More Than I Can Handle: When life feels overwhelming.

If you are a Boomer like I am or love retro board games, you might remember the game Pixie Pic Up Stixs. Picking up a handful of sticks that look like colored spaghetti, they are dropped in a mixed-up pile on a table. Each player is assigned a color and without moving any of the other sticks the goal is to gather all sticks of their color. It is a strategic undertaking, stressful at times, and requires stealthy moves. There is one stick that stands out – a black stick which is called the Master Stick. This stick holds all the power for the player who is able to acquire it. With that one stick, they are able to move away sticks that are blocking them from picking up one of their own colored sticks which pretty much gaurantees a win.

Navigating those overwhelming moments and circumstances that are often more than we can handle can feel like we are one of those sticks. Our emotional and mental threshold reaches full capacity and anything else added to the pile can cause us to shut down, taking us out of the game. Self-preservation can look messy on the outside as our internal parts, mind, emotions, soul, and spirit, rally to gather all the pieces attempting to rebuild what has fallen apart. Yet, this shouldn’t be a cycle that we are repeatedly spiraling through.

We need a master stick. Rather, we need The Master. I have learned through my trials and errors, those moments of beating myself up because I failed, contending with self-defeating thoughts, and standing at the kitchen sink telling God what an idiot I was, that He already knows. Not that I am an idiot, but He knows me well. He knows us deeply, with great compassion, understanding, and love. He knows why we do the things we do, why we react in certain ways, why we have those racing thoughts, and why we struggle in areas. There is not enough spandex in the world to keep us together, hide our flaws, failures, tantrums, or the desperation we have for God’s love. And our Heavenly Father, knowing all that messy complicated stuff about you, will not ever separate you from His love. Never! He knows why we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed and He has the power to release His strength, peace, healing, and wisdom into our circumstances. He is The Master – Sovereign Lord (2 Tim 2:21).

Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Psalm 103:2-5

Friend, you are not expected to handle life, especially in this season of our world with all of its drama. Our little individual lives, like those sticks, have enough of their own burdens that feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. Hear me, it is not your world to carry. It is God’s world to carry and you are His to care for. In our verse in Psalm 103, we read “my soul, forget not all His benefits…”, which we end up forgetting as we start doing in our own strength, schedule, plans, and will. We forget the benefits that come from placing our lives in the care of the Master’s hands. Those benefits come in forgiveness, healing, rescuing, love, compassion, satisfaction, blessings, and strength.

The reality is that God, The Master, Sovereign Lord, and Savior, is strong enough, able enough, and loving enough to take on himself all that you are carrying and provide all that you need to succeed.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Things to Remember

Be in His Word and speak His Word. I learned the hard way, being absent from His Word and doing in my own pridefulness and strength, that my self-worth does not come from how much I can accomplish. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” If you want to release God-sized power into your circumstances, speak His Word over it and see what the Lord will do in you and in your situation. His Word will transform your worries into confidence and faith and your anxious heart to peace.

Adopt a precept that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day like a bible verse or phrase:

  • This is not my burden to carry – it is God’s.
  • God is my strength.
  • I am worthy of God’s peace and love.
  • God will carry me and care for me.

Be realistic about what you expect from yourself. Giving yourself a limit is not failing. Limits are a gift that affirms your value and significance. Give God your expectations and ask Him to conform them to His will for you.

Take a step back to reflect on why you are feeling overwhelmed. Give yourself permission to pause by talking with God, going for walk, sitting on the back porch (my personal favorite), or having lunch with friends. Grinding on your list will eventually leave you with nothing left to give. Pausing brings perspective.


“God, thank you for knowing me so well, better than I know myself. I often feel overwhelmed by my life, stressed, and anxious. I don’t know how I am ever going to accomplish all of this. And when I read your Word, Lord, I am reminded just how much you really love me. You are gentle and kind, always present in every circumstance, and you offer me rest when I so desperately need it. Father, I cannot do this alone. I need your strength. Will you take this burden from me and care for me? Thank you, God, for your promises, love, and strength. In Jesus’s name, Amen.”