Multi-tasking Mayhem

“But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.” Psalm 31:14-15 (NLT)

“Mom, quick…look at that lady!” My fourteen-year-old son shouted as we were headed down the interstate on an errand-running Thursday afternoon. “She should not be doing that,” he added for emphasis.

I glanced over at the car next to us, expecting to see someone without her hands at the ten and two o’clock positions like my by-the-rulebook-boy does when training behind the wheel. Instead, I nearly ran off the road while gawking at what my Driver’s Ed patrolman had spotted.

Next to us was a woman cradling her cell phone on her right shoulder; holding an open fast-food salad container in her left hand; ripping open a salad dressing packet with her teeth and her right hand…all while steering her car with her knees!

What in the world!? My boys and I thought surely, if she kept up this multi-tasking method of driving, she was going to cause a crash.

“I would NEVER attempt to do all of that when I drive,” I smugly thought to myself. “Entirely too dangerous and probably against the law.” Yep, when it comes to being a safe-driving expert, the apple doesn’t fall far from the “Honey-you-didn’t-use-your-blinker-back-there” maternal tree.

It wasn’t until later that night it hit me. Yes, I may not dangerously multi-task when driving, thereby risking collision. But in my day-to-day life? In my schedule? In my “sure-I-can-take-on-one-more-responsibility-so-everyone-will-like-me” way? I sometimes dangerously multi-task to the point I am headed for a crash.

Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how “good” they may be, can often render us ineffective for service to God. Yet, He knows our limits. He understands are capacities. He is willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the busyness and activity that often trips us up.

On one of my so-busy-I-couldn’t-breathe days, I read today’s key verse. While I’m sure the author David was talking about actual physical enemies — men who could chase, catch and ultimately hurt you — I realized that day my enemy was busyness. Too many activities and responsibilities outside my four walls were about to do me in. They chased me, cornered me and worst of all, were about to go in for the kill.

Thankfully, God can rescue us from the barren life of busyness. He invites us to hold our too-full plates up to Him, allowing Him to scrape off all the activities and responsibilities. Then, place back on our plates only the items HE longs for us to possess.

When this happens, we can create space in our calendar to retreat, places of sweet respite in our days where we connect with God. Times when we slow down and sit still to listen and learn from the Creator of time itself.

So, how about it friend? Let’s both start scraping before we crash and burn!

Dear Lord, forgive me for allowing busyness to overtake my life, crowding out others and worst of all You. Help me as I purpose to place only those items on my plate that You long for me to have. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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  • Been struggling with balance last few weeks. A much needed read for me. Thanks! “Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how “good” they may be, can often render us ineffective for service to God. Yet, He knows our limits. He understands are capacities. He is willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the busyness and activity that often trips us up.”

  • Thank you for this. When I look at my day I see 24 hrs and 8 billion things to do, I get overwhelmed and want to just go back to bed. i am slowly learning that I need to fill my tank before I start my day and when I feel overwhelmed it is my spirit telling me that I need a break. It is nice to have such a wonderfully written reminder :)

  • Your site is really interesting to me and your topics are very relevant. I was browsing around and came across something you might find interesting. I was guilty of 3 of them with my sites. “99% of site managers are guilty of these 5 errors”. http://is.gd/tLGOTx You will be suprised how simple they are to fix.

  • My husband and I too are complete and total opposites. We have been married for 5 1/2 years and have two gorgeous little girls. There are days when our differences are so obvious and I wonder if we really have anything in common at all. But it doesn’t take me long to know we both love God, each other, and our family. We too disagree on virtually everything initially but usually can see the others point of view rather quickly. Despite our differences, I wouldn’t trade my husband for anything. He spoils me rotten and it is great! He is an awesome help around the house and a wonderful father. I haven’t met too many men that will cook daily, clean, and be as involved with their kids as he is. He has been awake and supportive at nightly feedings and changed countless dirty diapers.

  • I, too, am an habitual multi-tasker. I feel inadequate if I am not doing at least 3 things at once. One is because I have so much to do, two is because of my perfectionism making me feel I need to get it all done, and three is because I feel guilty and lazy if I’m not doing it all. Fortunately, I’ve come to realize that I cannot and will not multi-task during my quiet times with my Lord. I don’t want to and He doesn’t want me to! Also, in “Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free”, Nancy Leigh DeMoss brings home the fact that although we may feel as if there aren’t enough hours in every day, “There is time in every day to do everything that God wants us to do”. That truth has freed me from feeling the “need” to multi-task and now I just do it when it’s safe and convenient. And, it still drives my husband crazy!

