Suffocated 150 150 JJ Landis

Do you ever get too caught up in your busy life?

Recently, I emerged from a season of busyness, ridiculously frenetic activity that was more like treading water to stay alive than swimming toward a goal.

When I finally reached the shore and was able to take a breath and rest, I saw chaos. Pieces of good deeds were in a scattered mess at my feet. Blank journal pages screamed volumes in their empty good intentions. My bed was unmade and there were too-high weeds in my front yard. My Bible was covered in dust. My kids’ eyes were bleeding from excessive Minecraft playing. My husband was at the kitchen table rocking back and forth with a fork in his hand weeping over an empty dinner plate.

All these casualties came from my flailing busyness, from my unstructured time and mind.

Everything and everybody but myself had been ignored.

Usually when I wake up from one of these seasons, I feel dirty, covered with the stink of selfishness.

My problem is not that I take on too many responsibilities. I’m not plagued with the disease from which some women suffer – I don’t sign up for committees and volunteer to supply the bake sale with cupcakes. No.

My issue is that I want to do something so I flit from thing to thing. My lack of focus is my fault.

I have too many hobbies, want to do too many things. All are good. I want to write this and this and this and this. I want to read this and this and this. I want to teach my kids this and work on this with my husband and do this exercise routine and do this to my house and go here on vacation and invest in this and this charity and invite this family and that family over for dinner.

As a result, my mind spins a million miles an hour all the time while I accomplish absolutely nothing. I don’t stop to think to narrow down my dreams into bitable chunks. I get suffocated by my great ideas.

I lose my sight, my grip, my hope.

I didn’t write about this craze when I was recovering a few weeks back. I wanted to wait until I had a lesson or plan for healing for you.

Here is my lesson: Stop. Just stop.

You were made to worship God. That is your first call. You were also made to love others. That starts with your family. Stop there for today. Just love someone near you.

If you can’t slow your mind down (like I couldn’t), just stop what you’re doing right now and pray for God’s peace to be with you and help you focus. (Really, right now!)

Stand up and put down the phone or walk away from the computer and look outside. Take a few breaths. Find a family member in your house and go hug him or her. Or find another person to look in the eyes and ask how things are. Take another breath and listen.

“All my deeds and my good name are just dirty rags that tear and strain to cover all my guilty stains that you already washed away.”

“I was chasing healing when I’d been made well. I was fighting battles when you conquered hell. Living free but from a prison cell. Lord, I lay it down today.” (Casting Crowns)


JJ Landis

JJ Landis is the author of "Some Things You Keep." She is a librarian in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and three children. She blogs about parenting, marriage, and getting through the day at

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