I’m Over Being Overloaded

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
James 1:5-8 (ESV)

A while back I was having lunch with a group of ladies when I felt the conversation take a sudden right turn. Out of nowhere, the focus shifted from family and fun to how busy everyone was.

One of the gals said, “I can’t seem to get everything done. No matter how hard I try I can’t get caught up and I’m running on fumes.” Another lamented, “There’s no time for my family, and my kids and I are constantly on the go. I don’t have a minute to breathe, much less do anything for me.”

I found myself nodding in agreement and thinking about how I’ve suffered from the super overload syndrome. At that moment we were all experiencing common symptoms of overwhelm and our conversation sounded like a desperate plea for normalcy. 

I realized right then that I might as well have been standing on the street corner, waving a big red flag that says, “Let me do it. Oh, choose me, please. Or, yes I want it to be me,” for all the commitments I had going on in my life. In some ways I made it seem like an honor to be the busiest, most overwhelmed person on the planet. 

And then reality sank in and I start thinking more clearly. How do I get into these situations? What am I saying? I know exactly how it happens.

It’s because of my “I can do it all” attitude.

This causes me to be covered up for days, toting the weight of 10 people. What was I thinking? The hard part in all of this was figuring out when to say, ‘enough is enough.’ My mind kept replaying, “when will the exhaustion and overwhelm end? Will I ever get my life back to a manageable state?”

The first thing I had to do was pinpoint where my thinking goes awry.

Much of this overload situation is of my own making; of my own choosing.

I am so guilty of taking on more than I need to. I tend to think others need my help and worse than that, I fear some things won’t get done to the level it needs doing. That’s one of the reasons my hand automatically shoots up high in the air, and my mouth says, “I’ll do it,” without thinking about the consequences of my own actions. If I didn’t know any better, you would think I was trying to win the prize for most commitments on the calendar. 

Thankfully I learned this kind of behavior was insane and that it was time for me to admit that I was beyond my capacity to manage all of my commitments realistically.

I was simply trying to do too much. I had finally reached the point in my life where I realized that I’m over being overloaded. Click To Tweet

Let me say that one more time.  I’m over being overloaded. Glynnis Whitwer shares in her book, Taming the TO-DO List, “Our expectations about our time and energy are simply unrealistic. We’re like Cinderella’s stepsisters trying to squeeze our feet into that glass slipper.”

From that point forward I’ve had to be diligent about weighing any extra commitments versus my real priorities. I ask myself these questions—

  • Is it really necessary?
  • How much of my time will it take?
  • What will I give up in order to take this commitment on?

 

Answering these questions makes me think twice about what I’m saying yes to. 

Another thing that resonates with me, is if I find myself saying over and over again that I’m too busy, then I’m too busy and something has to change—NOW.

James 1:5-8 instructs us to ask Him for wisdom to know what to do. Whatever we choose should always align with God’s word and His character.

As I worked through the seasons of busyness I pray for God to reveal what’s really important to me. I’ve committed to following His lead so when it comes to the things I take on, I think twice, pray boldly and often, and then make the decision. 

Reflection Questions

What are your triggers when it comes to falling into the overcommitment trap? 

If you say yes to a new commitment, what will you give up in order to avoid overload? 

How has your busyness and overcommitment impacted your family? 

Prayer

I am praying this week for us to seek God’s wisdom for planning our schedules. May our time and to-do list reflect our priorities. Lord, I call on you to help us think clearly and to make good use of our time. So often we are guilty of trying to do too much; it’s time for us to stop, do a heart check, and commit to not overcommitting. I pray for courage to say no when it’s needed and to walk away feeling guilt free. Amen.  

26 thoughts on “I’m Over Being Overloaded

Jodie

I love your questions, Mitzi! What a great practice before making a commitment. I also love the book, The Best Yes. It helped me greatly in learning when to say yes and being ok with the answer no.

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    Mitzi

    I’ve worked on becoming less committed for several years, but the last year has been a turning point for me. The Best Yes gave me much to think about and I still refer back to Lysa’s words when I need reminding that saying no to things I don’t need allows me to say yes to the things that matter most.
    Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn the hard way–too much commitment caused stress I didn’t need and overload that wasn’t really mine to carry. In the end I was burned out trying to keep up with it all. When I began unloading all the extra I felt a huge relief and had a new outlook on life.

