When Life is Too Loud for Quiet Time

REMINDER: Don’t forget the free conference call next Monday night, April 30th, at 8 pm EST. I’m offering it as a wrap up discussion on our online hospitality series. It will include me yakking some and then Q & A and idea sharing. Can’t wait! Details for the call will be posted next Monday. Mark your calendar now :-)

Ever lay in bed and think about the week to come with dread, not delight?

Oh, not because of a tragedy or sadness, but just because of all you have on your plate. When you think of your tasks and responsibilities and then do a quick mental check of the time you have in which to do them, well, the ole’ freak-o-meter goes haywire.

I was there last night, sisters.

Although I am super intentional to try not to take on more than I should, I over-estimate how much my plate can handle at times. Or, I take on good things for bad reasons.

Then, the good crowds out the best—time alone with God each day.

My life gets so loud that I can no longer find the quiet.

Let’s talk about this a bit this week & see if you can relate. For a few days, we’ll look at reasons. Then, we’ll look at solutions.

Why do we let life get too crowded?

Reason # 1:

We under-estimate the time needed to do a task.

Sounds simple when the committee chair says, “Can you make 2 dozen cookies for the church/school/campaign events?” But we might not realize that they day they are needed, we’ll find ourselves pulled in 14 different directions and then, instead of joyfully whipping up a batch with a smile on our face, we swing by the store and begrudgingly purchase some fancy, looks-like-they-were-homemade cookies and curse the day we ever answered the stinkin’ phone when the committee chair called!

When asked to be in charge of a small project, we might guess it will take us an hour or two. Sometimes it takes us an hour a two a day for a week instead!

Or, we don’t take into account the schedules of our hubby or kids when we say “Yes” to the task or “Sure” to the responsibility. Then, when we are fulfilling the duty for which we signed up, we are neglecting our family in order to do it!

We women have what I call the curse of capability. We are so capable at multi-tasking that, when asked to take on another responsibility, we don’t actually remove anything from our over-crowded plate. We are just so sure we are such whizzes at multi-tasking, that if we just rearrange everything, somehow we can make it all fit.

Okay- that is reason number one.

Tomorrow, number two.

In the mean time, what about you? Do you take on too much due to a wrong estimation of the time it will take to follow through?


  1. I think I may be opposite of this. I realize the time commitment for responsibilities and don’t take on much at because I value the time I’m with my husband and young sons. I’m a full time working mom and so time is precious with them. However I’m challenged to start working in more responsibilities so I can be a model to my children of giving of your time to others.

  2. This is a huge part of why I went into depression 7 years ago. I was known to my friends, co-workers, and family as the “go-to” girl or “Kim Can Do It”. I would tackle any task, small or large, and would do WHATEVER it took to accomplish it – even it be going to work at 2 am so that it was completed by 8 am. Oh, and by the way, I was the administrative assistant at my church of close to 1,000 members. I was the ONLY office person there and I managed to do that job, plus run my daughter to all of her activities, run my son to and from his work, take care of my home, and all the other things that go into being a family. I started to not be able to accomplish things and it left me feeling like a failure. I was no longer reliable. That thought alone broke me because I was ALWAYS reliable – I never failed anyone. It was a long, dark journey, but the lessons have been learned, I am healing everyday and am doing my best to only take on the jobs that God has for me that day.

  3. Last week life happened to me. My daughter-in-law was in terrible pain and to make a long story short she has been in the hospital since last Thursday. Today they did surgery. My two grandchildren needed to be taken care of so grandma to the rescue. I just got a new job and had a plate full that had to be put aside. I am praying for a full and speedy recovery for my daughter-in-law and I am grateful for understanding employers. I am most grateful for the time that I have gotten to spend with my dear grandchildren. I would have preferred that my daughter-in-law not have to go through what she has been through but I know that God is moving in the midst of this situation.

  4. I overextended myself “BIG TIME” when I volunteered to be a host family for a Norwegian exchange student. I didn’t realize that not only would I have an extra child in the house, I would also add a teenager! Since our children are 5, 11, and 13 I underestimated the amount of time a teenager requires with social events and sports practices, and games. I wanted to give her the best experience possible, but felt I was cutting my own family short. Lesson learned: We will not host another exchange student until my children are able to drive!

  5. Have you been peeking into my brain . . . or my calendar? Welcome this series, as I am kicking myself for saying YES to yet ANOTHER very important committee for our church. First meeting tonight – I haven’t seen my sweetie for 3 days – and here’s another, “Sorry honey, got church tonight, chicken in the crock pot – see you later.” evening. I can say “NO” everywhere except Church and Church makes me feel the most guilty, and takes away the most time from my family. I do not like accusing my church of generating the “guilties” – why is this happening? This series should be eye-opening for me.

  6. I arrived at a planning meeting for the community choir in which I sing yesterday afternoon feeling as though I really had nothing to share. Within minutes, I had volunteered to chair the new membership committee, and I have no idea how much time this will take. This comes on the heels of recently chairing our silent auction, which took monumentally more hours than I had predicted. I guess I will never learn.

  7. It seems I used to move faster… I used to could get things done quicker and I was able to take on more because it took less time… It just seems the older I get, certain tasks just take more time to complete. Just Blessed to be able to still do them at all! : )

  8. I struggle with leaving enough time for transitioning from one thing to the next or leaving time for the unexpected (kid needs to go to the bathroom or neighbor stops you in driveway to talk). I have learned that I need to put in Margins! Margins allow me enough time that I do not get stressed or blow up (inside or even worst, at the kids) when I run into an old friend at the grocery store or the phone rings or someone rings the doorbell. I look forward to this week.

