A Roadmap to Navigate the Pitfall of Getting Overwhelmed

By on June 10, 2022   /   Leave a comment

We have all been there, haven’t we? We start our support-raising journey full of faith, motivation, momentum, and eager anticipation. And then a couple of prospective partners say “No” and others don’t respond to our calls. Even worse, our closest friends and family express doubt about the Lord’s call to mission in our lives. Suddenly, we find ourselves discouraged and unmotivated, with our faith wavering. We feel stuck, fearful, and overwhelmed.

During all this, even the most experienced missionary can lose confidence and may begin to lose hope and feel tempted to despair. But this is normal! Every missionary, in every year, (myself included!) experiences moments when we are overwhelmed. The good news is that we are not stuck; God does not leave us without hope. I am convinced that we have both spiritual and practical tools to prevent, and combat being overwhelmed in MPD.

A Spiritual Mentality

First, let’s consider the spiritual tools that God offers us. In 1 Samuel 17:12-51, we find the story of David and Goliath. Talk about an overwhelming situation! An entire army was rendered powerless and frightened into inaction by the opposing giant. Then along comes David, a sheepherder, the youngest son of a no-name family from a backwater town, who asserts that he will fight the mighty Goliath. Now, I am sure that David felt overwhelmed at the prospect of his difficult mission, and yet he fought and defeats Goliath and in so doing, demonstrates two critical qualities that we can imitate:

1.     Confident Conviction: A firmly held state of being or belief about the truth of something.

David was confident in his conviction that God was on his side and more powerful than the threat of any giant. Furthermore, David was confidently convicted in his anointing and call to kingship. Consequently, he had confidence in his role to fight for God’s people. Similarly, we need to hold fast to the truth that God has called us into our respective mission fields and anoints us with his Spirit. He will provide all the resources we need to accomplish our mission. We can be confident because he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

2.     Faith in Action: A complete trust or confidence in someone or something that enables actionable progress despite fear, doubt, or obstacles.

David didn’t have faith alone. He had confident conviction in his faith that led him to act. We may possess faith, but often we begin to let the risks and fear of failing at MPD chip away at our confident conviction. Instead of fearful faith, let’s allow our convictions to lead us to put our faith in action, despite fear and risk.

Pray x 4

I have found that it’s impossible to maintain confident conviction or faith in action without prayer. None of us can simply manufacture these qualities on our own, but we can receive them from the Lord. When we are connected to Jesus, He will strengthen our faith and increase our courage. Throughout the MPD process, we need to prioritize and maintain our connection and conversation with the Lord. This will help put everything in perspective and will naturally combat our feelings of being overwhelmed. So, let’s Pray x 4:

1.     Prioritize our personal prayer times,

2.     Pray before every call,

3.     Pray before every meeting and,

4.     Pray after every meeting.

Once we have taken up this spiritual mentality, we can then move on to the practical ways to resist becoming overwhelmed.

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

The quote above highlights a truth that can compound being overwhelmed: a lack of specific goals and a plan. I personally thrive when I have a plan and goals in place, but for others, the mere mention of either becomes overwhelming. To reduce stress from both MPD and plans, it can be helpful to break it out into manageable chunks. For example, instead of thinking, “I need to raise $27,000,” it may be helpful to think “I need to raise $2,250 per month.” Instead of looking at your Namestorm list, knowing that you will likely need to meet with 100 people in 8 weeks, it may be helpful to break it into weekly and daily goals. Something like a goal of 12 meetings/week and then breaking it further into 2 meetings/day. By setting manageable weekly, daily, and even hourly goals we establish a plan and bring order to our MPD.

Goal setting naturally creates a plan, which in turn allows us to effectively navigate when things don’t go our way. We can expect a certain level of variability in the MPD process, but when we have goals and a plan, even if unexpected obstacles arise, we can be flexible and identify what our next step should be. Consequently, we won’t wallow in “what could have” or “should have been.” Instead, we can move forward with what should happen next. Structure and plans guide us and keep us on track when unpredictability rears its head.

Reevaluate and Readjust

Another potential pitfall can be a tendency to be overly self-critical. We should learn from what didn’t go well and what did. However, if we excessively focus on our shortcomings, it can become unhealthy and counterproductive, leading us to feel overwhelmed. If we miss a goal, are falling behind on a deadline, or are unhappy with our progress, we can add to our own stress. I think we need to follow in the steps of our Savior and give grace to ourselves. There is nothing wrong with taking a step back to reevaluate our actions, goals, and plans and adjust. Focus on the future you can change as opposed to the past that you can’t. You can’t see clearly when your view is skewed by discouragement, so it’s critical to have an MPD coach to help you reevaluate and readjust.  

Sabbath and Good Rest

One of the best ways to avoid being overwhelmed is to prioritize a sabbath day and get good rest. During MPD, your sabbath day may not be Sunday, but if we don’t model the behavior of our Lord and Savior in finding and taking a break, we will grow weary and become overwhelmed. Rest will look different for each person, but decide what will refresh you physically, spiritually, and emotionally—and do those things. Don’t sacrifice your Sabbath and rest on the altar of productivity or MPD Progress.

Nothing Is Impossible for God

Confident conviction leading to faith in action. Prayer. Plans. Goals. Objective evaluation. Adjustment. Rest. To fight against getting overwhelmed, we should incorporate these mentalities, patterns, and strategies into our MPD process. I can’t promise that we will never be overwhelmed, but I can promise that as we take up these weapons, we will encounter our God. We will find the One whose grace is sufficient for us, whose power is made perfect in weakness, and who has already prepared every resource that we need for full-funding and an effective mission.


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