The Myth of Doing It All

The Myth of Doing It All

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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

This was one of the first Bible verses I ever memorized. It was a heady verse for someone like me. Someone who loves to say yes for two reasons— the sheer joy of being involved and the fear others wouldn’t like me if I couldn’t perform. It was also a dangerous combination. Finding this verse fueled my belief that I could say yes to everything, and God would provide a way.

Fast forward several years, and the price of saying yes began to take its toll on my mind and body. I no longer lived a life of joy and victory. Instead I was a slave of over-commitment. And I finally broke. Diagnosed with severe depression and several other mental health challenges it took me months to recover.

It was a painful lesson, and one I had to learn to ever be able to move forward. When forced to give up everything, I thought I’d never get to do anything fun again and that everyone would dislike me. Slowly I began to realize God’s plan didn’t involve me saying yes to every good activity or need I saw.

Now I’m living a much more balanced and joyful life, but I’m still not perfect. There are days I just can’t say no. Fortunately He’s shown me that the things He’s given me weigh no more than a feather, no matter how labor intensive. But when I pick up a job or a burden on my own, no matter how small the time commitment, it weighs more than a ton of bricks. That in itself makes me wary about saying yes without first hearing from God.

These days I’ve learned to ask two questions when I feel overwhelmed.

  • Do I need to lay something down that’s intended for someone else?
  • Am I carrying a load not meant for me?

God’s promise of rest and peace is real, all we have to do is let go.

Edie Melson About Edie Melson

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker— is the author of numerous books. She’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world in person and on the web. Connect with her on and on Twitter.


  1. Good reflection, Edie. One of my favorite scripture passages, too. It’s so easy to memorize. I like “can do” statements. This passage appealed to my over-achiever self when I first hung it on my wall: I can do ALL things. I learned the “through Him” lesson also meant HIS way, not mine. Easy passage. Hard lesson.

    When we’re feeling overwhelmed, your lay it down question is a good one. So, too “is this load meant for me?” For ordinary moments of choice, I like what my 85-year-old priest friend, Fr. Angelo, told me today that he always asks: Is this going to please you, Lord?

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