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People-Pleasing + Passivity = Overcommitment

Yesterday, we talked about letting life get too loud for quiet time due to underestimating the time a responsibility will take.

Today, lets look at two more reasons we crowd our calendars and have trouble getting everything accomplished; why we are resentful at the tasks we are doing (when….ahem….it seems others aren’t carrying their weight in the “doing” department).

I see two.

The first, (touched on by some of you in your comments yesterday) People pleasing.

We let the word “yes” roll off of our tongues without missing a beat; we sign up to help or volunteer to cook or make room for another outside commitment all because we are addicted to the approval of others.

Can I get an “Amen”?

Some of us will readily admit it. I am one such person. Yep, it is true. I want to be known as helpful, willing and capable.

It has caused me great heartache. Not only because I say “yes” too much and kick into overload but because when I do listen to God telling me to say “no” and do so, I disappoint people; make them mad. Then, well they go on and find another person who will say “yes” and I get left in the dust.

However, if someone just wants me as a friend so I will “do” and cares not for us just “being”, well then, do I really want them as a friend in the first place?

People-pleasing is a snare. It causes stress and tempts us to put our family behind others. You know, sign up to take a five course meal to another family who just had a baby or illness or death and then that night feed our own family leftovers or lunch meat sandwiches on stale bread.

Ouch! (Been there. Fed that.)

We have GOT to get to the place where we care more about obeying God than pleasing people. So, if through your walk with Him, He has clearly shown you that you are overcommitted and have no wiggle room available to take on one more thing, then politely decline and DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! (talkin’ to myself on that one!)

The Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 that, “The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected.” (HCSB)

What a word picture! Ever been tripped up in life, caught in a snare, all because you feared what someone would think of you if you said “no”?

We need to focus on the second half of that verse. If we trust in God, we will be protected. Our time will be protected. Our hearts and emotions will be protected.

Fear God, not man. (Or, in most cases, woman!)

Another reason we get overloaded?

Passivity.

My husband is pretty intentional not to get over-loaded with commitments. Sometimes, I wish I were more like him.

He is a low-to-medium capacity person who operates best with lots of down time. He is energized by being alone.

I am a high-capacity person who works best when I have at least some tasks in my day. (If faced with a day with no appointments, I can procrastinate and waste time rather than use the free-time wisely) I am energized by being with people.

Todd, when listening to me lament over the years at the times I was stretched too thin, says a very wise thing, “Karen, if you aren’t intentional to fill your time, there are dozens of people out there waiting to fill it for you!”

How true! When we are passive we are easily talked into filling our time with someone else’s agenda for us, not God’s plans for us. We need to stop.

Instead, we must get our marching orders from God and then follow them without apologizing or over-explaining ourselves. (my big flaw!)

As I said last night on Twitter, “You don’t need that person’s permission to do God’s will. Now, stop worrying what their response will be an go obey Him!!!”

Okay– your turn. Do you see these two reasons—-people-pleasing and passivity—-come into play when a gal is overcommitted? How so?

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34 Comments

  1. Hallo Karen

    8 years later and your article is still relevant. I am grateful that you wrote this article. I have been struggling with overcommitting and this time I have embarrassed myself.
    I overcommit because it makes me “feel good” but that’s not the truth. I feel burned out.
    I overcommit because I don’t want to miss out on a good opportunity but I realize that I have missed on great opportunities because my hands were too full .

    My husband has the same discipline as your husband and I envy him so much.
    I am grateful that he is got that part of his lie under control otherwise I don’t think I would realize my weakness.

    My commitment for this 2021 is to focus only on what I need to do. I have no clue how I am going to do that but I am willing to try and trust Gods leadership.

    Blessings
    Khanyisile
    South Africa

    1. Oops noticed some errors…so I am going to correct them, lol.

      Hallo Karen

      8 years later and your article is still relevant. I am grateful that you wrote this article. I have been struggling with overcommitting and this time I have embarrassed myself.
      I overcommit because it makes me “feel good” but that’s not the truth. I feel burned out.
      I overcommit because I don’t want to miss out on a good opportunity but I realize that I have missed out on great opportunities because my hands were too full .

      My husband has the same discipline as your husband and I envy him so much.
      I am grateful that he has got that part of his life under control otherwise I don’t think I would realize my weakness.

      My commitment for 2021 is to focus only on what I need to do. I have no clue how I am going to do that but I am willing to try and trust Gods leadership.

      Blessings
      Khanyisile
      South Africa

  2. Hey! I just saw you on “made to crave” action plan DVD. I’m also reading the first chapter of your organizing book. Your story on the MTC DVD was my favorite; and most like my own.

  3. AMEN to very single word you wrote. I am guilty of overcommitting, preparing meals and baling goodies while family eats leftovers. I have lashed out on my family because I had zero energy from all my commitments. I ignored God’s still small voice saying slow down for your family’s sake. Recently I started turning things down and being more intentional about my time and yes, I feel a void because I don’t feel useful to anyone. Instead of enjoying time with my family, I wallow in my insecure self pity and guilt nonsense. So thank you for this message. I kinda knew I HAVE to slow down and it is a good thing that I am slowly simplifying my schedule but it didn’t stop the guilt from gnawing at me. Thanks, Karen.

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