Doing Less and Enjoying it More

Christmas is my favorite time of year. But all the opportunities can overwhelm us if we try to do too much or put unreasonable expectations on ourselves or others. Doing too much can leave us empty instead of full. This week I’m enjoying some time off with my daughter so I’m resurrecting a former post that addresses the benefits of doing less.

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Are you doing more and enjoying it less? Growing up, I often heard, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” It took me a while to realize the devil also uses busyness to steal and destroy.

When Larry and I were raising our children it was easy to let others’ demands determine how we spent our time instead of carefully protecting our schedule. The fear of missing out, disappointing someone, not doing my share, or depriving our kids taunted me when I tried to cut back.

One night after sharing a new opportunity I was considering, Larry gently said, “When you are over-committed the whole family suffers.” Internally, I balked. If I could fit it in my calendar, why wouldn’t it work in life? But inside I knew he was right.

Life and relationships take time. We need to be still to tap into the deeper issues of the soul.

That became clearer one night after Larry and I enjoyed some meaningful conversation. I realized how distractions had robbed me of companionship with my best friend. It wasn’t that we didn’t spend time together, but I was often pulled by what needed to be done.

We decided to limit our family's activities. Choosing less helped us choose better. Share on X

We enjoyed life and each other more. We lingered over more meals instead of swallowing them whole. Our lives weren’t perfect. I still heard myself telling our children to “hurry up” way too much, but it helped.

New Testament Martha had the same problem. “She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ 

“But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her'” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV).

Everyday we choose between meaningful activities and a life stretched thin. Time spent connecting with God, my spouse, children, and friends is time well spent. Saying “no” to the non-essentials is saying “yes” to what matters most.

Question: What helps you slow down and drink deeply from the well of life? If you’ve found a way that has enriched your life and helped you unplug a little while from the madness, please share it.

Click here to comment.

Blessings,

Sometimes I link up with these great sites:

#Teaching What Is Good#w2wwordfilledwednesday, #Wedded Wednesday, #Women with Intention, #HeartEncouragement, #LivefreeThursday#Thankful Thursdays#Grace and Truth, #Dance with Jesus, #Word of God

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Pat

    Yes, Debbie….it is so “unburdening” to learn that —less is more— thanks for sharing. Pat

  2. Dee

    Several years ago when I was trying to do it all and thought saying “no” was a sin, a dear sweet older lady told me one day “Dee, every morning when you get out of bed, look in the mirror and say no,no,no,-then when someone asks you to do one more thing=say I already said no 3times today.-never tried it, but it sounded like a good idea.

  3. CJ

    Perfect! Thanks Debbie.

  4. janis

    Years ago, the Lord spoke to me and said if I would do less He would use me more. I found that if I had fewer commitments and more free time, I was more available to the Holy Spirit. I could hear Him better and actually do the things He was telling me to do. I still struggle though when asked to do things. A phrase that came to my mind one day was, “I would love to say, “yes”, but I need to say “no,” as a response to being asked to do something I did not feel God wanted me to do.

    This is a life-long battle as the devil wants us overloaded with good stuff so we will miss God’s best!

    I am looking forward to your next essay on the topic! God bless you!

  5. Geneva

    Debbie,
    This is very timely. I am about to get rid of some of the good stuff on my plate and am concerned that I will replace it with more “good” stuff. I know I need to have time to work on my relationships with my husband, safe people and most importantly, God.
    Keep reminding me that more isn’t always better.
    God bless you and Larry.
    Janis, Thanks giving a good example of how to say no. I may use it soon.

  6. Melissa Henderson

    This morning, I have been very stressed about some things happening in my life. However, as I remembered to stop and pray to God, a feeling of peace came over me. He was waiting for me to go to Him. 🙂 I am thankful for His mercies and His love.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Melissa! Many blessings to you.

  7. Pam Ecrement

    So glad you are enjoying this week with your daughter! What a good decision! I, too, am sharing some previous posts this month to gain some breathing space. The past 6 months seem to have been non-stop. Our children and grandchildren will all be home for a short Christmas visit and I don’t want them to find me frazzled when they arrive and I very much do not want to be unable to enjoy their visit.

    Blessings and love to you, my friend!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Pam, your life has been full. Have a wonderful time with your family. Love to you too!

  8. Dawn Wilson

    Helpful post. I shared on FB. Love this: “Choosing less helped us choose better.” I’m all about choices, so that makes so much sense to me. I’ve been paring down all parts of my life the last two years, so paring down Christmas activities? Yes!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Dawn, I realized fear of missing out is still fear and not a good motive. My husband has helped me with this on vacations too. I don’t have to see everything to have a great trip. Have a wonderful Christmas filled with the essentials and free of the distractors.

  9. Heather

    Yes, yes, yes!! This is a lesson God brings me back to time and again. I get so busy doing that I for get to be living. Thanks for reminding me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Heather!