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      Robin Conway

      It is easy to get overwhelmed with our busy life! When I was teaching and coaching I loved being busy! The more I had to do the better it was. It seemed to make me energized! Our girls went everywhere we did!
      Now that I am retired my life is a different kind of busy! My priorities have changed. I still like to be busy but I find myself saying no more often, especially when there are things that I want to do more! Lol I now have more time with God, traveling and spending time with my grandkids! We have to find a balance and when we do we will find true happiness and relaxation!

      Reply

        Mitzi

        Robin,
        Thank you for sharing your first hand perspective of a busy life because of demands of work, etc., but more so because we can pick and choose what our ‘busy’ looks like when we enter a new season. I find myself saying no more than ever, not because of selfishness, but because I have run the race a long time. It’s more important than ever to choose wisely and think about the impact that ‘busy’ has on us and our families. God wants our best in whatever we choose. Love you!

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Rosie J Williams

I know I’ve overcommitted (once again), when I’m constantly having to cancel or reschedule appointments. Then there is the pressure from other people when you do say no. My hub and I recently pulled out of a card group. When I saw one of those gals at church, she was lamenting the fact we left. I felt like I had to tell her all of the reasons and it soon became “blah blah blah” about how busy we were. Next time, I hope to respond by saying “I miss you guys too”. Thx for this reminder-loved the Cinderella ex

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    Mitz

    Rosie,
    You are spot on. When we start juggling the calendar,it’s time to cut some things loose. Just like you, I learned to stop making excuses as to why I did what was best for me and my family and instead told friends and family how much I missed them and to carry on. As my friend Kristine Brown would say: I’m so over it!
    Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you.

    Reply

Faye

I’m retired 4 years now and busy as ever! I keep a precious almost 3 year old grandson 3 days a week, and his brother gets off school bus at our home every afternoon. I know ladies Bible studies are a calling of mine now at this time in my life and a ministry with women. But I struggle with lifting my hand and saying yes to other things at church especially with the children, then I struggle is this really where God wants me. I really feel my children’s ministry is with my two grandsons that are here everyday, then I struggle with sounds selfish. I’m wanting to continue being a servant in my “old” age but really need to pray over hearing God’s voice and knowing it is ok to not be involved.

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    Mitzi

    Faye,
    You know I’m right there with you. As I was praying this morning, I talked to the Lord about listening to His voice more as I determine which things will take up my time. I want to be discerning in the choices I make. The other thing I am working on is not feeling guilty when I can’t help with something. No more excuses–it’s just not good for me or my family. Thank you for sharing and I’m praying for you as you see where your servant’s heart fits best.

    Reply

      Faye Lynch

      Thanks, Mitzi!

      Reply

Nancy Silvers

Love this! Chronic illness has caused me to back off from committing myself to do much so this has not been a problem. When I was more able I asked myself another question, one I learned from Lysa TerKeurst’s book , The Best Yes, and it was is this MY assignment. I may be asked to do something, that is very good and serves God’s kingdom, BUT is it MY assignment. This is why prayer is so important, God will give you peace with your choices when you seek Him first.

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    Mitzi

    Nancy,
    Backing away from commitments or limiting them is hard isn’t it? But Lysa’s right–we have to figure out what our best assignment is and stick to it. No more guilt or feeling shamed for not being involved in something. I’m praying for you as you heal and take care of yourself. We do what we can do during a season–because God wants us to commit to the things that deserve our best yes. Hugs to you.

    Reply

Michelle Cooper

Yes! My busyness is truly of my own making. I have to take responsibility for that. I also need to learn to say no. That is really hard for me. It helps me to think about the time I will be missing with my family if I commit to one more thing. I really needed to hear this today! Thank you!

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    Mitzi

    Hi Michelle! Thank you for joining us today. I know for sure that a good bit of my busyness is truly of my own making. And you are right–we do have to take responsibility for those choices. I mentioned earlier to a sister that I’ve been on the busy track for a long time and it’s nice to finally be at a point that I can pick and choose what I enjoy and what’s good for me. Sometimes we step away from something for a season and that’s okay. Sometimes we simply pare down because we rest and the opportunity to refuel. Whatever it is, God wants us to honor Him in our decisions. Blessings to you.

    Reply

Cindy Krall

Mitzi, as always your wisdom is a gift. You “show the way” for the rest of us by your example. Loved your words today and love your heart! Thank you!

