The World of Overwhelmed

May 3, 2006



One of the ironies of being overwhelmed last week was that I had placed a local lecture on my calendar but could not remember puting it there. My friend, Betty Dicken, who organizes the Dallas Lecture Series for The Meadows, reminded me that I was the speaker on May 16 and that it was on this topic, "”The Land of Overwhelmed: How do we get there over and over and how do we get out?" I thought I had just disqualified myself. In organizing my thoughts, I realized that I set myself up for "dropping some bits" by trying to hold more in my memory than it had a capacity to store. Overload is another word for it. Mentally, I can overload myself by trying to remember too many different things. And it doesn't take many different tasks to overload this non-multi-tasker. If I take on more responsibilities than I can comfortably keep up with, I have to stretch (stress!) to wrap around the commitments. The sense of "have-to" adds to the stress. So maybe it's a general thing that we get overwhelmed if we take responsibility for more than our capacity can comfortably hold. I'll have to give that more thought — later, after I've made a few more phone calls, answered a few more e-mails and balanced my check book.

I am encouraged to find that the Bible addresses the text-book ways to keep from being overwhelmed:

(1) Looking beyond our circomstances with an attitude of optimism and hope — "we also rejoice in our sufferings . . .and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Romans 5:3-5) and "Letting your mind dwell on honorable things as well as practicing good deeds" (Philippians 4:8-9) and many more.

(2) Maintain healthy social support systems — "stimulating one another to love and good deeds . . . encouraging one another" (Hebrews 10:24-25) in "the body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12: 12-14)

(3) Be grateful for what we have and ask for what we need — "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)

So why are so many people who call themselves followers of Jesus still overwhelmed and anxious? Hmmm!



Same-sex Marriage Debate

May 2, 2006

gay_marriage.jpgI get annoyed when controversial issues swirl around in the public arena as empty slogans rather than thoughtful points for discussion. On what values does each side stand? Do the speeches and chants reflect their main concerns or are they shielding some hidden agenda? Does anyone actually listen for any legitimacy in what the other side is saying?

When I listen to the TV or read the news about the ban on same-sex marriages, I don't get a clear message of why people are taking their respective stands. I think those in favor of lifting the ban are not clear on their foundational values and those in favor of keeping the ban don't seem to think much more deeply than, "God is against it." So I turned my students loose on this debate by having half the class argue for lifting the ban and the other 15 students for keeping it in tact. I was impressed by their thougthfulness and their ability to bring to the surface what each side was valuing. Then everyone wrote a paper. I was impressed by the thoughtfulness and clarity of several of them, one of which is shown here.



Donna G. Medley March 2006


Until about twenty years ago, marriage was universally and undisputedly defined and recognized as the legal union of a man and woman. Recently the homosexual community has challenged the banning of two men or two women from participating in the benefits they perceive will come from a legal union. This ban should be upheld because; 1) the legal and tax benefits that homosexuals are seeking can be obtained through other means, 2) homosexual unions provide an environment that is unstable and detrimental to children, and 3) homosexual unions devalue marriage for all, causing less people to marry and disturbing accepted and desirable family structure.

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