Multi-tasking Mayhem
Karen Ehman

"But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God.' My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me." Psalm 31:14-15 (NIV)

"Mom, quick…look at that lady!" My fourteen-year-old-in-driver's-education-child shouted at me as we were headed down Michigan's US-27 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 gripped properly at the ten and two o'clock positions like my by-the-rulebook-boy does when he is behind the wheel. Instead, I nearly ran off the road while gawking at what my resident Driver's Ed patrolman had spotted.

Next to us was a woman who was doing all of the following: talking on a cell phone by cradling it 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 etiquette 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 that it hit me. Yes, I may not try to dangerously multi-task when it comes to driving my car, thereby putting myself and others at risk of a 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? Well, I sometimes dangerously multi-task to the point where I too am headed for a crash.

God nudged my heart a few years back, after dealing with some stress-related medical conditions that would not go away, that I needed to do a major plate scraping in my life. Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how "good" they may be, can often render women ineffective for service to God. He knows our limits. He understands are capacities. He is willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the waters of busyness and activity that often drown many a woman.

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

Thankfully, God rescued me from the barren life of busyness. And He can do the same for you. He's longing for us to hold our too-full plates up to Him, scrape off all the activities and responsibilities, and then, place back on our plates only the items HE longs for us to possess.
Then, we can create white space in our calendar and places of sweet respite in our days where we can connect with the God of the universe who is just waiting for us to slow down and sit still; to listen and learn from the very Creator of time itself.

So, how about it friend? Rubber spatula ready? Keep reading below and let's 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.

Related Resources:
To discover more on this topic and enter to win an organizational giveaway centered around Karen’s book on time and home management, visit Karen’s blog

The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

A Life that Says Welcome by Karen Ehman

Do You Know Him?

Application Steps:
List on paper all the commitments you have said yes to outside of your job or home responsibilities. Catalog approximately how much time you devote to them each week. Pray about what you discover.

What activities and responsibilities have I said "Yes" to that I know in my heart I shouldn't have?

How can I thin out my optional tasks and duties, freeing up more time for the places where God wants me to focus my efforts?

Power Verses:
Matthew 6:33-34, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (ESV)

Genesis 2:2, "And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done." (ESV)

© 2010 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can sooo relate to this. It is so hard not to say yes to a great cause or a fabulous person who asks for your help on a project. Please Lord let me look to you for guidance and please give me the wisdom to discern what you want me to say yes to. May I always be in your will!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

So timely for today. It is a deception of the advisary to keep our plates so overrun with responsibilities that we often forget the things of God. Thanks for sharing.

Blogger Unknown said...

How beautiful to have "happened" upon this today. Just this morning I cried out that I am running out of time. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great. I am on the brink of adding a new responsibility but maybe I better rethink and pray before I jump in with both feet. It really impacted me when you compared busyness to an enemy. Thank you for letting God speak through you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the encouragement today. Way too often, I wish God would add a few more hours to my day. It's not the hours in the day that are too short, it's the number of activities that will not allow those precious hours to be spent wisely. I have my spatula!!

Anonymous Lani said...

I'm asking you all to pray with me and for me as I'm asking the Lord to help me to better manage my
home and outside activities. This
devotion has helped me to realize that the Lord doesn't want any one of us to try to help everyone. We must be still to hear His voice as to how many offers that come our way we are to accept. Most importantly we must give the best of our day to the Lord. Every offer we accept takes away from our relationship with the Lord. For me, I'm making a change today.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But i trust in you, O LORD; i say, "You are my God." my times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me." Amen thank you for the great devotion karen. bless you my sister for you are doing a great work for the Lord. thank you for the encouragement to do God's will for my life. Not my my will be done but Thine dear Father.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow it has been awesome devotions all this week! Please don't leave us on Sat.& Sun. I am on Fire I know thru P.31 God has been right here with me! Spatula time, yes.PTL :D bp in OR

Blogger Jeanne said...

I seem to multi-task so much in my head that I have trouble getting anything done on my to-do list!...I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, needing to stay focused on one thing at a time as I declutter and purge our home.
Your kit looks awesome!
Thank you for today's devotion. I will share it with my friends!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This can be a struggle for those of us who are workaholics. I found myself in this place starting about 2 years ago. The letting go left me feeling lazy and guilty for not helping in the places where I thought God or friends wanted me to. Add some depression to the mix and I felt mixed up and out of sorts.It's taken me all this time to realize that when you remove those "extra" duties, you must fill the empty time with meaningful time with God. That's how you grow into the new person He wants you to be and organize your life to His will.

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