You don’t have to do more

I feel the tug at my heart…

Do more, more, more.

Prove your worth.

Show your value.

I have always wrestled with this lie. It has led me to the edge of burnout. In times when it’s quiet, it has drawn me away from embracing rest.

Maybe you too?

We hear more is better.

But sometimes more is less.

Less of what God has for us.

Less of what truly brings peace.

Less of what we’re really put on earth to do.

We’re a culture built on efficiency. Children of the industrial age. We think in terms of factories and output, maximum volume, how much we can produce. But we are human. We are not made that way.

And it seems God is sometimes alarmingly inefficient.

Jesus spent most of his life as a carpenter and only three in ministry. That’s not “efficient” in our eyes. Surely he should have healed everyone he could, done all he could accomplish, gone on a world tour and spoken to every person, met every need. But, no, he quietly and simply showed us this–it’s not about doing more it’s about doing what matters.

When we do what God has for us then our actions multiply through His power in ways we can’t see or understand. Doing less when we’re in God’s will is far more efficient than doing the most we can on our own.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around this truth. I want to jump back on the inner treadmill. I want measurable results. I want to feel productive. But somewhere deeper within, a Voice asks not for my hands but for my heart.

Let’s not do more.

Let’s dare to do less.

And instead embrace more of the One who says we’re already enough.


  1. says

    During this past year especially, I’ve been realizing that my ideas about efficiency and productivity probably trace back more to hard-working New England forefathers than to biblical principles. Living for the Kingdom is terribly inefficient. But powerful.

  2. says

    Holley, I NEED this today and everyday! I wake up in the mornings with self-talk trying to calm my brain and find God’s direction…so at the end of the day, i can relax and know I’ve accomplished what is most important. It’s such an inner battle!!!

  3. says

    WOW! May we feel the freedom today to be Mary and not Martha!
    Thanks, Sister.
    (The Power just in simple adoration of the One Who died for us, is
    enough. Forever.)

  4. says

    Holley, this is brilliant. I love the words God lays on your heart – thank you for sharing them because I really needed to read this. I can’t quite comprehend it fully, so I will need to chew on this for a while. Doing less in God’s will… that’s almost like a taste of freedom. I want it.

  5. says

    Amen! I am determined to less well with peace than do more. I too must continually breathe in Christ work and breathe out His name to accomplish only what is necessary, and not what anyone other than Him, including me, thinks is necessary.

  6. karyn says

    So funny. I never experience burn out as all my time was controlled. Many in my team experienced it though as they did not have anyone to advise them and no support system. I have to admit I’m an achiever. Have to stop this, you are right. hahahahaha

  7. says

    Holley, thanks so much for sharing these thoughts and words, because we, especially us women really needed to “hear” read this. Some of us get so overwhelmed with all that we need to do everyday, then feel guilty when we can’t. But the truth is……God wants us to do His will for our lives first. Thanks for keeping us on the straight and norrow path! : )

  8. Kathy Sturgis says

    Thanks for reminding me today. I have been worrying about a decision and I now realize I brought it to God in prayer and HE answered it by making the other person make the decision. GOD listened to my prayer. I don’t have to do anything but cry out to him for aide. Jer. 29:14

  9. Noni says

    Wow, so true and adequately stated BUT why is it so difficult to believe? I have known the Lord for many years and have believed this message in my hear but for some reason my head will not follow. Each morning I arise with my list on the table wondering how much I can get done today and feeling inside that this is what will please God – this is where I will be successful. Oh that I would get to the place in my life where what your saying is my reality. When I stop thinking all that I am accomplishing makes me a better person, more accepted, more loved. Today is my day! Today I receive the freedom to rest. Thank you!

  10. says

    This speaks to me so much today, Holley. Always thinking I’m not doing enough to find work that i so need right now. Waiting to hear back from interviews, and thinking I’ve got to get out there, do something more, where should I go, what should I try next…??? And finding that is so disruptive to quieting my heart and soul, listening to Him. You are listening to His spirit, Holley! :)

  11. says

    Hi Holley,

    I so enjoyed your book and am very much enjoying your e-mails too. Thanks. I am grabbing onto what you are saying especially with this one on “doing less”. I am 57 yrs. old and have been off work now for 3 1/2 yrs. due to severe burn-out. I am still not ready to go back to work again. It is hard to wait on God for direction and His timing sometimes, especially when one feels so much the ‘need’ to be busy and ‘accomplish’ stuff. Thanks for being a regular reminder in my ‘inbox’ that I am enough and God loves me as I am. God bless you.


