When you have too much on your plate

restlessWe live in a fast-paced world.

A world that thrives on getting things done as quick as possible.

We run around from one activity to another.

Fill our planners with things to do until there is no time left in our day.

Keep ourselves on a constant treadmill without taking any time to get off for a moment.

Focus on always getting the next thing done.

Live off of our “to do” list.

And we become what I call a “Modern-Day Martha”.

I’m pretty sure you all know who I’m talking about.

Martha Stewart- the First.

She’s the one that was running around her kitchen preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples.

She was the one who was frustrated at her sister Mary who was wasting time sitting at Jesus’ feet when she could have been helping her sister get things done.

And quite honestly, I don’t blame Martha for being a little frustrated.

There were meals to prepare. Hungry stomach’s to fill. How could her sisters just sit there… and do absolutely nothing?

The surprising thing is that when Martha confronts Mary – by asking Jesus to tell her to get up and DO something (smart move Martha) Jesus replies that Mary was doing exactly what she should be at the moment. In fact it was Martha that was in the wrong here.

Jesus told her she was “worried and upset over details”.

I’m sure Jesus was just as hungry as all the other men were. I’m sure he appreciated the fact that Martha was getting the food ready to fill those empty stomachs but what would He have appreciated even more?

If she followed her sisters example and simply sat at His feet.

If she forgot about running around and cooking like she was Martha Stewart but instead took a moment to sit still in His presence.

How often are we just like Martha and we forget to just take a minute to sit still with Jesus?

To put away our to-do list?

To forget about that urgent thing that we need to do next?

Growing up I always thought that being “busy” meant that you were somewhat important.

Whenever friends or family would ask about what I’d be doing it felt good to say I was “busy”. I had meetings to be at. Church services to attend. Bible studies to lead. Friends to catch up with. Fun things to do.

If I wasn’t running around being busy then something was really wrong with me.

But what  I have learned over the years is that when you are too busy to be like Mary and spend time at Jesus’ feet then you are just plain too busy.

Even if what you’re busy with is good. Even if it’s church-related. Even if it’s meeting a need. There should be nothing so important enough that it keeps you away from spending time with Jesus.

You know who is more important than you will ever be?

Who had hundreds of people just waiting to hear a word from Him?

Who had more important things to do than any of us do today?


And you know what Jesus did? He withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Often. (Luke 15:15-16)

God’s Word repeatedly shows Jesus walking away from his disciples and from crowds of people so that He could spend some time alone with God.

Do you know why?

It’s because He understood there was only so much He could accomplish on His own before He needed to be refreshed and renewed by God.

There was only so many days He could spend with the crowds and with His disciples before He needed to spend time with the One that would give Him brand new strength once again.

So why is it that we believe we can neglect spending time with Jesus?

Why is it that praying ends up just being an afterthought at the end of the day after we already checked off everything on our to do list instead of the first things we make time for in the morning?

Why is it that we think serving Jesus is more important than sitting at His feet?

See, Martha wasn’t serving just anyone. She was serving Jesus himself. I could see why she was confused by His answer. If she was preparing food for someone else and Jesus was there it would have made sense for her to take a break at His feet, but this was after all, for Him. So shouldn’t she have just kept on going?

I think that’s a problem I face often when it comes to ministry.

I forget that in the midst of all my “serving” in one way or another I forget to do the most important thing that Jesus tells us to: spend time with Him.

I put off praying for church activities and I say “Oh God, I know I’m too busy to spend time with you but it’s only because I’m doing things for you” just like Martha would have said “Oh God, I’m too busy making food for you to spend time sitting at your feet”, and often times I hear Jesus saying back “Anna, I don’t want you to DO one more thing for me. I want you to just sit at my feet. I want you to listen to my voice. I want you to rest from all your running around, I just want you, not all the things you do”.

And He wants to say the same thing to you.

It’s time to stop and remember to do what’s best.

It’s time to drop all of those important things that keep you so busy from dawn until night.