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    Mitzi

    Thank you sis! Overwhelm is a tough place to be and I have lived it fully. That’s not a bragging point, but a fact. I’m so thankful to walk beside sisters like you, who understand and who impart wisdom that I can look to as examples of prioritizing what’s importance. Love you sis.

    Reply

Dana

Oh, this spoke directly to me!!!! I do it to myself all the time, by taking on more and more and then losing more of myself more and more. It seems that I live in OVERWHELMED, USA most of the time. I do like to be busy and helpful but I am afraid that if I do not find time to relax that my body will soon pick a time for me to relax….and it may not be opportune for me to be out!!! HELP!!!

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    Mitzi

    Dana,
    So many of us have lived this life, but thankfully through prayer and a decision to change the situation we can [in time] remedy our situations. Thankfully God wants us to run from overwhelm and run straight to Him. Psalm 46:1 says that, “God is my “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Praying for you to get some much needed rest my friend.

    Reply

Michele

Mitzi,
I am in a season of looking at my rhythm of life and being okay to say no to things. Helping with my grands comes first, and God has confirmed that to me time and time again. There are times I struggle, but know this is my full-time ministry for now—it is my best yes.

Thank you for your wisdom and words, Mitzi.

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    Mitzi

    Michele,
    Amen! That is my season as well–putting those important things first. And I agree that is giving my best YES. I have struggled with this much of my adult life, but I am thankful through God’s guidance and wisdom of friends that I have made a major breakthrough. Love you friend.

    Reply

Tara

In this knew Season of my life in my 50’s God has been reminding me that saying no to things I don’t need to say yes to the things that matters the most in my life. He told me to much of a commitment cause me to have alot of stress in my life.When I unload all the extra stress I felt a huge relief and had one outlook on my life. Family, Joy-Filled, Sever, love give, encourager to other women and people with disabilities. God wants me to be my best in whatever I choosr.

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    Jodie Whichard Barrett

    Tara, Making those good decisions certainly helps us be the best in the areas God has purposed for us. Love seeing your list of family, joy-filled, server…. That makes me smile.

    Reply

Mitzi

Tara,
After reading your comment I am shouting YES!! I know exactly what you mean and I too, can appreciate the freedom when I say NO to those things that are keeping me from giving my best.
I also work to tame my to-do list so the list doesn’t add to the stress and overload.
Thank you for sharing your experience and it’s good to have you here. Blessings!

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Kathee Wheeler

God Bless you Mitzi with yours and the Sisterhood wisdom! I am guilt of being overcommitted! My health has been effected since Christmas Day. God has my attention by halting me totally by making me rest! I now at the point in making decisions that are going to hard and disappointment others. The passions will need to be re-evaluated and allow Gods direction. Thank you for your prayers!

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    Mitzi

    Kathee,
    Oh sweet sister, these times can be so trying and downright difficult. Most of my adult life has been lived in this vicious cycle of busy, and over the last five years I have worked little by little to bring things under control. Last summer someone told me I was a professional plate spinner–that didn’t make me feel any better. But it did get my attention–BIG TIME–and I knew things had to change for the better and it had to be now.
    No more talking about it, no more putting it off, no more saying, ‘I’m okay–I can do it.’ NOPE–right then and there I made the decision to be a better listener to God and to answer the very questions I have asked our sisters in this post. When I say yes, what and who does that impact? Every time I say yes does it take away from something else on my list (that I really want to do).
    I am praying for your health and for you to rest and rejuvenate. When you are feeling overwhelmed, run to God. Don’t look back. Let things go that aren’t best for you and no more feeling guilty because you believe you’ve let someone down. No more. God wants us to lean on Him and HIs Word. Psalm 46:1.
    Blessings to you sweet friend.

    Reply

      Kathee Wheeler

      Dear Mitzi, Thank you for your wisdom! I love what you said “ Every time I say yes does it take away from something else on my list (that I really want to do)”. I will always remember that! God bless you!

      Reply

Kathee Wheeler

God Bless you Mitzi with yours and the Sisterhood wisdom! I am guilt of being overcommitted! My health has been effected since Christmas Day. God has my attention by halting me totally by making me rest! I now at the point in making decisions that are going to hard and disappoint others. My passions will need to be re-evaluated and allow Gods direction. Thank you for your prayers!

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