Overwhelmed by the Underwhelming?
Which is worse - being overwhelmed or being underwhelmed?
What about when what overwhelms us is underwhelming?
dictionary.com defines overwhelm as, "To load, heap, treat, or address with an overpowering or excessive amount of anything,’ and defines underwhelm as, “To fail to interest or astonish.”
We’re barely into 2022 and many are already feeling overwhelmed by so much that is underwhelming.
In his book, The Contemplative Pastor, Eugene Peterson argues that constantly feeling overwhelmed by our schedules can be a sign of inattentiveness. He suggests that we’re overwhelmed by our schedules because we don’t take the time to establish values or set goals – we allow others to do it for us, “then we find ourselves frantically, at the last minute, trying to satisfy a half-dozen different demands.” (I argue this is true for all of us, not just pastors.)
Peterson suggests that we cannot be busy and pray because when we are busy, we are inwardly rushed and distracted. We can, however, be active and pray. This suggests that there is purpose and intentionality. And who doesn’t want to live a life of purpose and intentionality?
Granted, there will always be tasks that are both underwhelming and necessary. There will always be days when we feel overwhelmed. And… there will always be time to take a deep breath and whisper a prayer. Who knows, by beginning each day with a time of prayer and reflection, we just might find that we spend the day overwhelmed by God’s mercy and grace.
January 6, 2022