"It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows." (Proverbs 20:25).
I tend to overcommit. I am a people-pleaser by nature, a "yes-woman" who likes to think she can do everything. And be everything to everybody. And so I rashly say "yes" far too often than I should. Without first considering whether I will be able to honor that commitment. Without praying about it and seeking God's will.
I've been here too many times in my life. Full of zeal for the idea of a new project with no realistic evaluation of my ability to execute that new project. And that other new project. And the project right over here. And just one more new project. Overcommitment is the pattern of my life. And the root of it is approval-seeking.
But, oh, how I long to be a servant of Christ! Dedicated to His work. Using my talents wisely. Living in the center of His will. Fulfilling His plan for my life. But I can't accomplish this and be a people-pleaser. I cannot serve two masters.
"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).To be a servant of Christ, I must recognize the unique talents, disposition, and desire God has given to me. And then I need to discern how best to serve Him with that foundation. In Philippians, Paul prays "it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve what is excellent...." (Philippians 1:9-10). My ESV Study Bible explains: "Paul's prayer is that . . . the Philippians' love would find expression in wise actions that would truly benefit others and glorify God . . . . to affirm and practice what is excellent."
I want to practice what is excellent. I want to benefit others and glorify God. I want to be wise - not rash - in my commitment decisions. And so that is my prayer these days, as I further define my role in my family and my calling in this world.
I do know that my God-given desire is to go deep with every task -- to research, plan, perfect, modify, consider, edit, learn, focus . . . and then execute. I am one of those people who wants to dig into the subject matter -- to seek expertise in each task. (For those of you who've seen my garden-planner 3-ring binder complete with charts, graphs, outlines, and diagrams -- you know what I mean. Pun intended.) God did not create me to be a generalist - a jack of all trades and master of none. So, attaching myself to too many projects just isn't the way I can benefit others and glorify God. I need to be selective to best use what God's given me. Yep, the overcommitment has got to go.
So the next time you see me, help me to practice that little word that is so foreign to me . . . . . "No." And please understand when I tell you, "I just can't commit to that today."