Last Updated on May 8, 2018

Recently we moved from the house where we’d lived for nearly 35 years. You can imagine the stuff that five kids and two parents had collected during this time. It was overwhelming. I remember walking around the house in a stupor not knowing where or how to begin to sort, toss, and pack, and lacking the emotional energy to start!

It’s not just stuff to clean out that is overwhelming. Some days my normal to-do list feels so overwhelming that I don’t even want to get out of bed.

Sadness or grief might leave you feeling overwhelmed without any incentive to move through your day. Each of us goes through times of feeling overwhelmed. A lot of times. Legendary author Elisabeth Elliot was once reported to have said, “When you are feeling overwhelmed, just do the next thing.” In a conversation with an exhausted mother of young children who could not get out of bed in the morning Elisabeth suggested, “Put your feet on the floor. Next make your bed.”

Lately I’ve been reflecting on this advice and find simple wisdom in it.

If I’m feeling overwhelmed, for any reason, I simply need to do the next one thing.

And then the next one thing. Pretty soon I’ve accomplished more than I thought possible and done it without the usual stress. My spirits are lifted. I am thankful for each small step.

We live in a culture of abundant options, demands, and expectations. It is easy to become overwhelmed. Even overwhelmed with advice! So to relieve you from being overwhelmed with advice today I end this post with just one thought:

Just do the next one thing.

And rejoice! (Okay, that’s two things.)

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  1. So true, Susan. I am often stricken by grief and anxiety while parenting my child with special needs. But if I just keep moving, I do OK. I think of the little fish in Finding Nemo. “Just keep swimming.”
    Hang in there with your life changes.

  2. well said. Elizabeth was one of my mentors, through her many books which I read and listened to as if she were speaking directly to me!