When There’s Too Much to Do



I’ve been stressed for days.

Not only are a million things hanging over my head, but I’m also struggling to find a word to give the coming year a focus. A theme. Direction.

I’ve done this for years. My word will help guide me and symbolize what I want to accomplish. It will define my priorities in 2015.

I choose one word or phrase because there are so many things I want to do, to achieve, to become. If I tried to change them all, I would fail miserably. Especially because most of what I see are my failures.

The ways I fall short are legion.

I yearn to read more books. Have longer quiet times. Pray thoughtfully for everyone I committed to pray for. Declutter. Cook more family meals. Get less take-out. Share meaningful family devotions. Have family devotions at all. Be more organized. Spend more time with my daughters.

I imagine that if I just worked harder, managed my time better, disciplined myself more, then somehow everything would get done. And when it does, I’d finally be free to enjoy life.

But the truth is, I will never get to the bottom of my to-do list. So I choose a word to narrow my focus for the coming year. That way I can concentrate on one thing, and try to effect change, rather than write a long list of resolutions that  will overwhelm me by month’s end.

So my New Year’s word is important. It must encompass my vision for the year.

I had a short list of several words, yet none of them felt right. I always ask God to guide me, and I start by listing the things I want to do differently, the places I need to improve, the things that need to change. In short, I list my failures. (I know, it sounds like an encouraging process.)

As I sat with the Lord, I was struck by the busyness of my life, and how hard it was to narrow my focus to one thing. I wanted to write this post on my word, which added even more pressure to the process. Since I often don’t know what I think until I start writing, I started tapping out some ideas on my keyboard, hoping it would all come together.

As I started writing, the story of Mary and Martha came to mind. Martha too was busy, and with good reason.

In Luke 10, Jesus and His disciples were travelling around, and Martha graciously welcomed them into her home. And she was busy serving. After all, there were guests in her house AND THEY ALL NEEDED TO BE FED.

Of course Martha needed help. Who else was going to make dinner and serve it? It was Martha and Mary’s house. Why was Mary not helping? Didn’t she see the immediate need?

What could be more important than feeding Jesus? And serving His disciples?

Suddenly, to me, that question was more relevant than ever.

I reread the Biblical account. Jesus tells Martha, who has pressing needs to meet just as I do, “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.”

Martha was anxious about many things. But one thing was necessary. The only lasting thing.

Then it hit me.

I had just wondered, ‘What could be more important than feeding Jesus? And serving His disciples?’

The answer was obvious. The one thing that’s more important than feeding Jesus, is letting Jesus feed me. I need His food; He doesn’t need mine. He can feed 5000 with five loaves and two fishes.

But me. I need to sit at His feet. Taste His food. Savor it long. This is what gives me life.

I knew then what my word for 2015 needed to be. SAVOR.

I need to savor each moment.

Savor time with my friends. Savor time with my teenaged daughters. Savor time with my fiancé. And most importantly, savor time with God. All of these moments and these exchanges are sacred. They shouldn’t be rushed.

I don’t know how to live unrushed.

I know how to rush. And scramble. And hurry. To scratch off items on my to-do list, and still feel unsatisfied at the end of the day. That is familiar.

So how do I learn to savor? Even as I type this, I’m trying to figure it out. I know that I need to put aside the non-essentials.

Rather than decluttering my house, I need to declutter my life.

Decluttering means simplifying my life and my priorities. Several years ago, a friend mentioned that she was intentionally building more margin into her life after reading a book about it. The idea was compelling but I honestly had no time to read the book, let alone implement it.

No time to create margin. How ironic.

I need margin in my life if I want to savor anything. I can’t have every moment scheduled with tasks leaving no time for rest. Or people. Or even interruptions.

But even as I write these words, and commit to SAVOR, I confess I am terrified. What if I fail at this too? What if I continue to cram too much into my days, and don’t enjoy the people, the moments, the opportunities that God is putting before me. What if I don’t really live?

And then I remember. It’s all about Jesus. He gives me the power to forsake sin and live righteously. He will help me reorient my perspective. Refocus my priorities. Savor what He has given me. Savor Him.

There is such freedom in knowing that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. There is freedom in the invitation to let go of my expectations and sit at His feet.

And so, this year I want to SAVOR the Lord and the life He is giving me.

Do you have a word for 2015? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.



Photo courtesy of Jonathan Davidar
  • January 1, 2015 - 6:50 pm

    Deborah - I’m cheating – it’s a phrase – Redeemed to Redeem

    I love your “Savour” and the process you went through to arrive at it.


