on giving up frantic

Shauna Niequist recently wrote a post called Anti-Frantic and I wanted to both cheer and take a nap after reading it. I had a similar post on my mind but when I read hers I was so grateful she already wrote it so now I don’t have to figure out how to write it myself.

“It doesn’t matter if you work or don’t, have little kids or don’t, or travel or don’t.  So many of us, it seems, are really tired of the hustle, and the next right thing is to slow down, to go back to the beginning, to stop. I’m adopting a ruthless anti-frantic policy. I’m done with frantic. The new baseline for me: will saying yes to this require me to live in a frantic way?”

So go read Shauna if you are ready to give up frantic. Giving up frantic for me this week means saying yes only to my immediate family and my manuscript edits. I am a woman in a cave until Friday. Tumbleweed rolls through my email inbox and my twitter feed. I am abandoning all forms of writing until I finish these edits.

Starting right after this blog post.

Now, I leave you with a before and after shot of my kitchen table yesterday – before starting work and after.


writing at the kitchen tableForgive the orange tint. My kitchen doesn’t photograph well. Today will look the very same. I can’t wait until this book releases. I’m tired of feeling alone in it and am ready to share it with you. Today I’m working on edits for the last two chapters – one is called Wonder and the other is Create. I can’t wait to tell you more.

Have you been feeling frantic lately? 


  1. says

    Ha! I claimed the phrase, ” ruthlessly eliminate hurry” years ago. Sorry, can’t remember who said it. I read that book on your table this summer. Good stuff. You should not be reading this since you have work to do but just in case… I applaud you for claiming a new way to live. I gave up frantic when our kids were young but old enough to take on responsibility. It’s a good thing. Blessings to you.

  2. says

    Thanks for this, Emily. I have been frantic lately, the kind of frantic that wakes me up at 2am and keeps me sleepless with unreasonable thoughts. Going to read Shauna’s post right now!

  3. says

    Oh, this is good. I need a little less frantic in my life. And on another note, I know you haven’t said much about it, but every time you hint at it, I get SO excited for your new book!!

  4. says

    I love the anti-frantic idea. As a freelance artist and children’s book illustrator who tries to work from home after my little guys are asleep, deadlines make my life frantic all the time. I am slowly (very slowly) learning that it can be okay to say, “I can’t do it by tomorrow, but I can have that for you next Wednesday. How does that sound?” To my surprise, they have been responding with, “Sure, that sounds great!” I’m left wondering why I’ve been killing myself for years. =)

  5. Rebecca says

    Saying a prayer for you as you work and commit to giving up frantic. May your week be blessed with rest and productivity and family.

  6. says

    Oh man…I think it was a cultural thing for me…as I’ve been in Australia for 6.5 years. They’re so relaxed here. A dinner with friends is a BBQ, the house doesn’t need to be spotless, days out at unstructured at the beach, you wait at resturnants for food..and that’s ok. I brought my Aussie boy back home last year and I was so surprised at how frantic Americans are. Everything is so fast, in your face, and there’s too much choice.

    Coupled that with my first year of nursing….I was frantic. Then something switched about three months ago “I can only do what I can do.” I learned to frantic less, relax more, sleep more, unplug, enjoy eating, and take walks. I learned to ask for help, delegate, and be honest with my emotions.

    Less frantic. We were brought into this beautiful world and given the gift of life to stress it away. If our first two commandments are to love our God and others…then we should try and harvest a life that enables that.

    Great post, fabulous reminde. Good luck with the book.

  7. says

    The only problem I have had since giving up the frantic life is now I find frantic people rather bothersome. It’s like when a smoker gives up smoking and becomes intolerant of smokers.

  8. Connie says

    I’m taking a moment out of frantic as I write this comment. A conference submission deadline which I thought was the first week of March is actually in two days. I’m executing breathing techniques and prayers for guidance as I head into an all-night writing session. My table looks much like yours at the moment…only add some peanut m-n-ms and sunflower seeds which are accompanying me on this late night ride. I raise my coffee mug to you – here’s to caffeine going in and God’s words coming out!


      • Connie says

        Fishes…definitely fishes. Or, perhaps, at 1:40am it is fishies? :-)

        Thank you for the prayer. It is greatly appreciated. Sending one up for you as I head to the microwave to make another cup of coffee.

  9. says

    Have I been feeling frantic lately? Boy have I! Loved Shauna’s post, thank you for sharing! I have seasons of slow, and they somehow always speed up. So happy for the timing of this reminder to slow it back down. Praying for you in the close of this book. That is so incredibly exciting! Well, I’m sure it will be when it’s done 😉

  10. says

    I think your work space looks so peaceful.

    I write in my dining room (which functions more like a storage unit while a room in our house is under renovation). I was thinking of how less frantic life will feel when my littles are grown and out–and then I will be too old to be doing all the things I rush to do now (very physical yard work). I can’t change our pace right now, but I sure intend to change my attitude about it.

  11. says

    Is it bad that “saying yes” to taking my two toddlers to the grocery store often makes me frantic? And that because of this, I’ve said “no” to grocery shopping? At least for now and at least with any small company. :)
    Love this reminder. I’ve been trying to purge my life of unnecessary commitments over the last year in hopes of serving my first priorities better.

  12. says

    Hmm, I spy art books scattered on that table as reference. Intrigued–and, dare I say, gleefully excited?–to read more about that new book. Saying a prayer for you as you work away.

  13. says

    Yes, Emily. I have been feeling frantic. I am learning that frantic and overwhelmed are very close nasty little cousins. I get in frantic mode then slip into the overwhelmed pit and that one is a struggle get out of. Thank you for this….very much needed. Love your writing…..:)

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