  • I feel overwhelmed by life and the more I try to get organized, the more of a mess it becomes! LOL I truly believe that busyness is Satan’s tool against us to keep us from what is really important: relationships with God and others! We all could benefit from a little less running around doing and just sit and listen for God to direct our paths!

  • OMGoodness! IT’S NUMBER 3 FOR ME! That hit kind of hard, I must say. We only have a handful of things to do outside the home, but I’m such a obsessive compulsive freak in our home! There is always a mile long to-do list of “stuff” that just HAS to be done. I’m definitely guilty of ‘bad’ mutlitasking! The problem is I rarely complete one full task! God has put some writing pojects on my heart, but I am way too “busy” to focus on them….and Him for that matter. This has certainly given me a wake up call! The devil is a liar, but I won’t be fooled….anymore! Thanks for posting this!

  • Wow, words spoken to my heart this morning. This is a huge area of struggle for me and something God has been quietly speaking to me about, although through you, I think He must have been speaking with a megaphone that I can no longer ignore. I am a homeschooling mother of 4, pregnant with my 5th due in less than 2 months and I also work as a writer from home. Since I will be scaling back on my writing once the baby comes, I have felt pressured to write more than I should in an effort to “make up” for the time I will miss then. Consequently, I have been working about 35 hours a week while still juggling the homeschooling, household, and child rearing responsibilties too since my husband also works about 60 hours a week. I know that I have not been doing any of the jobs very well, except for my writing since I have to in order to keep my job, and feel saddened when I know what a distraced mother my children have. They deserve better and frankly, so do I since I am truly exhausted. Thanks for being the megaphone I needed right now.

  • Very poignant where I am right now- realizing it’s easier tone busy than deal with the tasks, people, and situations at hand. I need the organization to be my ground zero point in getting myself out of this mess I’ve made… Messes on so many levels! “pick me”…!

  • I love the way you summed up the three points. I am going to type them up and post in my planner and on my mirrors! Perfect for an early Monday morning!

  • I’m good at multi-tasking, but have recognized lately that I have done poorly around the house turning it off to give focus to individuals. Definitely going to work on that – it really bothers me when others do it to me! I would LOVE the organizational giveaway – super exciting!

  • Great perspective on busyness. It’s so hard to balance. I guess I just have to keep readjusting. Thanks for the down-to-earth article.

  • Multi-tasking has it’s place. Like putting away a basket of clean clothes while talking on the phone. But I have had to learn the hard way that rest is good, breaks are good and multi-tasking every area of your life can be detrimental to your life!

  • I’ve heard that giving into temptation occurs most easily when we’re idle, hungry, lonely or tired. Therefore, I try to fill my schedule so that I can get the most out of life, while still maintaing God’s pattern of resting into work. Multi-tasking has always been difficult for me but I’m working on it. Keeping records is also something I struggle with but have vowed (again) to keep my diary updated.

  • I heard a good quote many years ago about the dangers of taking on too much, and being an out of balance Martha:

    “If your output exceeds your input, then your upkeep will be your downfall!”

    One I often need to remind myself of!

  • Wow!! That last comment hit me because I am a good girl, but Satan has made me extremely busy. I spend many days wondering which way is up or spinning around on the merry-go-round I call my life. All good things, mind you – just too many of them. In this year of double blessing and properity I will be scraping my plate and not taking bigger portions than I can ingest. Plan on spending more time at His feet and reorganizing my priorities, home and life. Thank you for the great word with a wonderful prospective.
    Blessings “all-ways”
    Leone Ottenbreit

  • I am 64 yr. old and I still have a problem with time. I write down my list and have all things set but, I have a problem doing it. I sit and think, gee I could do this now or I should get this done, but I can’t seem to motivate myself. My biggest guilt with this is my time NOT in the WORD. I thank you for a chance to see how you handle your time.

    Thanks so much
    Susie Quinn

  • Hi! I think I need to do MORE tasks. I have a tendency to not be as organized as I should be and I NEED HELP!!!! I want to have a plan of action every week and don’t. I wash clothes when I can, clean when I can and don’t have a schedule that I think would help me out! I have a 6 year old girl in Kindergarten all day all week, and an almost 1 1/2 yr old at home with me all day! :) I LOVE it, but need help organizing my time. It is honestly a little hard getting alot done with the little one, because I have to keep my eye on her. I try to do some things in the morning and then when my older one gets home and little one is down for a nap. I would LOVE some of your tips! Thank you for this devotion and chance to win!! May GOD Bless you and your ministry! Julie Spearing :)