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I have a confession to make. I’m feeling really overwhelmed today.

I have a really busy schedule for the next two weeks: On the weekend of the 27/28 I’m speaking at the huge Break Forth convention in Edmonton, Alberta, leading the women’s track. I have five talks I have to practice and perfect before that.

But before I can even do that I have a big article for Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine about sharing chores with your husband. And I have a column due this morning.

I’m finding the columns quite stressful to write recently. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, in secular papers, and it’s harder and harder to come up with topics. Most of the things I’d like to say I’ve already said. So it’s always about finding a new slant on things.

And I try not to throw in totally controversial stuff all the time because I don’t want to totally turn people off. So last week, for instance, I wrote about how research shows that cohabiting before marriage increases divorce rates. That’s controversial. I’m sure to get flak for that.

I’d like, therefore, to write more of a feel-good column today, but I’m completely out of ideas. So I have to get a rough draft of an article done, and a column, and practice these speeches, and I’m finding myself stressed even in my sleep! I’m sure you’ve gone through periods like that, too, when it’s just so overwhelming it’s hard to start.

Yesterday in church our pastor was talking about “the joy of your salvation”, and how “the joy of the Lord is your strength”. And he was asking us if we’ve lost our joy. I thought and prayed about that yesterday, and I think one of the problems I have is something that’s quite common among those in ministry: it’s hard to get excited about God if every time you have a great insight in your devotions you think to yourself, “I have to weave this into a talk!” or “I should write about this.” Sometimes I’d like to just BE with God. Sometimes ministry gets really tiring, because it’s hard to be creative and spiritual on demand.

I’m not saying I’m going to quit; I’m just saying that there are times that I’m tired. Happily I’ve already scheduled two weeks worth of blog posts, so I don’t have to worry about writing this blog! I actually don’t find the blog stressful because I can write about whatever I want, and I’m not worried about sticking to a word count or writing or publication. It’s just my thoughts, and you all seem to like them enough since my traffic keeps growing. It’s the other things that I’m overwhelmed by.

On thing that God did remind me of yesterday, though, was that it’s hard to have joy if you don’t actually spend a lot of time talking and listening to Him. So I thought I’d share just a few links that are on my list for helping me not become overwhelmed.

1. Bible Study

Are you interested in doing something new with your devotions this year? Or do you just want to start trying to HAVE devotions? On Wings and Waves has a great post introducing her “Study the Epistles” series, where you spend 2013 working through the epistles.

But she doesn’t just do that; she’s also got a free printable that tells you what to do during your devotions if you’re just stuck and you don’t know where to begin. And she’s got printables that go along with her devotional series. So check her out!

2. Read Your Bible in a Year

My friend Rachel Wojo also has a challenge to read through your Bible in a year. I’ve done this a few times and it was so valuable! I know it’s late getting to the party, but if you do two days’ worth of readings for the next two weeks you’ll catch up.

3. Free Blogging Planner

If you’re a blogger (like me!) and you want to get more organized at it in 2013, Mama Jenn has a free printable to help you plan your posts, your giveaways, your social media campaigns, and even track your statistics. You can download it here.

And if you’re a blogger, would you like to earn some money? Last month a bunch of bloggers made over $50 each by writing a post introducing the 31 Days to Great Sex! I’ve got a great affiliate program with it, and it’s easy to sign up. With Valentine’s Day coming, it’s a wonderful opportunity to let people know about this great resource (and earn some money, too).

So there are a few links you may like, and now I’m going to go back and stare at a blank computer screen praying for inspiration! If you could pray with me, I would sure appreciate it.

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