I wish I had learned much earlier in life that overcommitment can be a sin. Sometimes we put good before God, and we assume that something good is definitely what we are supposed to do. When we jump into a commitment headfirst without even prayerfully consulting God, we can find our plate completely full—even overflowing—and all of a sudden we are unable to do anything with excellence. Instead, we are exhausted, cranky, treating our spouse, roommates or friends poorly because of our overcommitments, and doing everything half-heartedly. This is not holy or good!
What has God called you to do? Maybe it involves saying no to something so that you can say yes to what is best. Maybe it looks a lot simpler than the list He is giving your sister. When He calls you to follow Him, who are you to say, “But what about her?” Instead, we are called to be disciples of Christ, to set our gaze on Him, and to chase after Him wholeheartedly. If you are simply saying yes to something because your friend is, or because it sounds fun, or because you feel pressured … let me encourage you to pause, pray, and wait before you agree.
We often hear about how God loves a cheerful giver, and that is often preached in relation to financial giving or tithing. That absolutely applies, but I think God also enjoys someone who gives cheerfully of their time, commitment, and intentionally lives with a surrendered heart. When we give of ourselves too freely, then we find ourselves feeling burdened to fulfill those obligations. No longer can we give cheerfully because we are just so darn exhausted that we can’t think straight. Then as the giving becomes about the obligation to do, suddenly our hearts have turned toward bitterness and frustration.
You may have the physical time, but does that mean it is what God wants for you to be engaged in emotionally, mentally, and spiritually? Or maybe you have the mental capacity to commit to something, but it means your calendar would be so full that you would have no time with the Lord or no margin in your week.
I often found in college that when I intentionally scheduled free time and prayed that the Lord would show me how to use it, He did. Sometimes this looked like a friend showing up at my door crying and needing to talk, and because I had nothing planned then, I was able to invite her in for coffee and a Kleenex. Or maybe it would be that I had cleared my schedule for Friday on the previous Sunday, with no way of knowing that I would catch a cold and be completely exhausted and need a nap that weekend. The Lord is not surprised by our schedule, so when we schedule in those free moments and ask Him to use them as He sees fit, He will do so.
Don’t view overcommitment as what everyone is doing. View it as a challenge for your heart to evaluate what God has called you to do specifically. And if it means saying no to some things so that you can say yes to Him, I promise you will not regret it. Sometimes we feel as if God is not speaking to us, but in reality it’s that we are not making any time to listen. Get still with Him today, ask Him what He has for you, and then be willing to actually listen to His answer and respond obediently.
Wisdom from the Word: 2 Corinthians 9:6–15; Psalm 103