What Overcommitment Might Actually Be Costing You - I Do Every Day - October 24
What Overcommitment Might Actually Be Costing You
By Janel Breitenstein
About five years ago now, my husband and I were deep into the process of adopting our fifth child. (Yeah. We’re one of those.)
But to keep a long, painful story short: As we walked through those steps—prayerfully, carefully—my husband realized we were consistently limited on time, resources, and energy.
A fifth child would be heroic and meaningful and an expression of Jesus. But living life to the limits of our margin could have untold effects on our home.
I think it took me longer to realize this: I am constantly, classically living life at the edge of my margins. I struggle to differentiate between an opportunity and what God actually needs me to do (no more, no less). I pray Ephesians 2:10: What are the “good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [I] should walk in them”?
It’s easy to look at the fun or unnecessary aspects of my life and think, “I could just do less of that if I took on this one wonderful thing.”
And maybe you’re the kind of person who could! But in my own life, that’s not where the toll is subtracted from.
It’s deducted from my sunny mood with my husband and kids. From my graciousness, my diligence and vigilance in their lives. It robs my energy to love on friends. It means I win less of my kid’s hearts because I’m cranky and demanding.
Basically, it means I love less well and with less joy. It means my overcommitment robs, among other things, my marriage.
My husband, quite gently and with much wisdom and compassion, put it this way: “Sometimes your overcommitment affects how the gospel is played out in our home.”
What he meant: It’s harder for us to see God’s unconditional, happy, sacrificial love when you’re constantly stressed and irritated, doing for God more than being with Him. Kindness and generosity and relationships take time and a wholeness of heart—not a harried, you-get-the-leftovers love.
So the act of faith we chose in the adoption process was instead that God had this plan for some other family.
But our small “noes” matter in marriage, too. This week, this month? Choose to do less.
With your margin, you might even love more like God.
The Good Stuff: For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment… (Romans 12:3)
Action Points: What are the “whys” beneath your overcommitment?
- Do you base your peace of mind on productivity?
- Do you feel like you have achieved, helped, or performed if you reach certain expectations? Is your sense of worth tied to what you accomplish?
- Do you hate to disappoint?
- Do you tend to elevate how necessary you are, forgetting God’s ability to do things without you?
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