If you’re a mother running around the kitchen making food fit for a king, maybe tonight those dishes can wait just a little while, and you can find some time to sit at His feet.

If you’re a business man constantly checking your email updates and planning for that next meeting, maybe tonight replying to that one last email or setting up one more meeting can wait, and maybe you can just sit at Jesus’ feet instead.

If you’re a ministry worker and you have that next sermon or lesson to prepare, that next meeting to plan, the next song to practice maybe you can just set down your materials for just a few moments, and spend some time with Jesus instead.

It really doesn’t matter who you are or what you do.

You need a break.

A break from the busyness of life.

A break from all the running around.

A break from all your important tasks.

Maybe what you really need is not one more item checked off your list, but one more minute spent in front of Jesus.

Not one more meeting to attend, but a one-on-one meeting with Jesus.

Not one more e-mail to respond to, but one more prayer to send to heaven.

Tonight… put those dishes down, log out of your email, turn off your cell phone, stop the running around and fall into the arms of Jesus.

He is waiting for you to come.

Waiting to renew you .

Waiting to give you new strength.

Waiting to remind you of what this life is all about.

Today, be restless no more. Make some time to sit at the feet of Jesus. Show Him that He is more important than everything on your to-do list. Be blessed! -Anna… ♥

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”- Isaiah 40:31

rest in jesusRelated Posts:

instead1in-a-gentle-whisperthirty-minutes1Image creator unknown. Please respond if you know the author so credit can be given.

40 thoughts on “When you have too much on your plate

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  3. Some excellent points, thanks! This has been one of my favorite Scripture passages for years. I’m pretty sure ‘Martha’ is my Hebrew name because whenever I read Luke 10:41 I feel like Jesus is talking directly to me.


  4. I often struggle to find the balance between “doing” and “being.” It is hard when what I’m keeping “busy” with are things that, if I wasn’t doing them, I’d feel like a poor steward of what God’s entrusted me with. However, I think for me it’s really in just learning to manage my time well, so I don’t feel there needs to always be a competition between the doing and being, because often times, the doing is part of the being.

    Great post. It really got me thinking!


    • Yeah… I definitely have the same struggle. It’s especially hard when you are involved in ministry and that’s where most of your “busyness” takes place. It’s all about time management and balance at the end because you are right, often times the doing is part of the being. Still, we need to step away from the doing sometimes to be alone with God. No time spent in church can replace the intimacy and one-on-one time with God that we will always need.


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  6. Beautifully said. And if you get into the habit of getting away with the Lord in your single days, it will be easier to maintain in the chaos years of marriage and babies. Trying to establish the discipline of relaxing at His feet (seems contradictory, yes?) is hard in the midst of those years. You are a wise young woman, Anna!


    • Thanks Rebeca. Having that regular one-on-one time withe Jesus is definitely a great habit to build in the single years. Life only gets busier once you’re married and when the habit of sitting at Jesus’ feet is already an established routine and priority in your life it’s much easier to continue doing during every season of life!


  7. This is so good, and so needed! Thank you for such an important reminder – the most important to-do! I needed exactly this today…and am excited just at the thought of how refreshing it is to fall back, relax and spend time with Him…the One who restores! It’s so amazing to know He simply wants us…not what we “can do for Him”…but just to be with Him. Thank you! I will be sharing!


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  9. Oh Anna, this post was so timely! I have it so your posts come straight to my email box. I was reading some emails, thinking about my to-do list, the busy day tomorrow and then I saw the email for this post. Super encouraging and thought-provoking! God’s Providence is so amazing, never ceasing to amaze me. Thanks Anna!


    • That’s great Hannah! I think it could be “timely” for almost anyone. We are all so busy with our schedules and our lives! I’m glad it encouraged you yesterday and reminded you to stop and set aside some time with Jesus 🙂 (we can never have too much of that in our lives). Blessings to you!


  10. Anna-the Bible verse you used at the end is one of my favorites and made me think of this song you might enjoy next time you spend time at Jesus’ feet, it’s called, He Will Give The Weary Strength.

    This was needed today-thank you! May He bless you!


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