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    How Do I "Do it All?"

    March 18, 2013

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    I’ve spent a lot of time pondering why many of us are too busy. I devoted two chapters in my book listing the reasons we do so much. But lately I’ve come to realize some of my assessment of people’s hyperactivity has been uninformed and unfair; there’s another, more noble reason some of us over-commit and over-do: there is simply no one else willing to do what needs to be done. At least, not in plain view.

    Even though I’m presently trying to juggle being a wife, mother, homeschooler, housekeeper, minister, speaker and writer, I am also extremely tempted to take someone into our home for the simple reason that she has no place to go. Even though my husband and children are 100% on board with it, I know for a fact this would raise some eyebrows, shake some heads and wag some tongues. I can hardly blame anyone for feeling I need to have my brain extracted and rewired.

    I am holding back on this decision because I’m aware that my heart can easily rush beyond my head when it comes to rescue. My heart reasons, if I came across an abandoned baby on the road, would I leave it there? How is this situation any different? (It’s not.) My mind answers back, Don’t even think about it. This is a high maintenance case; your life will fall apart. I keep telling myself to listen, as sometimes I am right about things.

    I don’t know what our family is going to do with the situation before us, one we can’t just walk away from and pretend isn’t there. But I do wonder if there are two kinds of people in this imbalanced world: those who do too much, and those who do too little. And when it comes to the church, if more of us would turn our scripture quoting and Bible toting into James 1:27-action and actively care for orphans and widows, maybe there would be more solutions for people like the one my heart can’t let go of. Maybe MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups wouldn’t stress so much over finding childcare volunteers, and church nurseries and Sunday Schools would see more than the same few willing faces every Sunday. Maybe more homeless people would get hot showers and meals, and more troubled teens would find the love and acceptance they so desperately need from foster parents. More orphans would be adopted, more lonely neighbors invited to dinner and more elderly treated with the dignity of family care in their waning years.

    I am a well-intended hypocrite. I type these words while a world cries “more,” knowing I’m giving less than I could and should. I give too much time where it’s not needed and not enough where it is. I want to do better, to be better. 

    I often hear, “How do you do it all?” As someone else wisely answered the same question, “I don’t.” I say “no” a lot. And for what little I do, I get lots of sleep, eat well, exercise and saturate my hours in prayer. I absolutely depend on God to keep from unraveling. That second-paragraph list of things I am and things I do? It’s not a brag list. I selfishly wish I could settle into my comfort zone and be “just a mom,” fully living out my homebody self. But it’s not my life to live. I know God will keep giving me the grace to stay in balance, and do His will joyfully.

    What about you? How do you “do it all?” Where should you say “no” and where can you say “yes?”

    (Update 3/25/13: The situation resolved itself and there is no longer a need to consider a live-in arrangement. I am relieved and at peace, and thankful to God for working it out.)

    8 thoughts on “How Do I "Do it All?"

    1. Such an excellent question. I wish I had the answer. My husband, four kids, and I were faced three brown-eyed little sisters five years ago. Do we take them into our family or trust that God has a different plan? Would we be rescuing or enabling the adults in the situation? Our answer came in process. God’s work in our hearts as individuals and as a whole. We said, “Yes.” Laying down the American Dream for God’s dream doesn’t always go smoothly. It’s been a wilderness journey at times, and I’ve been the chief of complainers. And I still sometimes question whether we enabled, yet when all three girls came to me, in their own way, and thanked me for giving them a home, I know we made the right choice. But it hasn’t come without a cost. I don’t think God’s plans are ever without a cost, to this life anyway.

    2. Faith Bogdan says:

      I appreciate your thoughts, Carolyn! In the end (in eternity, which is really the beginning)it will be worth it all! And did I meet you at a writers’ conference years ago??

    3. Carla Anne says:

      I hear you. This is my life as well. I can list off all the things I do and am, and yet there are still so many that clamour for attention. We did bring in a homeless single a mom of four for many months. But it was because God directed us to. It was challenging yet amazing.

      There are so many things I could still say yes to… but I keep being reminded by Scripture that there are some things I should NOT be doing, and some things I had better make sure I do. I need to do those things God calls me to because that’s where obedience and reward is. But I also need to make sure I DON’T do things God hasn’t asked me to. those things are a waste of my energy and I’m actually removing the option of obedience from someone else.

      But you ask a good question… are some simply doing too little. And I think yes. Some are likely created by God and for whom God has created “in advance” many good things for them to do. And others likely created by God with less thing prepared in advance for them to do.

      But some are doing too much and some nothing at all.

      I have to remember though, that I answer to God… and of all the things I do, the only one that will count for anything is when I say yes in obedience to Christ. Any ‘yes’ I give that is out of my fear that no one else will do it, or out of obligation, or out of the fact that I simply can… is no benefit to me or anyone else.

      It’s hard to remember this. But because of that, I can say, I don’t do it all. To some it may seem like it, but really, there’s a lot more I don’t do.

    4. Faith Bogdan says:

      Good words, Carla. I get most tempted to say “yes” because “someone’s gotta.” Yet I still think there’s a place for that. The Bible is filled with accounts of people just doing what needed to be done. Thank God for divine guidance for each situation though!

    5. Diane says:

      I ‘m on the opposite end of this, Faith. I have to say no so much because of round the clock Jon care that sometimes I feel guilty for not doing enough elsewhere. Here’s what I know, the enemy of our soul loves it when we are overwhelmed with busyness and/or guilt. Either one gets our focus off Jesus and what makes us efficient and purposeful today.This is a human struggle and only the Spirit of God can guide us into that balance.

    6. Faith Bogdan says:

      So true, Diane! Busyness and guilt really are two of Satan’s best tactics. And I hope and pray more “do-ers” of the Word will show up and minister to you by giving you a much-needed break. What’s not to love about picnicking all day in the garage with a funny kid? 😉

    7. Amanda Basabakwinshi says:

      My grandmother had close to 50foster children in her home. Recently, I asked her how she started doing that and and why. Her response was so simple, “I saw that there was something that needed to be done and I did it.” She didn’t go and sign up to be a foster parent, she saw a notice in the church bulletin about a young boy needing a temporary home. From there, more “needs” were placed in front of her. She did not have any deep analysis of the situation or questions of how and why. My grandparents were not well off and they had 9 children of their own, but they did this anyway. People won’t just remember her life, they will remember her legacy. She is still living a long life of obedience in the same direction and her children (and grandchildren and great grandchildren)call her blessed.

    8. Faith Bogdan says:

      I love that, Amanda! Thank you for sharing. The world needs more people like your grandmother to rise up and do what they are called to do!

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