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What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: Say Yes to Rest

Are you often overwhelmed? Overcommitted? Do you have a hard time saying no? Then hang around this week. We’re going to start off the new year by learning to say “no” to filling our days with busyness and say “yes” to the things God wants in our lives.

 

Say Yes to Rest

And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
Matthew 6:31, ESV
But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:40-42, ESV

mary-martha-and-jesus-1354812-mI admit it. This is something I struggle with every day. I have a tendency to stay up way into the night to get things done that I didn’t have time for during the day. I spend my weekends catching up on things at home that I’ve neglected during my busy week. I’ve often lamented, “If only I didn’t need to sleep! I could get so much more done!”

I don’t know about you, but I have a very hard time relaxing when there’s laundry to do, dog hair to vacuum, errands to run and projects I need to finish. It doesn’t help that we’ve always been told things like “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” and that a Proverbs 31 woman never stops working—she rises while it is still night and her lamp never goes out. Sitting around doing nothing? I can’t even comprehend that most days.

As admirable as the woman in Proverbs 31 is, I don’t think this kind of non-stop busyness is what Jesus wants for our lives. When Martha was fretting over Mary not helping her serve their guests, Jesus gently reminded her that it wasn’t necessary to be so anxious, and that Mary had chosen the thing that mattered—spending time with Him.

I know at times I get so busy that I forget to spend time with Him. I try to remember each morning to read my devotions and pray, but on those days when you sleep through the alarm and wake up running, sometimes the day slips by before I realize I haven’t taken that time.

Women, especially mothers, tend to put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. We often neglect things like our own rest, whether that’s physical or spiritual. And ladies, they’re equally important. (I’m preaching to myself here, trust me!) We cannot continue to serve others or God if we’re physically and spiritually exhausted.

Physical rest is vitally important. It’s linked to heart health, brain function, and even weight loss. Scientific studies have shown that adults who get 7-8 hours of sleep at night are actually much more productive during the day than those who burn the midnight oil to get things done. I know it’s not always easy, especially if you have small children, but try to remember that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and caring for it is your responsibility. If you’re exhausted and sick, you won’t be much help to anyone.

The same is true for spiritual rest. Find time, even a few minutes a day, to sit down, cast your cares on Jesus, and then listen to what He has to say. Plug in to the Scriptures. Recharge spiritually. Talk to God as you go through your day. If you’re afraid people will think you’re nuts, then pray silently. Give thanks for little things like a good parking place at Walmart or the feel of the sun shining through the window. Connect with God, as often as possible, because whenever you do, your spirit will find rest. And the best part?

He’s always there, waiting.

In His Love,

Amy

What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: It’s Okay to Say No

Are you often overwhelmed? Overcommitted? Do you have a hard time saying no? Then hang around this week. We’re going to start off the new year by learning to say “no” to filling our days with busyness and say “yes” to the things God wants in our lives.

 

It’s Okay to Say No

My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
Proverbs 3:21-22 NIV

saying-noThis is such a great opportunity to serve! I’ve really wanted to read this book or do this Bible study. I’ll join this group because I’ve been looking for buddies to work out with. I really need to take this class because I’ve always wanted to learn how to do that. If I don’t agree to help plan that, who will? Besides, they need me!

Guilty of any of these? I know I am. Wanting to help, wanting to learn new things, wanting to find ways to connect socially is not a bad thing. Overcommitting yourself to the point of stress in your life is. We can always justify what we think we should be doing, as well as what we simply want to do. Unfortunately, we have only so much of us to go around, and we can start to feel like Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” One of the most apt descriptions I’ve ever heard!

Most women are natural caretakers. There’s a joke about what would’ve happened had the three wise men who came to baby Jesus been three wise women instead. They’d have asked directions, shown up on time, helped deliver the baby, brought practical gifts like diapers, made a few casseroles for Mary to heat up later, and cleaned the stable while they were at it. It’s funny, but there’s a lot of truth there!

Learning to say “no” is very hard for a lot of us. It’s just not our nature to turn down someone requesting our help. But when we overcommit, we have so much on our plates that we can’t give everything the necessary time. We end up rushing through things, or forgetting them altogether. We want to help, and yes, receive the blessings that come from serving, but are we really serving if we’re so overcommitted we can’t give something a hundred percent of our attention?

Saying “no” to something I really want to do is one of the hardest things for me. What I’ve learned is that most of the time the project will still get done, even if I’m not the one to do it. Maybe by someone who wouldn’t come forward as quickly as I would but is just as willing to help. Maybe someone who has never been asked. As I said before, saying no often gives someone else the opportunity to be blessed by serving. So if your schedule is already busting at the seams, and you know that still, small voice is telling you you’re already too busy, don’t be afraid to say no. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Pray for the right person to come forward. Suggest a name if you know someone who might like to help. You never know how that opportunity might bless someone else.

In His Love,

Amy

What To Do When You’re Doing Too Much: Cut the Clutter

Are you often overwhelmed? Overcommitted? Do you have a hard time saying no? Then hang around this week. We’re going to start off the new year by learning to say “no” to filling our days with busyness and say “yes” to the things God wants in our lives.

 

Cut the Clutter

I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
Ecclesiastes 3:10-13, ESV

clutterI don’t watch a lot of television, but one of the shows I have seen from time to time is called “Clean House.” A team of people go into a very cluttered home, help the residents clear out the clutter, and then redecorate the home. The results are usually amazing, and when they revisit the residents later, they always talk about how much easier their life is—how much more peaceful they feel not having all that clutter around.

I admit —I’m guilty of this to an extent. My home may not look like an episode of “Hoarders,” but I know I could live without a lot. As I’ve told my husband—it’s not that our house isn’t big enough. We just have too much stuff in it. We’re working on decluttering, but it’s a long process. (See the photo above. Yes, that’s my office, before and after. It became the dumping ground in our house. Please don’t judge me. )

Life is like that, too. Your life can become so “cluttered” with demands and commitments that you feel as if you’re suffocating under the weight of it all. When your “to do” list exceeds the number of hours in the day every single day, you never feel as if you accomplished anything. It’s not a very peaceful way to live, and certainly not the way God wants us to feel day in and day out.

If you feel completely overwhelmed, take some time to look at your schedule. Then look for ways to free up a little time. Is there someone you can carpool with, taking the kids to school, even if it’s only a couple of afternoons a week? Is there someone else who can take charge of the Girl Scout cookie sale this year? Do you really have to serve on five different committees? Remember, saying no isn’t rejecting an obligation. It’s giving someone else the opportunity to be blessed by serving!

Don’t let your control-freak streak take away the peace God wants you to have. You can let go of some things. You might even find that (gasp!) someone is better at something than you were, but they never had the chance to step up! So pray about your commitments and let go of the ones God tells you to let go of. I promise, the world will not collapse. Give others a chance to serve!

In His Love,

Amy