  12. Mardi says

    Truth, spoken well! I wonder if there is a way you can offer a print friendly version as I often find it takes 3 pages , thanks Holley

  13. says

    This has so encouraged my soul today, Holley! I’m at a place of wrestling with trying to “do it all.” A wise friend in ministry shared this with me recently, “If you want to say yes to ministry, you will have to say no to other things.” Amen. May I be obedient to do only the assignments He has set before me.


  14. Kelli says

    Oh my goodness. This speaks to my heart like nothing else. I am in a new job and have been questioning my value, trying to prove myself, etc. Then, as I was eating cherry tomatoes and going through e-mail … God just popped this message right in front of my face! I almost cried. I feel relieved, set free, so grateful. Thank you Jesus, for leading me and teaching me and loving me. Amen.

  15. says

    So true! We women are so prone to those feelings and to succumbing to the notion that we must be perennially available–to everyone–all the time. We all need the constant reminder your post provides.

    Despite the fact that my post for today (Clutter Clearing: Walk With Him Wednesdays (written a week ago but scheduled ahead) focuses on the concept that “less is more” and despite the fact that I’ve been on the move all morning & am a tad weary, I was just about to hop up & do some more b/c there’s always more to be done. Proof positive we need your reminder!

    I almost didn’t read your post right now for that very reason. So glad I did!

    I AM, however, really proud of myself that this very morning I turned down a request to serve on a committee doing good work in our community because I need to protect that inner space.
    Thanks, Holley!

  16. says

    Beautifully written and so true! I guess that’s why you’re a writer. You certainly know how to get your message across in the most eloquent way.

  17. Hannah Miller says

    Thank you so much! I tell my husband just about every day that I need to be productive. It is a super powerful force sometimes. Super frustrating with the physical problems I deal with everyday. I’m thinking it is a God-thing though because I am often not able to a single thing. God is right beside me even when I keep wanting to be productive more than doing His will. He is faithful to me!

    • Brenda Miller says

      Hannah, I so relate to you, and this post by Holley was also a tremendous blessing for me, as well! I suffer from chronic pain and I also just went through the past two-and-one-half months, since June 19th, with a viral infection. As a result, I am now having to build up my physical strength again, after just having reached the point of being able to assist my husband daily around our apartment in a small way. Now, I am back to where I was prior to becoming ill: doing nearly nothing at all to help him, and most days, feeling worthless because I am not contributing in a physical way. I thank the Lord that He loves me unconditionally and accepts me right where I am. I also know that it is only in accepting myself as God accepts me, and loving myself as He loves me, that I will be able to grow to the point of overcoming my sense of failure as a human being, as a woman, as a wife, and as a child of God, and come to the place where I can contribute with joy in the way that the Lord desires me to contribute – whether or not that is in a physical manner. What is most important is that I love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength, and that I love my neighbour as myself. It is only in allowing the Lord Jesus to pour His love into my heart and by receiving and embracing His love that I will be able to do this – and to accept His Truth, which Holley spoke today – that sometimes more means less! May God richly bless you and your marriage, Hannah!

  18. says

    Oh my gosh, sister, this came at just the right time for me today!
    I’m going to remind myself of this tomorrow, when I struggle through yet another demanding day, and the little voice in my head is telling me I’m a fraud.
    Reading all the other sisters’ comments helps to remind me that we ALL find this difficult, and I’m not alone.
    So thank you. Very much. Xx

  19. Edma Schoeman says

    Dearest Holley,

    I am reading your book, You are amazing and I am loving everybit of it!!

    May God bless you richly!!


  20. Beth Ann says

    Oh Holley, thank you SO MUCH! I needed to hear this after a day at the office, rushing from task to task, feeling like I almost can’t catch my breath. “You don’t have to do more.” Ahhhh… a breath of fresh air. You. are. AMAZING! So freeing to hear your words today. My OCD, list-oriented self thanks you!

