Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Good for What is Best

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 most significant contributors to burnout is piling responsibilities on top of responsibilities, without ever considering if those 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!

Today’s post in the Simply 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 the 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, about a year ago. 

I found myself in school (yet again!), only this time for my Doctorate. At the time, I really sensed God wanted me back in school to open up new doors with a higher level of education. I was right about the school part, but wrong about the focus area. You see, I was pursuing a Doctor of Public Administration to supplement my Masters in the same subject area. I was about a semester or two in when I sensed God gently pressing me to stop. I had no idea why; nor did I know what else He might want me to pursue.

Nonetheless, I obeyed and withdrew.

Within a few weeks, God was igniting a long-dormant call to pursue ministry. Within a few more months I started down a path which could culminate in ordination, and just this week I begin a new higher education journey in seminary. What a whirlwind! Do you think I could have been able to identify what God wanted my next steps to be if I didn’t create margin by first relinquishing some responsibilities on my plate? Maybe. Probably not.

You see, I LOVED going for my doctorate! I thrive when I’m surrounded by minds brighter than my own, pushing me to think beyond what I’m currently capable of. Is pursuing a higher education bad? Nope! But here’s the thing: those were my plans, not His. Once I sensed that God had different plans for me, I adjusted my course. I didn’t know why or to what end. I simply obeyed.

God took care of the rest of the details and revealed some of the missing pieces once I was open to seeing them. I still don’t have all the pieces in front of me, but I trust Him and now I know through Spirit-led affirmations that I am indeed on the right path this time…at least until God gives me new directions.

Our stories will look different, but there will be a common dominator between you and I:  we can 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 at all. Think of it as the maintenance phase in weight loss. That juice cleanse won’t help much if we drive to Starbucks for some creamy, caffeinated goodness as soon as the cleanse is up!


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,


One thought on “Simply Still Series: How to Forego What is Good for What is Best

  1. Helen,
    I love that you are continuing your education, AND this change of direction for you! You are so good at putting your thoughts into words. Congratulations and best always in your journey.

    I decided to limit & exchange social media and ‘phone games’ for yoga and walking this new year, to help me physically, mentally and spiritually to become the best me possible. In retirement I have so many choices, yet I need reminding to stay focused on the preciousness of time. It flies as you know. But it was so good to catch up with your own plans when I saw them here this morning. Glad I checked in for a few moments. Your new direction seems, to me, so natural. Much love, Dawn


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