Why You Can't Do Everything

I've been feeling stretched thin lately.

If there's one thing you should know about me it's that I have a hard time saying no. I like people, I like helping them and I also like people to like me. On top of all of this, I like a lot of stuff. I'm passionate about just about everything with exceptions to professional wrestling and bug collecting... but, yes, everything else...and I bet I could get really into bug collecting if I tried. Not wrestling...well maybe.

I digress.

Over and over again throughout this past week, the ideas of simplifying and focusing-in have popped up as themes.

Every time I'd turn on the radio it seemed like someone had just called in seconds before to share a word on finding one's calling and not becoming distracted. Songs upon songs, messages, devotionals and that annoying little voice in my head who I tend to attribute to the Holy Spirit (Read: annoying because He is usually nudging convicting me of things I'd rather ignore) each pointed to this same idea:
I am busy and I am actively distracting myself from what God has for me to do here and now.

The past few weeks I've had something on my calendar after work each and every day, sometimes more than one thing per night. Strategically stuffed, my calendar looks a lot like that closet in your house who's door you slowly open (or don't open) so as not to upset the haphazard chaos long as it all fits and the door closes, right?

Sunday's sermon at my church involved an emphasis on margin and its relation to being teachable. If we lack margin, our pastor said, we lack capacity to learn and be humbled. In time, this lack of capacity and margin translates to distraction and distraction works to keep us tangled in everything but what we are called to do.

Think about it.

A high school athlete, more often than not, cannot be both a basketball star and swim star in the same season. Although he/she may excel in each sport, and somehow make every game and meet, he/she will not be able to attend each and every practice held at the very same time on the very same day. And with every missed practice for one sport or the other, he/she limits his/her ability to grow and reach their full potential in either sport.

The same is true for each of us, athletic or not.

We cannot do everything. 

We cannot succeed at everything.

We cannot continue living our lives distracting ourselves from the fact that we believe ourselves to be our own God.

I think so often, because I don't know what it is that I'm called to, or even what I really really like to do, I create almost contingency plans for myself by just choosing to do everything that seems right or good or true "just in case" because I'm afraid that choosing one group/hobby/church/activity/class over another will somehow cause me to "miss it" or "mess up".

We don't have that kind of power.

My fixation on not "missing it" or "messing it up" has brought me to a place where I am trying to do everything and be the very best at it all because deep down I do not trust that the right thing, at the right time can fall into place without my "divine" acts of will.

We need to specialize. We need to focus in. Instead of spreading ourselves so thin that we're only half good (or not good at all) at a lot of things, we need to center our attention on the areas of our lives where we sense the deepest need, nudge or call to continue to grow and give back.

There are so many things that I want to do and accomplish this year. So many things that are good and wonderful and God-honoring.

And yet, "good" does not equal "right".

Sometimes we need to give up doing good things because they ultimately distract us from the right things.

What is the Lord calling you to give up? How could you create more margin in your life so that you can begin to grow in teachability, sensitivity and openness to what or where the Lord is calling you?

Although I tend to pack my schedule to the brim, some of you may struggle to add things. This is just the opposite side of the same coin.

For you, where are you being nudged to give of yourself, your time or your energy? How can you safeguard yourself from locking yourself away and be more open to saying yes?

To margin,


  1. Good advice Steph! I tend to fill up my calendar with things to distract myself from my thoughts and ignore them. Not healthy! Looking forward to your next post! God bless, Ella xx

    1. Thanks for your encouragement and comments, Ella!!

  2. Yes, I love this! And I so resonate with it. My schedule is always filled to the brim and even though I enjoy being active, busy and involved, I sometimes have a nagging sense that something's off. "Busy" doesn't determine my worth - and choosing to let go is so important (but hard!).

    1. "busy doesn't determine my worth"---yes!!! Preach sister! Love you, S