you lead?  Are they feeling overwhelmed?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message).

Are you kidding me, Lord? “No, I am not kidding you.  This is what I have in mind for you.”