Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I’m All At Loose Ends

What do you do when you feel like that? What do you do when there are a couple dozen loose ends flying around out there? What do you do when you are not sure which one to grab hold of first?

That describes my life exactly at the moment.

  • It is time to write a newsletter.
  • I need to send thank you notes, or at least emails, to several of my supporters.
  • The teen Bible study I lead is starting again after the holidays, so I have a lesson to prepare.
  • Sewing lessons are starting again now that my students are back from visits to their villages over the holidays.
  • It is time to get started with plans for the annual youth camp for 2013.
  • The roster of worship leaders got switched. I am on for this coming Sunday, so I have lots of planning to do there.
  • Guess what? I am also on to teach Sunday School this month. Not an ideal combination with worship leading, but manageable with careful planning.
  • If I hope to meet my goal of having my first children’s book published as an ebook within the next two months, I have lots of loose ends to tie up there.
  • As my last blog post seems to have fallen rather flat, I need to write a new one ASAP. Okay, that one is getting attention now.
  • It is important that I get back into a regular exercise routine.
  • I need to spend quality time with my daughter, both in home schooling and during the rest of the day.
  • Time with God needs to remain a priority.

All these things, and probably half a dozen more comprise loose ends that are flying around right now. I look at the list and at the moment, it feels overwhelming. When life gets overloaded like this, I find myself responding in one of several ways.


When I fall back on this strategy, I do something else entirely. That “something else” usually takes the form of a time-waster: a mindless movie on DVD, Free Cell or Mahjong on the computer, even (I am somewhat embarrassed to admit) playing Plants vs. Zombies on my Kindle Fire. Thankfully, I have not used this strategy very often since I started writing this blog.

I usually don't have anything THIS yummy to snack on.
Comfort Eating

Yeah, another strategy that I am not proud of, but one that I think many people share with me. Like the strategy of avoidance, this tactic does nothing to solve the problem. The loose ends still fly around out there while the food goes over the lips and onto the hips. Not exactly helpful. 

Surfing the Blogosphere
It is very easy and inviting to get "lost in cyberspace" when there are so many things that need to be done that you don't know where to start. Unfortunately, when you come back to planet earth, everything is still there waiting for you.


When life gets seriously pressured and down-to-the-wire, this is usually the mode I lock into. This strategy has served me well in the past. I’ll make my to-do list, order it carefully, and pound out lots of work in an amazingly short amount of time. I feel quite satisfied and even proud of myself as I see one item after another ticked off the list.

The problem is that too often, the last two items on that list above are still likely to be neglected in my frenzy of productivity. Those two relational “ends” don’t fit neatly on a to-do list. Seriously now, do they? 

Share Your Strategies

I am certain there are many other strategies out there to help cope when too many “loose ends” make life feel out-of-control. What do you usually do with your “loose ends”. Maybe your strategy could be helpful to someone else. Why not share it in a comment below for the benefit of other readers. If you, like me, sometimes fall into using a “strategy” that is…well…not helpful, share that, too. At the very least, you will see that you are not alone.

A Better Way

I don’t want to finish this post without pointing out a better way to handle the “loose ends”. While my “hyper-organized mode” is effective in getting a lot of work accomplished efficiently, it will always fall short unless I use another strategy first. 

I need to make time with God my priority. When the loose ends start flying, I would be better off taking the list to my Heavenly Father. I need to seek His wisdom as to what needs to be done rather than depending on my own.

This passage from Proverbs says it all..

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Trust in the Lord. Don’t lean on my own understanding. Acknowledge Him. Another translation says to submit to Him. All good things to do when the loose ends start to fly.

Better yet, I ought to be doing this all along. Maybe,…just maybe,…if I do, loose ends won’t be a problem to begin with.


  1. On my walk today, I was talking to God about this very thing. Things I need to get done, things I don't do that I need to start doing, places I fall short, people that are in need. I definitely need His direction to prioritize what needs to come first. And I, like you, also have a tendency to go into procrastination mode: Facebook, Pinterest, computer games, daydreaming, etc. I have been a list maker, and that does seem to help on certain days. I think I'll try that today. Make my list, prayerfully and purposefully. And enjoy the satisfaction of checking off those loose ends!

    1. "Make a list, prayerfully and purposefully." I like that, Diane. Not just "make a list". Anyone can make a list. If we do it prayerfully and purposefully, we can avoid the trap of cramming a lot of things into the list that God never really intended to be there in the first place. One of my problems, besides procrastination from time to time, is that I have a hard time saying "No". As a result, my to-do list can get crammed with a lot of things that I do just because I CAN, and not because I SHOULD.

  2. Julie,
    Love this entry because you have put into words how I feel! It's nice to know I'm not the only one. I am not one of those mom's that has it all together with a magazine-perfect house. I tend to get overwhelmed and shut down, which results in doing nothing (or not much). Then, when I can't stand it anymore, I get a burst of energy and try to get everything back on track. It's a vicious cycle! What I do need to do is get up earlier and spend the first part of my day with Scripture and the Lord. I need to give Him my day. You've inspired me to stop thinking about this and move on to doing it. Each day is a fresh day. If I take it one day at a time, I think that will minimize the overwhelmed feeling and give me more of a sense of accomplishment that can carry over to the next day. I will pray for you and Diane...please pray for me. Maybe that's the other part to this...encouraging each other with words and prayer. ~Eve

    1. Eve,
      Thanks so much for responding. Vicious cycle. That says it exactly right. Making time with God a priority will go far in helping to order our days. I will pray for you. With all your little girls, I know you have your hands full. It's good your Kara is old enough to help...and that she seems to WANT to help. I love it when my daughter does that. Blessings to you as you seek God and get all your "loose ends" back together. Maybe we can encourage each other to not let the ends get loose to begin with.


Any thoughts on this post? I would love to hear from you.

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