  21. Brenda Miller says

    Holley, thank you so much for this beautiful post! I so desperately needed to hear this today, as I struggle daily with comparing myself to others who are able to do so much physically that I am unable to do because of chronic physical pain. This comparison always leaves me feeling worthless and undeserving of the love of others and of God. I thank and praise the Lord for people like you who speak the Truth of His Word, and who remind me Who He really is: my Lord and Saviour Who died to have a personal, intimate relationship with me, NOT because of who I am or because of what I can DO, but because of WHO He IS: He is Perfect Love! Thank you again, Holley, for shining the Light of Christ into my day!

  22. Laura Gam says

    Thank you for sharing what I needed most today. I tend to want to “do it all” and I often feel insignificant when I don’t. Please pray for me to rest, enjoy my life more, and know that I am already amazing in God’s eyes. It is not about what I can accomplish in a day that counts. Love you!♥

  23. Becky Jones says

    This really speaks to me. Have just treatment for cancer and did not feel like going to Bible study but I think made the right decision. Slept most of yesterday and feel so good today. Thanks for being a voice of God’s Word.
    Becky Jones

  24. Janet Erickson says

    Holley, I came around a corner a few years ago and was confronted with the most amazing display of God’s extravagance. It was late May, and row of beautiful pink crab-apple trees were shedding their blossoms. The GUTTERS WERE RUNNING OVER, awash in a sea of pink blossoms. It took my breath away — all those still lovely and fragrant blossoms, overflowing the ground and filling the gutters showed me that God can cheerfully “waste” things and be glorified in it. We have a wonderful, extravagant God who loves to heap His blessings until they run over and spill into the street. How”inefficient” of Him!

  25. Linda says

    Oh Holley, thank you so much for this today! I am so feeling that way right now; as though I am in the middle and everyone is pulling me in 50 different directions all at the same time. All I seem to hear anymore is “Give me this, Get me that, I want this, You need to take me here, I need to go there, etc”. It never seems to be my time anymore; time to just sit quietly with God, get refreshed. However, God has just blessed me with a trip this coming Sunday afternoon to spend 3 whole days with the best friend I have who also happens to be the sister I never had. Thank God that He takes care of our needs and gives what we need right when we need it!

  26. Mónica A. says

    Holley, I have been reading your blog for about three years and a half now. I always feel blessed by the words God tells me through your writing talent. Sometimes I am amazed (though I shouldn’t be, should I?) of His perfect accuracy and timeliness on the issues that worry me each day, as well as on your gifted way to express them. This post seems specially dedicated to me. It’s incredible!!!! These shall be powerful words in my mind every day from now on: “Doing less when we’re in God’s will is far more efficient than doing the most we can on our own”. Thank you and blessings to you and to all your readers. Praise the Lord!

  27. says

    Thank you, Holley. I need this reminder often. My mindset the last week and a half has been “What can I do???” to help my friend who is grieving. People have been telling me that I should help with things that I am good at helping with and not think that I have to do everything. Your words are beautiful conformation:)

  28. Kerrin Barnett says

    I have always used the phrase “Less is More” Like how much do we really want to have all we really need? I would say this to my son’s when they would ask for something they didn’t have. I would say ” You have all that you want and more than you need” I think they get it now that they are grown.
    It’s also Perfect “More is Less” Doing less when we are in God’s will. Is far more efficient than doing the most we can on our own. What peace that brings to my heart and remind me that God is alway walking with me.
    Thank you Holley

  29. says

    AMEN!!! This reminds me of the story of Mary and Martha. Martha was so consumed with serving and Mary sat at Jesus feet. Jesus said that Mary chose the one thing that is needed, the good part. Sometimes we get so distracted and consumed with serving, that we forget to take time to spend with Him. This is more important than anything we aspire to do or accomplish. Thank you for sharing.

  30. says

    Holley, thanks so much! I need to hear this again and again. I think I always try so hard because my past was filled with negative people. Parents and teachers who thought I could never do anything. No one had confidence in me. At nearly 60 I still struggle, even though I know God says I’m weak and that’s ok. He really loves me. It’s a constant battle to speak truth to yourself. It is actually exhausting!

  31. angie coomer says

    I just want to say how much I look forward to reading your posts! A dear friend sent me your link and I am so thankful! You seem to mirror the cries of my heart to God. I am looking forward to reading your book, and I send your link to all my friends!Thank you for your openness and ministry!

  32. says

    Perfectly written. I too struggle with the constant battle of measuring up to what the worlds and humans think is enough and too often forget just being who He created me to be is enough. Thank you for the reminder
    Blessings, Anna

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