  9. This is something I think all women struggle with. As you stated, we think we can handle ONE more task on our plates! It has taken me YEARS, but I am slowly finding myself saying “no” to more things. He has also reminded me that sometimes I might be robbing someone else of a blessing by trying to do everything.; thereby not giving them the opportunity to serve. I have to find balance by staying close to the lord. Knowing that we are not alone in our daily struggles is a great encouragement for each of us. Look forward to the rest of this study. May you be richly blessed for sharing your heart.

  10. very very true! I will stretch myself way too thin and then I get stressed out and everything suffers. I do this over and over and I am not sure why. I always say I won’t do it again but then I do. I so have to work on this!!!!

  11. YES!!! I often take on a lot of things and I have it figured out time wise how to get it all accomplished, but I underestimate my abilities to schedule times and then I worry about it. Most of the times it works out, but I have been crabby about it because I have been worried about finishing on time. As a “Stay at home mom” I often think that I have to have a reason to say no. An elderly woman recently asked me to drive her to a Dr.’s appointment, I had had a busy week and really just wanted 1 day at home to play catch up, but how could I graciously say no? You guessed it, I didn’t, but it made me focus on some tasks and just get it done. So how do you graciously say no without the guilt?

  12. Yes, yes, yes a million times over!!! I make my husband so upset for trying to do “too much of a good thing without allowing enough time!!” I am leaning, slowly but surely to calcualte any time needed in transport, etc.

  13. Long ago, I too, was a Mom-who-did-too-much. Now, my first response to any request is “let me think about that” or “let me check my calendar”. That way, both of us have time to reflect! It’s way better than having a melt-down. If the person is in a hurry, I always say no immediately!

  14. ALL THE TIME!!!!! I have been working on giving things up and NOT taking more on. Some days are easier than others, and some people are easier to say “no” to. As with all things I am a work in progress ;)

  15. I would sometimes take on too much on my plate because I wanted people to be happy with me, especially at church. I really wanted people to like me and I thought the wy to do that was to volunteer for everything. Well, it was definitely the wrong motive, because I wasn’t doing it out of joy for serving God. I still like to serve…definitely, but I’m much more careful with how I spend my time :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  16. For years I suffered from the CSNHTHELMS! (can’t say no, have to have everybody love me syndrome). It has taken me many years to finally reach the point where I am able to give myself permission to say, “No, I’m sorry but I cannot help this time.” And I am able to walk away or hang up the phone and think, “I am still a good person, and people are free to love me (or not) based upon who I am not what I can do for them. God certainly does!” I have limited myself to “one job, only” at church in order to do that task well and to be able to have order in my life, not panic and discord. I am not superwoman, and I am comfortable with that realization, at long last. :)

  17. I am THE QUEEN of not accurately judging how long something will take. I’m chronically late – mostly because of this – which drives my husband crazy. And at heart i’m a very organized person, but I easily get overwhelmed with my to-do list (life being too loud, as you said, Karen!) and so I shut down and nothing gets done. Then I’m even more behind. I’ts hard to remember that the time alone with God is absolutely necessary to get any of the other stuff done. Especially if there is spiritual warfare at work – like some of those unexpected thing mentioned by other ladies in their comments. I often wonder what is God allowing interruptions in my schedule for HIS purposes, and what is the enemy trying to distract me and frustrate me. Either way, I can do nothing on my own, but “all things through Christ who gives me strength”!

  18. Saying ‘yes’ to a little thing and then realizing it’s on the busiest day of the week or during the busiest week of the year – oh yes, I am VERY familiar with that! As a “stay-at-home-mom” I have that nagging voice in the back of my head telling me I should volunteer for more things; I mean, there’s plenty of working moms who do as much or more than I do! But, I have learned NOT to compare myself to these seemingly super-women. We are all super women in our own right, anyway! I do, however, find myself in panic mode quite often – not because of what I have taken on, but because of the schedules put on me! With 2 kids in 1 sport each, church obligations, school, friends, trying to see out of town family ,etc., I find I have very little free time throughout the year. On a daily basis, I try to carve out ‘quiet time’, even if it means leaving the dishes or laundry wait. I would never be able to do everything if I didn’t!

  19. So true! This is something that I’ve always been really intentional about as well, but still have those moments of being overcommitted just like this.

  20. Rachel {above} sent me here and let me tell you – I’m glad she did. This post was excellent and was a much needed reminder to my very busy heart. I need to be intentional. Focused.
    Bless you!

  21. Dear Karen,

    This is always a problem for me that things take much longer than I thought they would. But it is my personal feeling that I would never start if I knew the cost so sometimes I’m better off not knowing ;)


  22. I am sitting here right now wondering to myself how I am ever going to get the things done this week that I have committed to doing. Then during the week several unexpected things will demand my attention too. I can’t wait to read the next post

  23. You just summed up the answer to nearly every problem I have! I always plan to do WAY more than I have time for! I never take into account that my 5 yr old will wake me up at 3 am sick and will keep me up and then I will need a nap and nothing on my list will actually get done at all because I will be TOO tired!

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