Conquering Overwhelm

Does your to-do list fill up faster than the Target parking lot on Black Friday?

All of a sudden, mine is overflowing. Deadlines for writing projects loom near. Laundry piles have created an obstacle course in the basement. The refrigerator is void of all sustenance, save condiments and pickles. The notification badges on phone are blinking angrily.

So many demands on my time.

You, too?

It’s not just the volume of the tasks, is it? Most of the important assignments we take on are behemoth in size and voluminous in time commitment.

  • Raising children.
  • Writing a book.
  • Creating a home.
  • Completing a degree.
  • Enriching relationships.
  • Starting a business.

It can be overwhelming and exhausting. Hope wanes when progress is slow. Mundane daily tasks suck our time and energy, leaving little left for ourselves.

Three things will stave off overwhelm and help keep you balanced.

Give yourself permission to rest.

Trust me when I say, even over-achievers need rest. You need to build margin into your life to be present with yourself, with God, and with your people. Whatever quiet time looks like for you, incorporate it into your week.

Take a nap. Read a book. Walk through a garden.

What would restore and refresh you from your daily grind and heavy load?

Remember to play.

My friend, Cherie Turlington, says men never forget how to play – the toys just get more expensive! True that, right? She encourages us women to remember to have fun!

Paint a picture or do some coloring. Blow bubbles off the deck. Dress up and go to a show. Take a dance lesson or go on a cruise.

What sounds like a fun and affordable play activity to you?

Celebrate along the way.

My coach tells me all the time, “Robyn, don’t forget to celebrate the mini-accomplishments and micro-advancements along the way to your big dream.”

Celebrate all the progress – even the itty-bitty, mini, baby steps.

Every single pound the scale gives up.

Each and every word you write on that manuscript or dissertation or in your journal.

All the victories you win raising your kid or working your job or enriching your marriage or beautifying your house.

Don’t wait to celebrate till it’s all done.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the “I’ll take a rest when I (fill in the blank with your dream here)”, and “I’ll go play when I finish my (fill in the blank with your dream here)” and “Who am I to celebrate small steps on my way to (fill in the blank with your dream here) – I’ll just wait till it’s all done.”

But you know what? It’s the rest that restores you to go again, the play that refreshes you to try another way another day, and the celebrating along the way that reminds you why you’ve taken this (fill in the blank with your dream here) thing in the first place.

So what will it be, Friend?

What’s the first thing you’re putting in place to rest, play and celebrate along the way to your (fill in the blank with your dream here).

Leave me a comment below. I’d love to pray into your decision.

Verse for today: A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

Prayer: LORD, you created me on purpose for a purpose, but sometimes that purpose is so daunting, it doesn’t feel like I can do it. Refresh and revive my heart to go after it again and again. Keep my eyes on you and on the thing you’ve put in my heart to accomplish for you. In Jesus name amen.


  1. Joan Geurink on August 21, 2022 at 7:39 am

    I just want to encourage you to keep going. You make a difference. I’m so glad you’re here! There are many women like myself, who don’t often take time to write but who do read your words and benefit from your wisdom and insight. I pray that God will give you the strength and desire to continue….because you matter very much! Thank You!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 21, 2022 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Joan
      You made my day. thanks so much.

  2. Natilie Scheunemann on August 21, 2022 at 9:19 am

    I really needed this today. I always get overwhelmed lately. I get anxious Oren over nothing. I used to have no life but work with my old job. Thanks for this. Especially that my wedding is getting closer and closer.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 21, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      You bet, Natalie.
      Be blessed and enjoy your life.

  3. Anne Johnson on August 21, 2022 at 9:28 am

    I can relate! Since retiring 2 years ago, I’ve struggled to find the perfect balance between being overwhelmingly busy and not busy enough with volunteer work. But I’ve always had a passion for the pro/life movement. I’ve been in training to be a client counselor in a crisis pregnancy’s center for over a year now. And I’ve decided to reactivate my nursing license so I could also train to be an alternate ultrasound technician. I need 30 contact hours of continuing education to reactivate my license, which I’m getting in Obstetrics, which I’ve never worked in. The educational modules are so technical that I’m having to look up many, many terms, which means the first module that I completed yesterday, which gave me 5 hours of credit probably took me 15 hours to complete. I should have had a party when I finished! Thanks so much for your constant encouragement!

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 21, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      I think you should have a party after each module! wow, THANK you for the investment you’re making in the lives of the unborn. I’m smiling from ear to ear.

  4. Donna J. Davis on August 21, 2022 at 9:47 am

    Robyn, I love this devotion! We must be related.
    I love my creative mind, but sometimes I can’t shut my mind off. My creative mind brings me new things to do, but not always enough time to do it all. Thus, I do get overwhelmed. I thank God that He is in my life to stay. Spending time with Him in the morning is the most important thing that I do. I must remember to give Him my day, so He can order it the way He chooses it to be. Thanks for the reminder to rest and have fun! That really makes a difference.
    In Christ Love,
    Donna J. Davis

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 21, 2022 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks for writing Donna. What an encouraging post.
      You bless me

  5. Maribeth R Ditmars on August 21, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Robyn, we just returned from a refreshing vacation where we were able to enjoy the Lord’s beautiful outdoors. I had a little trouble slowing down at first, but I sure needed it! I teach, write, and speak so I am often overwhelmed. Thank you for the encouragement.

    • Robyn Dykstra on August 21, 2022 at 6:40 pm

      How wonderful! Thanks for posting. ??

  6. Sally Ferguson on August 22, 2022 at 10:04 am

    Good reminder to rest, play & celebrate!

  7. Brenda Humphrey on August 25, 2022 at 7:44 am

    You’re the best Robyn!! I love reading everything you write. Also love to read the other comments the ladies post. It’s all so encouraging. You are a blessing to us & I hope you take time out to enjoy the rest of our beautiful summer.

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