29 Mar

“I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?”

The teenage schoolgirl answers: “I think you can in Europe.”

Can you name the movie this quotation comes from? It was my first exposure to actor Heath Ledger, and also to actress Julia Stiles, and it’s a film that has stuck with me for a number of years.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately, though in the best sense imaginable. At times, we use this word to describe a season of stress and fatigue, but I am feeling overwhelmed by an act of generosity.

A friend recently gave us a high-dollar gift certificate and I find myself wildly whelmed, paralyzed by possibility.

In some sense, a lesser gift would be much easier to handle. It doesn’t take quite so much imagination to consider the ways to use it. But a gift of this magnitude causes me to consider many things.

How do I use this gift well? How do I act as a good steward of this amount of spending power? What opportunities are now open to me with this degree of resourcing available?

It’s exciting, but also intimidating: I don’t want to waste or abuse this gift.

I am overwhelmed, in the most wonderful kind of way…and it’s just an e-certificate.

It makes me ask myself: how often do I find myself overwhelmed by the love and grace of God? Do I perceive that the doors of opportunity are thrown open before me as I consider the magnitude of what has been given to me? Am I moved to contemplate and entertain glorious visions of what could be as a result of what’s been handed to me?

Or am I content to just have the e-certificate sitting in my inbox, truly mine, but without ever really letting it impact my life in all the wonderful ways that it could?

We’ve had the gift certificate for several weeks, and still haven’t been able to determine how to spend it. I’ve had the gift of God’s love and grace for many years, and I’m still trying to figure out what all the possibilities are for what my life can now be.

But there is one difference. I may end up spending the gift certificate unwisely, purchasing items that last only temporarily and that end up providing little benefit or blessing to myself and others. And then it will be spent and gone.

But God’s love and grace are practically begging to be used, even at the risk of misuse. And they come with a wonderful promise: they can never be expended, the availability will never expire in this lifetime, the balance will never be exhausted.

So, what I’m waiting for? God is inviting us to a spending spree–and He’s buying! We can be paralyzed by the possibilities, reticent due to the realities, or uncomfortable with the uncertainties, but the worst thing we can do is to let the news just sit in our inbox, and never see where this truth can take us.

Whether it’s overwhelmed or underwhelmed, whether it’s in Europe or our own backyard, let’s see where this generosity takes us!



Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Life, Theology


Tags: , , ,

3 responses to “Overwhelmed

  1. Stephanie

    March 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Hey, meeee too! 🙂 I just wrote about this on Sunday!! Overwhelmed with you, Steph

  2. joanne

    March 29, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    This so so true! Thanks for sharing! Hope you read Steph’s post too – there’s something of a theme happin’n here!

  3. Jenn

    April 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Good reminder. I’m distracted by a few things today that draw me away from the Gift. A refocusing of the lenses reminds me of the abundant love and gifts from the Father.


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