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One Powerful Tool for Battling Your Overwhelm

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It was inevitable that overwhelm would hit… and it did.

For months, my Year of Impact group through Designed for Joy has been listening and learning. The first quarter we tackled racial equity. In the second quarter, we’ve been learning about poverty. These heart-breaking and complicated topics aren’t for the weak. There’s been lots of listening, and of course, it’s led to feeling. To caring. As our leader, Cary Heise, had planned, all the listening and feeling was a catalyst for doing.

Following an eye-opening large group training about childhood poverty from a representative of our school system, our smaller mastermind group met to discuss. I could hear the distress in every voice.

“The are so many organizations to give to. How do I choose?”

“I could spend 24/7 volunteering to meet all the needs and never make a dent!”

“The problem is so complicated. The needs are massive. How could I ever make a difference?”

Overwhelm always results when we listen to the pain around us and join our hearts with those that are suffering.

Although overwhelm is a normal phase of developing a tender heart and a strong voice, we have to be very deliberate at this stage. It’s natural to feel it, but we can’t/won’t live in it. We generally turn to numbing as an unhealthy way to move forward if we don’t move past overwhelm into doing. But how do we know what to do when there are a limitless list of needs? How do we know what to do when there are so many aid organizations?

How do we know what to do when there’s so much to be done?

This is when we have to seek the Lord about our personalized purpose. We can’t do everything, but we can do one thing. We can choose one organization and give in at least one way. This one thing is our personalized purpose. It is a powerful tool to battle your overwhelm.

In the next two posts, I’m going to talk about:

  1. How to Identify Your Personalized Purpose
  2. How to Put Your Personalized Purpose to Work

For those whose hearts are yearning to do a little good… For those who feel the pain of the world around you… For those who want to help but don’t know where to start… This blog series is for you. Are you in?

Question for You: Do you know your current personalized purpose? (There’s not just one for your life. They’re often for a season. More about that in my next post!) Leave me a comment and tell me about yours.

Finally… An Announcement: Because Lynn Cowell and I just signed a contract for the writing contract I teased you about, I finally get to tell you! Lynn and I are writing a study on the book of Esther that will release summer 2022. We’re beyond excited!!!!

Finally together signed our digital contract! 🙂

I dug deep into the idea of personalized purpose for the Esther study manuscript. There’s so much more to come in the study itself!

The Esther study will be part of the Inscribed series, a series of Bible studies for women published by Harper Collins Christian Resources.

Related Resource:

Hear Cary Heise talk about her personalized purpose at Designed for Joy.

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  1. Congratulations on the new book with Lynn Cowell! God has moved me in and out of many seasons of ministry and influence over the decades but my missions statement to bring God’s Beauty and Balance to His women has never changed, just the platform from which I operate. Sometimes the net was spread wide and public and other times very small and almost invisibly. His most recent call to ministry is to our daughter, teenage granddaughter and the ladies in our neighborhood. My years of influence over our teen won’t last long and I’m embracing it to hopefully spare her from the lies of culture and the enemy regarding her own beauty, talents and heart.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Such beautiful thoughts, Pam. Some of the most powerful work we do is small and invisible to all but God.

  2. Gosh how I love your words and YOU and I am here for all of what you will dish out!!! Ready, set, GO!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      And I love YOU! It’s been such a joy to be on this journey in-person with you!

  3. This is great, I have been thinking about my purpose alot lately. Right now I serve at my kids school on the pto and through their various sports activities… my purpose now is to be their mom, but they are getting older and then what? The idea of foster care or some other type of service for children in need keeps coming up… so this will be something i hope your posts and prayer will help me discern. Thank you!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Karen, I think you’re so wise to think ahead to quieter times once your kids have left home. I know God has a purpose for you that will be a blessing to others! I’m praying that He gives you some peaks and lays a foundation now for the days ahead.

  4. Amy,
    I’m reminded of the story of a man who was walking on the beach and came upon a boy in the middle of hundreds of starfish washed ashore and stranded, which if left there would inevitably die. The boy was picking up one at a time and placing them back in the water. The man said, “You’re wasting your time. What you’re doing won’t matter or make any difference—there are just too many!”
    And the boy said, “But, it WILL matter and make a difference to the ones I actually put back into the water.”
    As you pointed out, we need to do what each of us can. It matters to the individuals God places in our path.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I LOVE that story, Cookie! If every one of us did the one thing that God asked us to do, I believe the world would truly change.

  5. You have struck gold with this post. I know my personalized purpose, but now I am seeking God’s wisdom to put it into practice while NOT ending up overwhelmed.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Whew. I’m with you. That can be a challenge. God’s always faithful to give us what we need, but sometimes He asks us to let some things go as we step into new purposes. Praying for discernment for you now!

  6. I love when you said this, Amy: ” We can’t do everything, but we can do one thing.” It reminds me of what Andy Stanley said when he said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”

    My personalized purpose in my life is to empower women and girls to find confidence in Christ. This is working work in several ways. One way is my involvement with an organization in Charlotte called “Changed Choices”. It empowers women to build new life behind prison walls. Sometimes I am teaching a Bible study. This week I took a meal to the transition home. Next week, I’ll deliver a bed to a gal who is getting her first apartment after 13 years in prison.

    The other way my personalized purpose is working out is through my speaking and writing…like writing a Bible study with YOU on the book of Esther. I am so very excited to see how this study, which you and I have learned some much from in the writing, will help women to not only discover their own personalized purpose but to walk with Jesus through the steps to move from overwhelm to do one thing well.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      I love walking this road to personalized purpose with you, friend!

  7. I’m so grateful you are sharing on this topic of being overwhelmed. Something I very much relate too. Currently I volunteer with Proverbs 31 and also crochet for several charities. I see so many needs in our country and around the world, well my town too! I want to be fulfilling the purpose God has for me. I like that you mentioned seasons because I do believe that we can serve in one area for a season and then we may be called to a new area. Look forward to hearing what you are learning and the new book! Thank you for all you do and for letting us learn and grow along with you!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Roberta, you’re filling your days with personalized purpose. So happy to be serving together at Proverbs 31!

  8. Dori Sheese says:

    I once did a study on Esther by Beth Moore, and it was wonderful! Looking forward to seeing your study on that book! Good luck & may God Bless your work!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Thanks, Dori! I purposefully haven’t read other authors’ studies on Esther so that I don’t accidentally co-opt their ideas, but I can’t wait to dive into Beth’s and others’ as soon as the manuscript is handed in!

  9. For the last 12 years my personalized purpose has been supporting my husband through many health issues. Sometimes it is overwhelming but God is faithful to renew my strength. During this time, I have felt that I wasn’t active in ministry (my husband is a pastor but hasn’t pastored full time during this time). I know that it is a ministry to him, but we have been able to find purpose with a couple of ministries at our church where he is a part time assistant pastor. I work full time and am looking forward to retiring next year. I look forward to being able to volunteer more (with more energy). Thank you for this encouraging post.

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      You are fulfilling an important purpose as you care for your husband. Thank you for sharing, and I’m cheering you on as you finish your professional race!

  10. This is exactly where I am right now – overwhelmed and wandering. My husband and our family have moved often for my husband’s job, and we’re still moving! It makes it so challenging to get involved in a community and even a church. Thank goodness for groups like Moms in Prayer and BSF, that allow me to drink in God’s word and keep my eyes fixed on Him. I long to figure out how I can make a difference. I’m so hopeful as I read your post, that I might gain some clarity. Thank you!

    1. Amy Carroll says:

      Lisa, I’m praying for you now that God makes your personalized purpose clear in your new community. I know He’ll show you!