In a short video for my first post, I mentioned how I didn’t want to start this blog unless I knew that God willed me to write it. Over the years I learned that one of the biggest contributors to burnout is piling responsibilities on top of responsibilities, without ever consulting if said commitments were actually willed by God to be a part of my life at that time. Of course, we will experience burnout if we fill up our time with things that were never meant to be there to begin with!
Therefore, today’s post in the Be Still Series will focus on shifting away from being overcommitted. If you didn’t check out the first post in the series from last week, please be sure to do that!
Here’s a gentle warning: even commitments which are “for God” or which are “good” and “healthy” are generally not worth the trouble if they are not aligned with God’s will for our lives at that point. That means praying through some hard choices. It also means possibly foregoing what is good for what is best.
If you struggle with being overcommitted and a general lack of stillness, there could be a number of contributing factors. Maybe there is a value system which does not prioritize time and resources they way God would prefer? Maybe there is apprehension around saying, “No.”. The possibilities are endless, none are mutually exclusive, and I have been guilty of most! Regardless of why you are overextended, today, I’m going to offer two pieces of advice on how to reduce your current commitments:
1st Piece of Advice
Make a list of everything on your plate right now. What can you outsource (i.e., shoppers at the grocery store or pick up options)? What can a spouse or significant other do or be taught to do? An older child? What can you do away with all together? What needs to be put on hold for a period of time? Sometimes seeing things on paper can help make sense of what stays and what goes. Of course, pray on it!
2nd Piece of Advice
If you are really struggling (or even if you are not), consider clearing as much as possible from your schedule. This may sound like a silly or extreme idea, but I LOVE doing this each winter. We live in the Poconos and although I love looking at the snow, I don’t necessarily love being in it. It also gets dark very early in the winter…very, very early.
Needless to say, winter in the Poconos really lends itself very well to a homebody seeking to lessen their load. Also, with all the hustle and bustle of beginning a new school year finally far enough behind us, it really is an opportune time to deliberately press pause on activities.
Maybe those expensive gymnastic lessons lose some appeal after taking a break from them? Maybe that ministry you are serving in will be able to open the door for someone else to come in and serve in your absence? Only move toward reintroducing or introducing a commitment once you are certain it is meant to be there. More on this in a future post!
Now, as I’ve mentioned in other posts, I will never offer advice that I don’t follow myself or that is not a product of my own experience. Here is one example of how God worked through my commitments, or lack thereof, a few months ago.
As some of you may know from reading other blog entries, I am in school for my doctorate. This Fall I was originally signed up to take 3 courses. The more I prayed about it, the more I realized that committing to three courses in one semester was more of me imposing a vigorous workload on myself as opposed to God leading me there.
Ultimately, just before the semester started, I dropped all but one course which was especially compelling. I told God I didn’t know why I was led to do less, but my time was His with the “new-found” time that I was able to create margin for. Within a few days I had an informal discussion with my pastor about possibly serving through writing. This was his idea, but the more I prayed on it, the most convicted I was that he was right. Within a few more days I began planning for Living Simply With God. None of that would have ever happened with the pressure of 9 credits weighing on me!
Our stories will look different, but there will be a common dominator between you and I: we will both be able to accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives. Sometimes less is more!
Don’t get me wrong, I can still overcommit, but I am getting better about consulting with God while I decide what to take on.
Now that we have reviewed some ways to think about and actually create more time in our busy schedules, we will spend the next posts delving into some ideas around how to keep our schedules manageable. Without that, we will be back to square one in no time.
Father God, in your infinite wisdom, help me to discern which responsibilities are really mine and mine alone. I feel comfortable when I am in control so I don’t delegate as often as I should, but I know this is not your desire for me. It can’t be! Trusting you is more than enough. When I feel led to transition out of participating in an activity in some capacity, I will trust that you know what is best for me and the others around me. I will humbly follow where you lead.
In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,
3 thoughts on “Be Still Series: Emptying our Plates”
Another wonder-filled episode! Thank YOU!
“…foregoing what is good for what is best” ❤️
“ …we will both be able to accomplish infinitely more for those entrusted to our care and for the kingdom if we surrender to God’s will for our lives”. Such loving truth.
Thanks for leaving some love!! Much appreciated!!