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  • Ann Yeong

A Letter for the Overwhelmed


Dear Overwhelmed Friend, Oh I see you. I feel you. I know what it feels like when so many concerns compete for your attention and you really want to tend to them all but you JUST CAN'T ANYMORE.


As someone who answered the call to work in full-time pastoral ministry, I am someone who feels drawn to meet people's emotional and spiritual needs. But the reality is that the hunger out there will forever be more than what I can personally attend to. I know that to be true, yet it doesn't stop me from feeling guilty that I cannot meet every need that is presented to me.


As someone who is digitally connected, I am someone who has to deal with a constant deluge of new information. Every so often news of a new tragedy attracts my attention, and before I can pause to take it in, a different disaster distracts me. I see different posts on my social media feed that call for attention and action on a variety of very different events and circumstances - all are important, all are worthy of my care - what do I do?


Ah but there is a way to find simplicity in all of this, and the key is go small. Yes, when life threatens to overwhelm us, we must return to basics and work our way back out from the core of ourselves.

As someone who takes my spiritual life seriously, I often come across advocates for different ways of prayer and different devotional practices to deepen my spiritual life. "Do this!" says adherents of one, "This one is non-negotiable!" says the adherents of another. "This devotional practice is the most important," cries adherents of yet another. Even spirituality has become a place of great overwhelm - how do I choose?


Ah but there is a way to find simplicity in all of this, and the key is go small. Yes, when life threatens to overwhelm us, we must return to basics and work our way back out from the core of ourselves.


We can remember that we are finite - and hence cannot possibly attend to every important need. We can remember that the criteria we use for choosing where to spend our attention and energy on is not necessarily the worthiness of a need, but the match between that need and the gifts we bring.


Where does our heart's deep gladness and the world's deep need meet? How can we honour that in the here and now with the resources we have?

We can remember that even the way we connect with God is concrete and specific to the way He created us to love. Many ways might be good, but there is always a way to find the way that is most helpful for me.


“Vocation is the place where our deep gladness meets the world's deep need," writes Frederick Buechner. And you know what, that's not a bad way to begin discerning where we can most make an impact in the world by being our most authentic selves.

Where does our heart's deep gladness and the world's deep need meet? How can we honour that in the here and now with the resources we have? Let us begin from the beginning again and our overwhelm can be transformed into an even greater clarity of who we are and what our unique gift for this hurting world can be.

Listen to Episode 18 You Don't Have To Care About Everything on the Becoming Me Podcast from Wednesday 31 March, 2021.


Spotify: https://buff.ly/34vZRf1

Apple Podcasts: https://buff.ly/34rFkIu

Google Podcasts: https://buff.ly/3n9MHgh

Website: https://www.becomingme.sg/podcast


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