  10. Beth

    Such a powerful reminder, Debbie! Thanks for pulling it back out from the vault, since it’s such an area of distraction at this time of year. Speaking of making choices, I’m almost certain I won’t be doing much or any Christmas decorating this year. My family is all converging near Knoxville for Christmas, so why bother with all the decorating. Though I miss the glitter and the fun of putting it up, it’s so time consuming! And what do I do to sloe my pace and drink in deep? I keep my appointment with the Lord each morning. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t, Debbie! I can’t imagine how people make it without drinking deep of God’s word and presence each day. It’s a must have for me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Beth! Time connecting with the Lord centers me when I’m threatening to fly off into another orbit. Our daughter did our tree this year and that was a big help! And I’m glad Trader Joes and Whole Foods have good baked goods near by when I don’t want to spend my time baking. 🙂

  11. Laura Hicks

    Great post Debbie! This ->>> “It took me a while to realize the devil also uses busyness to steal and destroy.” So true. I’m spending more time this season journaling and spending time with the Lord so I’m filled up and ready to give.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Laura, what a difference it makes when we do. Enjoy a blessed and holy holiday!

  12. ohmummymia

    lovely post! I’m glad that you make me start thinking about my life and that more doesn’t mean better. Thanks

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, learn from my mistakes. 🙂

  13. Ann

    Perfect reminder for this time of year. I hate to admit I am way more “Martha” than “Mary” but I’m aware of my tendencies and working on it. On Saturday my son told me he would have to be in the office in the city 4 days this week (he usually works from home 4 days a week) and his mother in law who lives close by couldn’t stop by to help his wife with the new baby because she was getting over being sick and asked if I could come for a few days. Believe me any opportunity with that little doll is one I won’t pass up – but I had to stop and think about what I had planned to do this week since Christmas is fast approaching. I am so happy I put those things on the back burner and just spent 2-1/2 wonderful days snuggling that baby and giving my son peace of mind and a helping hand to my daughter in law. Thank you for reminding us what is really important.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, that is a perfect example. Your grandchild probably won’t be that willing to snuggle next year like now. I’m sure you’ll always remember that special time.

  14. Ruth

    It’s true that we enjoy life better when we take the time to listen to and commune with those we love, including God, of course.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Ruth!

  15. BettieG

    Dear Debbie, Thank you for sharing these good words for this busy time of year. It’s so important to be able to slow down so that we can see more clearly the gifts that HE has planned for us! I’m learning that slow and still can be beautiful, when we are resting in Him. Blessed to be your neighbor this week over at #LiveFree!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, BettieG!

  16. Carmen

    This is all so true. I was the same way and my husband also told me the same thing that yours told you. Whenever I planned too much, everyone in the house the pressure of rushing and getting things done. When he told me that I made a commitment to calm down. I do not host parties as much and now that I have gone through a whole year of calming down, I get a lot of people come up to me throughout the past few seasons asking why they haven’t heard the date for our annual Opening Football Season Party, or our annual 4th of July Party, or our annual Harvest Party or our annual memorial weekend pool party. I loved doing all those things with our families and church family, I felt like it was a ministry in me, bringing everyone to fellowship but taking it all down a notch has seriously helped me become a healthier person emotionally and spiritually. I am not so consumed making the party to fit other people preferences or making the house look just right, or stressing my husband about more costs of another gathering. I am now slowly getting back into the parties but less frequent and more simple. I think that time apart from it made me realize what was the most important factor of it, the fellowship, and that’s all that really matters!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Carmen, thank you for sharing your experience. I think we have seasons of rest and activity. We still need balance in the active time. Sometimes time away provides the perspective we need to engage again in a batter way. It sounds like that is what you’ve found. Many blessings to you.

  17. Karen Del Tatto

    Debbie, Amen!

    I find as I get older that I am more intentional about living in the moment. Truly savoring every moment.

    I admit that I have been doing a lot of running around this December and it is only the 9th! Tomorrow we leave on a roadtrip to New Jersey for a marathon weekend. It will be wonderful to spend time with family for sure! But today, I am feeling fatigued. So instead of doing my usual pre-vacation cleaning, I’ve decided to take it easy today; to spend time with the Lord and to enjoy my tree and some Christmas music. I will be a much better Karen for my family if I do that today. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Good for you, Karen! I’m cheering for your wisdom.

  18. Sue

    I absolutely agree with:The devil also uses busyness to steal and destroy. Even in the world of blogging, tho you are trying your best to use your time wisely, sometimes we get consumed in the blog, and not on Gods word- which I am guilty of. I have tried my best to get past that these days, but still work in progress! Your sister sue visiting from grace and truth!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sue, I agree. Even good things become detrimental when overdone. Blessings.

  19. Lori

    I needed this reminder, Debbie. I’ve been so busy helping a friend get her blogging community started on top of my own blogging and it hurts the things that are important. Thank you for all your kind words on my blog. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lori. Many blessings for Christmas and the New Year!

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