Yesterday I talked about giving up the concept of being busy. But what does that really look like? It’s impossible in a practical sense to give up a spirit of busyness without also giving up things like today’s topic: over-commitment. I do believe it is possible, and sometimes God-honoring, to have a schedule that is really full. Where trouble comes for me is when I go from “full” to “too full”.
Here are a few things I’ve learned to help me and that I’m reminding myself of today as I choose to give up over-commitment:
This one is hard for me. Sometimes it’s my people pleasing nature pushing me toward “yes”. Others I’m just so busy that I don’t have the mental power to say “no” and therefore I get even more overwhelmed. Still other times, I simply forget my priorities, goals, gifts, and passions and end up committing to things I’m either not gifted for or am not supposed to be doing with my time. Lysa Terkerst has a great book about this called “The Best Yes”. Here are some questions I found all throughout her book or have come up with on my own that help me in various situations when trying to make a decision in order to avoid over-commitment:
- Have you been spending time with Jesus lately in His Word and prayer? (Translation: Am I in a good place to make this decision with Jesus or am I trying to make it on my own?)
- Have you sought godly counsel and insights from wise people who know details about your situation?
- Could this fit in your life/are there resources for it… Physically? Financially? Spiritually? Emotionally? Professionally? Relationally? If resources aren’t there, is it because I need to say “no” or do I need to step out in faith that God will provide?
- Does it seem like God is wanting use ME or is this someone else’s assignment? What might be my role, if any, in helping them be able to say yes.
- What is my attitude about this? Am I making to decision in love or obligation? Am I making any part of this decision, either way, simply out of fear?
- What might end up being sacrificed because of saying “yes” to this? Is that worth the cost?
- How will this impact you or calendar?
- Is this potentially a “yes…but not now?”
- How do you think you will feel after saying ‘yes’? After saying ‘no’? Where is God giving peace?
While sometimes these questions just lead to more questions, I have found that simply by being intentional in my decision leads me to the best yeses and the best nos.
I believe God created Sabbath for a reason. We need to rest, but I think even more so, we need one day to remember that the world doesn’t depend on us. Ceasing to work for one day a week helps put into perspective that GOD is God, not me and the world will still go on if I rest. As a church worker, it is hard to take this day of rest on Sunday’s. But, knowing it’s important in order to give up over commitment and busyness, I recently went through my calendar from now until May and marked one 24-hour period a week that can be my Sabbath. Some weeks I only found 20 hours or maybe it had to be split up over two days in a week. It’s not so much about “getting it right” but rather making it a priority to stop, and say, “God, I trust you know better than me. Use this time to remind me who I am and Whose I am”.
When I am intentional about putting this time on the calendar, I suddenly find I am WAY more productive on the other 6 days. I have energy to do a load of laundry or focus for one more hour in the office because I’m know that I have these moments of rest coming to renew, restore, and prepared me for another week. What to do during these sabbath moments could be an entire blog series on its own, but in general, I try to do things that refresh me, connect me to God, and spend time with people I love.
Sometimes we just need someone to say no for us. As a single woman, I have learned that people aren’t likely to do this without me asking; so I have to ask. I have to be intentional about sharing details of my life with friends and family so when I ask for their input they have details to inform their thoughts. I have to ask people to check in on me and challenge me to think about how I’m spending my time. We need other people in our lives, whether it’s a teammate, friend, spouse, or parent, to keep us accountable for not over-filling our lives.
REMEMBER THE REASON
Above all, I have to remind myself of the reasons I desire to give up over-commitment…mainly because it often gets in the way of my relationships with others and with God. When I step back and can practically see how less in some areas means more in the areas that matter most, making those decisions easy.
Jesus, we pray that today you would help us stop over-committing in our lives. Help us give up the things that don’t fit in your great plan for us. Give us strength to say no to some things without guilt that we may say yes to the best things. Give us wisdom about which is which. Give us peace to rest always in you! We trust you with our lives! Amen!