Want to come to my party? Yes. Can you watch my dog on Saturday? Sure. Can you work extra hours this weekend? Yeah. Can you help me move on Sunday? I can.
Whoever keeps saying yes to all those questions sure is committing to a lot. Does that sound familiar to you? If you say yes to many requests or commitments, you may frequently find yourself feeling scattered, lost, tired and stressed. Clearly, overcommitment is not good for us, so why are so many of us prone to it?
Why are we so overcommitted?
Many of us overcommit to things because we want to please others in our life. The motives can be different, but the result is the same: make another person happy, delighted or proud of us. You may want someone to see you as a better friend. Perhaps you want your boss to notice you’re a hard worker. Maybe you want your church community to take notice of how well you serve people.
There is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with making time for others. In fact, we’d encourage it. However, as a car helps people get from one place to another but it can’t do it if the tank is empty and the engine hasn’t been maintained, you can’t help other people if you aren’t taking time for yourself. You can end up burning out, offering less than your best and adding nothing but further stress to your life.
What to do about overcommitment
Whether you’re a Chrisitian or not, it can be helpful to turn to the Bible and see what Jesus has to say about making yourself so busy:
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it — it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
- Luke 10:38-42 (MSG)
In this passage, Martha’s sister spends a lot of time doing busy work to please Jesus and other people, and she is upset that her sister Mary is following Jesus around instead of helping her. However, while Martha’s work is likely good, Jesus gently reminds her that there is something better: Himself. And this is what Mary chose.
Again, whether Christian or not, there is something to take from this. We make ourselves constantly busy to make others happy, and we often fail to see the better thing. We need to stop overcommitting to so much because it causes us to miss out on better commitments. Sometimes, that’s just taking time for yourself to relax or have fun. Sometimes, it’s spending time growing closer to Jesus.
What are the good things in life you’re missing out on because of overcommitment? Aren’t you tired of missing out? Now is the time to start saying no more often so you can make time for yourself. No one should think any less of you for this.
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