Overwhelmed – to be completely overcome in mind or feeling. Everyone can feel a little overwhelmed at times! Maybe it’s when we go to the mailbox and receive the latest bill to put on the other stack of bills we’re overwhelmed by. Maybe it’s when we have another conflict with the person at work who has overwhelmed us with their negativity and criticism. Life can push to the point where we feel overwhelmed – but it doesn’t have to.
One of the potential costs in feeling overwhelmed is gratitude. One of the great challenges when we feel overwhelmed is to maintain an attitude of gratitude – which is understandable because the times we feel overwhelmed are most often when circumstances are less than ideal. And, circumstances that are less than ideal are usually circumstances we aren’t thankful for.
Part 2 (Overwhelmed) of CCC’s Choose Gratitude series explored an encounter Jesus had with 10 people who were overwhelmed with a horrible disease known as leprosy. Each of the 10 experienced similar less-than-ideal circumstances. Each of the 10 experienced a 180-degree change in the circumstances – but only one expressed gratitude.
Check out the encounter in Luke 17:11-19 and then consider the following questions about how to find gratitude even when feeling overwhelmed.
- Do the holidays tend to make you feel overwhelmed? Why or why not?
- How do you respond when you feel overwhelmed? What happens to your level of gratitude?
- In what ways might the disease of leprosy overwhelmed those who were infected by it? Physically? Relationally? Spiritually?
- Why do you think the 10 lepers were asking Jesus for mercy? If the term “Master” was typically used by followers of Jesus, what does their use of the word say about the hope they had in Jesus?
- What might have kept the lepers from following through on Jesus telling them to go to the priests?
- Why do you think they took the step to go? What was the benefit in taking that step?
- What do you think kept the other nine from coming back to express gratitude?
- What perspective do you think prompted the one to make coming back and expressing gratitude to Jesus a priority?
- What “more” did Jesus do for this one than physical and relational healing?
- What perspective about God do we need to embrace to choose gratitude as a priority? What perspective do you have?
- What next steps will you take to choose gratitude?
Notice in the story that putting themselves in the place to encounter Jesus was the best place to be. Notice that each of the 10 to take a step toward doing what Jesus said before they were healed. Notice that each of the 10 was healed of leprosy but only one returned to say, “Thanks!” Notice that only one received more healing than just physical.
Sometimes in our circumstances (whether less-than-ideal or not), we aren’t willing to put ourselves in a place to encounter Jesus, consider living the kind of life Jesus asks us to live. Sometimes in our circumstances we forget to be grateful for what we do have and miss what we could have. There is no more profound implication of this than in relationship with God. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by life that we don’t pay attention to or consider how God has been or is already at work in our circumstances – and we lose gratitude.
Today is Monday – make it a day that you choose gratitude!