How to Catch Up, When You Just Can’t Catch Up


I’ve been off the grid. It wasn’t a planned exit. I didn’t intend to leave the blog for a couple of weeks. But like one of my friends often says, “Sometimes things happen”—what a truism!

I’ve been a bit off schedule lately. A dear friend’s medical emergency took me more than nine-hundred miles from home—quite unexpectedly. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to go, thankful for a sweet trip back home with her, thankful she is now under a doctor’s care here, but after being away almost a week, I’ve been playing catch up on a number of fronts. And I’ve left the blog unattended while I’ve been running hard to get on top of things.

When major interruptions hit, life never stops—it just keeps right on throwing you the same deadlines, responsibilities, tough jobs, and overloaded schedules. The emails keep piling up and the piles of laundry just keep growing. Pretty much every square inch of the day is already filled with the “to do” stuff and life’s busyness really leaves no margins for interruption.

So, what do you do when you’re drowning?

Do the next thing.

I can hear Elizabeth Elliott quoting that in my head. She took it from an old Saxon poem (which I’ll refrain from posting, but you can read it, along with some rich words from her, by clicking here). I often hear her voice repeating the phrase in my head when I look around at all that needs to be done, and I don’t know where to start.

Do the next thing.

How do I ever catch up when I’m running so far behind? I might not. Perhaps there are things best left for another to do, or maybe the “lateness in the doing” is actually right on time. Those details are worries that I must let go. The answer isn’t to despair, or to fume at the day that is flying with too little accomplished . . . the answer is to do the next thing. To do it with a grateful, and as my three year-old would say, a “happy” heart.

The responsibilities that I’ve had to put on hold, may have been on my schedule, but they were not what my sovereign King had on His agenda for my day when the interruption hit. His appointment for me was a few hundred miles away. And I may not know all the purposes He had for that assignment, but I do know that I can trust His timing when He chooses to interrupt my life. And you can, too.

Elisabeth also said:

This job has been given to me to do. Therefore, it is a gift. Therefore, it is a privilege. Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God. Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him. Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way. In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness. ―Elisabeth Elliot

I confess I’ve grumbled this week when looking at the laundry piles and the overstuffed email box and felt the weight of not being able to catch up. But God graciously reminded me: the interruptions, the unexpected calls, the rearranging of my schedule . . . all of it is a gift—from Him.

How do I catch up when I just can’t catch up?

Do the next thing. And see the job as a gift from the Father. See the rearrangement of my schedule as a sovereign interruption. Let the moments of this day be an offering.

Surrendering my schedule to Him today, how about you?

Image courtesy of Frame Angel/


  • Robbin Dunkum

    ❤️ Love this! Spring can be as busy as Christmas. Great reminder that we can truest God with our schedules. Thanks!

  • Michele Morin

    Elisabeth’s words ring in my head as well, especially when I’m facing an “impossible” task. It heartens me to recall that she really preferred house work to writing . . . and I sure wish that I did!
    Blessings to you!

  • mayra

    Kimberly, I’m happy your friend is feeling better. She is blessed to have you as a friend……I missed your uplifting blog happy you’re back.

  • Pauline Butler

    Kim, I have to say that I was relieved to find that no messages were coming through over these past couple of weeks, because I enjoy reading them but have fallen so behind. I still have several messages from March into April that I have not yet read, and I’m trying to get caught up.:) This message, as so often your messages are, hits the target once again. I’ve had to spend much time away caring for my parents and, earlier this month, my Dad went home to be with the Lord. God granted me the privilege to be with him during the last week and a half of his life, perhaps the most difficult days of his life as well as mine. I am grateful to have been entrusted with his care. It truly was a gift. Thank you for this message today and thank you for your faithfulness. God continues to use you mightily. You are truly a dear friend~~Pauline

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Dear Pauline ~

    I am so sorry for your loss, friend, I know this has been a long and painful journey. What a blessing you have been to your parents. Although it was hard, I’m glad for you that you were able to be with your father in his final days. Praying that you and your family will receive comfort from the Father of mercies who comforts us in all our afflictions (2 Corinthians 1:3–4).

    Grateful for your kind words of encouragement, always love hearing from you!