The Terrible Toos

I don’t know about you, but I can tell very quickly when I have too many irons in the fire. The overachieving makes me underproductive.

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“TOO” — a tiny word carrying a lot of weight. A superlative adverb of sorts indicating a higher degree, an excessive amount, a little more than before. Ironically, as a child, I always remembered how to spell this form of the word because it had an extra “o”…ya know, the overachiever of the homophone.

And just like that little word, I, too, can become an overachiever by doing toomuch too often, become too busy too fast, and before I know it, I, too, have put on overachievement and wear it like some badge of honor. I’m learning, however, if not worn properly, it really just covers up the deeper issues of pride and perfection.

I’ll warn you now. This is a processing post. Hot off the press. You’re getting real and raw ramblings. I may mix metaphors, and I promise it won’t be polished and perfect, but it’s me pouring my heart out to you in hopes we both can be better off because of it…

I saw a post circulating on social media recently. It was an image of a letterboard. On the letterboard was a prayer, but the only words that were recognizable were “Dear God” at the beginning and “Amen” at the end. The middle of the prayer consisted of all the other letters just being spilled out and mixed together, all jumbled up. This image and the message it ironically yet so clearly communicated resonated deeply with my current inability to find words even though I’ve been wired to just whip them out at any given time.

Writer’s block. Creative constipation that leads to verbal vomiting. No matter how you say it (or not say it if the words will not come to express it), it’s a frustrating feeling for a person who is rarely short on words.

And I want to do more than whip words out; I want to wield them well. My words just get mixed up when they aren’t filtered through His Word, and they can’t be filtered through His Word if I’m not spending time in His Word daily.

Jumbled letters and mixed-up words (for me) are indicators of a jumbled life and mixed-up priorities. They scream at me like a bad case of the “terrible toos!”

The saying “too many irons in the fire” dates back to the 1600s when a blacksmith would keep irons in the fire while he worked, shaping them into what they needed to be. If there were too many irons in the fire, the fire would get too hot and the blacksmith would be too busy to keep up with the work before the irons would melt and disintegrate in the intense heat.

I don’t know about you, but I can tell very quickly when I have too many irons in the fire. The overachieving makes me underproductive and, oftentimes, leads to an emotional meltdown.

Too many irons in the fire. Too many letters on a board. Too many, too much really equals too little and not enough. We are overloading our schedules, out lists, our very lives without undergirding any of it with prayer.

Just like a toddler with a bad case of the terrible twos needs correction, this momma with a bad case of the terrible “toos” needs to heed some correction, too!

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” ~ Psalms 127:2, ESV

Keyword: anxious. It is not wrong to work hard. Working hard is healthy. Anxiously toiling, however, leads to a bad case of the terrible toos. Take it from me, a spiritual toddler who has been put in time out!



This post was written by Tabitha Deller

Featured Image by Samantha Gades

About the Author

In tandem with our creative friends at and Catch the Wind comes our special Contributors profile. From this account, you’ll find various area experts sharing their unique, knowledgeable, and inspirational voices. Check out posts published under Contributors to read from these special guests!