My Addiction to Overcommitting
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us ..." 2 Corinthians 5:20a (NIV)
That's it! I bossed myself. Here you are again, overwhelmed by the number of commitments on your plate. You are never going to overload your schedule again.
Oh, I was serious — and a bit annoyed with myself. But I wondered: How did I (once again) not see this coming?
I knew this much ... my actions were rooted in fear. But of what? I couldn't seem to pinpoint the cause.
It showed up in my tendency to be over-responsible.
If there's a problem (mine or not) I feel compelled to solve it. Whether it's at home with a family member or at work with a team member, my initial reaction is to jump in quickly with an answer.
It showed up in my tendency to over-compensate.
I overloaded my schedule in high school. I rushed through college in three years — all in an effort to prove to myself and others that I was smart. A year spent on academic probation left me feeling dumb. I believed in order to be acceptable I must be exceptional. That wasn't God's requirement. That was my own insecurity fueling decisions and filling my life to the brim with misguided ambition.
Overcompensating for our mistakes and weaknesses is one way we allow the enemy to trip us up. Rather than accepting God's grace and our human limitations, we get caught in a web of fear that somehow we aren't good enough and must prove our worth. Peeling back many layers of emotion, I wondered, is any of this connected to my unrelenting habit of overcommitting?
When we find ourselves dealing with a similar problem repeatedly, there is often a divine lesson waiting. Our job is to listen, ask God for wisdom and expect to receive it.
As a life coach, I've discovered that whenever we are stuck and unable to determine the cause, asking a few questions (and answering them honestly) can be a powerful exercise. When I was afraid to say "no" to doing more, even though I resented feeling overwhelmed and desperately wanted to decline, these questions helped me:
- What am I afraid will happen if I say "no" to a good opportunity?
- What if my fear actually happens?
- What's the worst part of that?
- What would that mean to me?
I was afraid of saying "no" to an opportunity that could be "the opportunity" and I'd regret it. Business would dry up. I would become irrelevant. (Honestly, that last statement was my real issue.)
Often I feel driven to take on too much out of a desire to gain approval. In other words, my core fear is rejection.
After answering those tough questions, praying and self-reflection, I asked for the wisdom, understanding and courage to change. Eventually, I heard a clear message: The change you need to make isn't just about you; it's about being a light in a dark world. So many are living the way you are — overwhelmed, anxious, lacking peace. Are you willing to risk missing a good opportunity in favor of My best for you?
God wants us to be His ambassadors of love, power and faith. Others should be able to look at our lives and say, Wow, what's her secret weapon? Where does she find the strength? Where did she get such wisdom?
Ultimately, the pace I maintain in my life impacts and influences those around me — my family, our kids, my team members. It is about so much more than me. So, too, is your breakthrough.
Lord, give me the courage to conquer the fears that threaten again and again to get me stuck. Allow my testimony to inspire greater faith, boldness and courage in those who cross my path. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Philippians 3:13b-14, "But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (NIV)
Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
When you consider the areas of your life in which you repeatedly get stuck, what is the common thread or fear?
In what way is God calling you to get unstuck?