5 Steps for When You Are Confused, Overwhelmed, or Frustrated

We have all been in situations where we have felt confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, or some combination of the three.  You may even be there now.

Few things are as depressing as being in such a dark place in your life that you cannot see your hand in front of your face, so to speak.

None of us truly wants to remain there, but finding your way out of that black hole can be very difficult.

I may have talked about this before, but I remember being in such a dark place when I was in college that I cried myself to sleep every night.  I understood what David meant in Psalm 63 when he said that he was in “a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (63:1, NIV)

Since then there have been many times when I have been confused and overwhelmed, not knowing what to do.

One truth – 7 words, however, have transformed my ability to face these times.

In 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV) Paul says these 7 amazing words:

God is not a God of confusion.

Think about that statement.  Paul goes further.  The whole verse goes like this:

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

Consider also that God’s first recorded words in Genesis (and in the entire Bible, for that matter) are these:

Let there be light.

God is a God of clarity, light and peace.  Everything else comes from someone else: sometimes us, and sometimes the evil one.  But not God.

These words do not mean that I will never face confusion or uncertainty.  These words DO mean, however, that God is on my side and the darkness, those feelings of confusion or of being overwhelmed are not reality.  They are coming from somewhere else and God is working to help me get back to clarity, peace, and light.

Here are 5 steps for when you are confused, overwhelmed, or frustrated:

  1. Stop.  Do not make any major decisions or changes.  If you make a major decision when you are confused you will end up making the wrong one and regretting it for the rest of your life.  Making a decision when you are confused is like handing car keys to a blind man.  Dangerous and, well, stupid.
  2. Pray.  Ask God for help.  He is the only one with the right perspective on your situation and on how you are wired.  You cannot find lasting peace and clarity without him.
  3. Contemplate.  Ask good questions.  If you are not good at this, ask a trusted friend or counselor to help you.  How did you become confused in the first place?  Why are you feeling overwhelmed?  Do you have too much stress at work, unresolved tension with a spouse?  Have you forgotten to take a critical medication?  (I’m not joking!  Some of us have to admit we need medication to help us function normally.)  Are you dragging unconfessed sin or bitterness around with you?
  4. Resolve.  If any of your questions yield answers that need action, do those things right away.  Do not wait.  If you are too stressed at work, investigate your boundaries, work-load, and work environment.  If you are not taking the correct medications, fess up, quit pretending to be smarter than your doctor, and take your medicine like a good boy.  If you are harboring bitterness, forgive.  Nothing will make you sicker faster or cloud your vision more than bitterness.  That stuff is poison.
  5. Move.  After you have resolved all of the issues you discovered you can finally continue moving forward in whatever area where you were previously experiencing confusion.  Most likely you will have more clarity and peace at this point.  If you do not, seek a counselor so that you can get to the bottom of your issues.

God is not a God of confusion.

You are not meant to wander through life looking for the light switch.  You can emerge from the darkness, and God is ready to help you.

How have you worked through feelings of confusion and of being overwhelmed?

The Truth about God

God is not confusing.

Huh?

That’s right.

But aren’t all of those seemingly contradictory things about God (perfect love and justice, loves all people but convicts the guilty, present everywhere but individually involved, the Trinity, etc.) extremely complex and confusing?

God is definitely complex and hard to understand sometimes, but he is never confusing. God is very clear in Scriptures that Satan is the author of confusion.

So when you and I face a difficult situation and we feel extremely confused, we can be certain that God is not the one confusing us.

We are, or Satan is.

We are flawed human beings corrupted by evil, and consequently we have a hard time seeing clearly. Satan, on the other hand, has no interest in allowing us to see clearly.

So when you or I feel confused, here are some steps to clarity.

1. Press into God. if God is the source of clarity, it only makes sense to pursue him more. Entering into the confusion only leads to more confusion.

2. Get objective feedback. Solomon tells us that there is wisdom in seeking the counsel of many wise people. Don’t isolate. Seek out one or two trusted people to be your advisors.

3. Deal with it. Don’t ignore the situation. Wade in and wrestle it out. Peace waits on the other side.

Where are you struggling with confusion?