I Get By With a Little Overfunctioning
By Janel Breitenstein
Someone I love died from heart failure.
Maybe that’s why it hurt to read about it: When a heart begins to fail, it needs to maintain the same level of blood output every minute. So it tries to beat faster and pump more blood with every beat.
In essence, it overfunctions.
When the heart can no longer keep up, there might be a backup of blood into the lungs, or it might just produce less blood flow, even to things that need it, like your brain and vital organs. The body begins to die.
I thought of this recently in a deluge of snow days. My kids delighted in rolling over in bed. I trudged downstairs, squinting, to begin work. (Somehow my productivity falls when kids are home. Go figure.)
My kids completed their chores as well as compulsory sibling squabbles, leaving out cereal bowls and wet boots.
I realized I associate snow days with the rest of the family chilling, while I amp things up a bit.
I wish this was a freakish snow-day red herring. But later I whispered to my husband, “Sometimes I think our house survives because I overfunction.”
He looked at me solemnly. “I agree.”
(Do you ever feel this? Like “just work harder” can’t work forever?)
In your home and marriage, could one of you perpetually be overcompensating, possibly leading to the breakdown of the “body” of your home?
Hold any jabbing fingers for a minute. Serving isn’t truly loving if it doesn’t have the best for the beloved in mind.
Sometimes a body needs a heart to step up for a season. But could overcompensating keep our families and spouses from developing selflessness, service, responsibility, others-awareness?
Could it cause character to die a little? Who might they fail to serve elsewhere?
My husband took me seriously. Snow days now mean an additional chore for our kids, him helping with crowd control on work breaks, and me asking for help.
Don’t let serving cross the line from empowering to enabling.
The good stuff: For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Action points: Do you tend to be the overcompensator—or the one overcompensated? Talk with your spouse about work division and what it looks like to be both generous and wise. If you struggle with resentment for overcompensating, bring your frustration to God. Ask Him to reveal the motives beneath, and seek His change in your heart from bitterness. Pray about how to graciously acknowledge and ask for the help you need.
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