Overscheduled, Over Busy

In April of 2021, I wrote a blog post here on Parenting Pathway about the lessons we learned from our lockdown and subsequent navigation of COVID-19. This season taught so many of us valuable lessons about life, family, and God’s presence:

I want to hold tightly to all that we have learned about ourselves, our family, and God’s presence in all things…I hope I have learned the lesson of not over-scheduling, and yet I am eager to be busy.

Encouragement for a Time of Transition

Somewhere in the last two years, many of us seem to have forgotten the lessons learned from that season. Ask anyone how their summer was, and nine times out of ten their answer will be “Good, but busy.” Ask a friend how her first couple weeks of school have been, and invariably she will say “busy!

What happened to our post-COVID resolve to slow down and allow more margin in our calendar and lives?

Little by little, we have allowed our calendars to be filled with more sports, more dance, more music, more school events, more volunteer roles, and the list of more goes on. Perhaps we have said “yes” when we probably should have said “no.” We might have prioritized opportunities for our families over the lessons we learned. And before we know it, our color-coded family calendar is full from 6:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with picking up and dropping off kids, going to meetings, working, doing home projects, picking up groceries, and having dinners on the run.

“Corrie Ten Boom once said that if the devil can’t make you sin, he’ll may make you busy. There’s truth in that. Both sin and busyness have the exact same effect – they cut off your connection to God, to other people, and even to your own soul.”1

John Mark Comer

Our rushing, our doing too much, and our habitual over-commitment make life and work harder than they need to be. In Matthew 11, Jesus gives us an easy yoke and a light burden, but then we insist on adding “busy” on top. It’s the busy-ness that ends up being heavy and causing us to feel overwhelmed and harried.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:28-30

So, what are we to do?

It is one thing to complain about being too busy, but it is another to be willing and able to change the situation.

1. There are seasons that are just busy.

There are seasons in life that are just busier than others, and that’s okay. Caring for an aging parent while raising your own children, starting a new school year or ending one (August and May), dropping off a child at college, giving birth to a baby, etc. These life events are driven by the calendar and naturally filled with busy-ness. In these seasons, it is important to remember the sustaining and life-giving love of Christ. In Isaiah, we are reminded of the supremacy of the Lord and the comfort He provides in these seasons.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 40:29-31

2. Evaluate and eliminate.

Some of us are habitual over-committers, or unreasonably optimistic about our efficiency and energy. I love to plan events. The mental gymnastics of turning ideas to make an event special feeds me. But over time, I have learned that the fuller my plate, the less I am able or willing to do what I should. Many families have the one sport/one activity rule that helps them balance the interests of each family member. Other families have dedicated rest and family days to ensure that on a regular basis, the schedules are cleared and there is time for connection and restoration. The important thing is to define what is most important and in line with your family values, and make those things a priority.

If you don’t have a family mission statement, check out this resource to help guide your priorities: A Family Mission Statement

3. The value of a pause.

Have you ever said yes to something and then immediately regretted it? Taking a pause before responding will allow you room to evaluate your schedule and the energy required to say yes. I have learned to say, “let me look at my schedule, and I will get back to you.” It seems easy, but this pause takes practice to deploy it in the moment.

We have spent too much time in our lives hurrying from place to place, activity to activity. It is important to remember that this is not our calling. In Psalm 127, God reminds us that we do not need to labor in “anxious toil.” He desires to give us rest.

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Psalm 127:2

You can read more about changing your harried life here on Parenting Pathway.

The Gift of Grace to Ourselves


  1. John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry: How to Stay Emotionally Healthy and Spiritually Alive in the Chaos of the Modern World


  • Christine Clark

    Christine Clark is the Ministry Leader for Family Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church. She has a passion for supporting parents and helping them gain confidence and tools to be spiritual leaders in their homes. She is blessed to be the mom of a one son and the wife of her college sweetheart for 25 years. She and her husband are finding their way as empty nesters, and enjoying the new found freedom that comes with this stage of life. She is also an avid sports fan who loves all things NASCAR and football, especially in the fall in Texas.

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