  • January 2, 2015 - 7:57 am

    Alan Moore - Journey. It never ends. While life with Christ allows our lives to come to a place of spiritual comfort, the “journey” never ends. This word encourages me to continue to seek God, be fed by Him and to “savor” those moments. Thanks for a great post! – Alan from Knoxville.ReplyCancel

  • January 2, 2015 - 10:25 am

    Becky - I have been encouraged to think of a word for the year. I’ve not done this in the past and the very thought of it overwhelmed me. With two small kids keeping my days chaotic, I’ve thought “how in the world can I even take time to think?!” As I read this blog post, it was the PERFECT explanation of my thoughts about the year: I’m BUSY! So, with that, I’m going to borrow your word, SAVOR, as my word. Time is flying….my daughter just turned one and I can’t even believe it. I did NOT savor this last year – I survived it. This is no way to live. So, thank you for your thoughts in this post. It helped me think through my own word which, as I mentioned, I’m (stealing) borrowing from you! :). I don’t want life to pass me by and I don’t want to miss the life that God has given me….thank you for another fantastic post!ReplyCancel

  • January 2, 2015 - 1:06 pm

    Ann Dotson - Vaneetha, I love this. This was very impactful for me. It seems that my family needs to be fed…..ALL the time. While I am thrilled to provide these meals, I will cry out for time to be fed by the ONE and only. Oh sweet Jesus, please draw me to YOU, to be fed by You and You alone. Such a wonderful way to look at this story. And I love your word….SAVOR! Such a great word for this new year! Thank you for blessing me!!ReplyCancel

  • January 2, 2015 - 3:39 pm

    Lisa - I never have done this before. I’d heard about it, and vainly thought, “aw, one measly word can’t possibly be enough to cover all the bases…” Recently, however, the thought struck me that One sweet Word would certainly be enough to cover me: Jesus. But, his name is not the word I’ve chosen for his year. Perhaps I’m too new at this sort of thing and my word, well, it’s rather broad. But it seemed like the right one when I offered it to the Lord: Glorious. Is every thought radiating His glory? Will this response shine with His glory when I speak it? Will this action ooze with His brightness of His smile? How about my motives? ouch!
    It seems that this word, for me, lifts my spirit to His Spirit…. and there in the “heavenlies” mine is conformed to His. The trick is having it stay there. So my prayer for 2015: “Lord, let me be filled with You, that your glory might shine in me, that others would be so blessed by having been with You-in-me that they would be filled, and go and do the same for others.” … I know, I know, this is enough to fill my own blog post! 😉
    Thank you Vaneetha. The Lord is certainly made more glorious to us through your walk with Him and your words about Him. He is good!ReplyCancel

  • January 3, 2015 - 8:22 pm

    Christina - Love this! Thank you Vaneetha – I am too much Martha and the call to rest and be fed by Christ is a wonderful reminder at the beginning of my year. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • January 3, 2015 - 8:45 pm

    Terry Duffell - Vaneetha, what a blessing your words in this post have been for me! I have never heard or thought of having a word for the year. What a fabulous idea. One that made my heart leap when I read it just now. As I have contemplated what word to choose, I thought your word would be a great choice for me since I am just now getting around to actually reading this post…
    Of course, the Lord has convicted me with a word that I don’t want to use but know that I HAVE to use. TRUST…
    I have to TRUST God that He will handle the family situations that I am dealing with. I have to TRUST that God will direct me in decisions that are needed in several areas of my life. I have to TRUST other people to love me, to care for me, to know me, to have my best interest at heart, etc.
    Thank you for the encouragement that you give with each post. Praying that you and your girls have a blessed 2015.ReplyCancel

  • January 4, 2015 - 12:30 pm

    kimberly - I like to do this every year with one word and reading your blog showed me I am not alone! My word (s) are “Now Grow” I am tired of being in the same place in my life spiritually. When you get a chance please read about it at http://www.reboryn.blogspot.com and please keep me in genuine prayer bc it’s a challenge everytime I repent and turn away from my sins. It’s like the enemy is right there waiting for me fall…God Bless you and I enjoy your blog!ReplyCancel

  • January 9, 2015 - 10:16 am

    Andrea - Thank you for this post. I am currently in a season (and have been for a few years) of increasing pain and problems with my fibromyalgia. In the past i was able to get out of a years long bad flareup, but one key piece to feeling better was slowing down my life and living less hurried. I’m trying to do that now but since the last time we have 4 blessed children instead of two, I’m homeschooling 3, and God has been teaching me about how to be more of a helper to my husband. It often feels impossible to slow down and rest. There is always more to do then I can possibly to accomplish, even without adding any ministry outside my home. I am trying to delegate more tasks to the older children lately. This post was a good reminder to me to slow down and spend time with the Lord, enjoy my husband and kids – not look at them as a to do list. I by nature I’m a hardworker, in fact I will ignore my body and keep pushing through but pay for it later. God continues to press me to understand what it means to rest in Him, rely on His strength, and humble me through this thorn in my flesh.ReplyCancel

  • January 15, 2015 - 5:30 pm

    How in the World Do I Savor Life? - Vaneetha Demski - […] Maybe not as much externally as on the inside, where I feel weary and hurried all too often. As I mentioned in my last post, I want to savor this year. To savor each moment. To savor my time with […]ReplyCancel

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