Over-Committed: When More Isn’t More
Several years ago, I stumbled across a post on social media that asked readers what their favorite emotion or feeling was. Predictably, most of the responses were synonyms for “happiness” or “joy.” A handful of people chose words relating to feeling at peace, such as “calm” or “rested.”
I remember not relating to the listed responses. Sure, I liked feeling happy and rested, but the answer that immediately sprang to mind was something different. My favorite feeling was relief.
I liked being “done.” I liked getting things over with. I liked finishing projects and tying up loose ends. I craved the moments immediately following finishing a paper, or meeting a writing deadline. I loved arriving home after an event I’d coordinated or a meeting I’d attended.
My response signaled something I wasn’t willing to admit. I was over-scheduled, over-committed, and overwhelmed. Do you ever feel that way?
Finishing something meant something was removed from my plate. It meant a moment to breathe.
And it was always just that – a moment. My plate never became empty….never scaled down to a manageable amount. I always replaced one commitment or assignment with another. As soon as I finished a project, I took on another.
We live in a culture where “busy” means better. We are constantly repositioning our lives and our schedules to take on more. We’ve bought into the belief system that we will be happier, more successful, “better” people if we are busier. More stuff. More work. More commitments. MORE.
I don’t think we were meant to live this way. I could take on more work if I wanted to. I could attend more events, fly out to more conferences, write more articles, say “yes” to every invitation, lead more, do more, be more, work more. There is always going to be “more” we can do.
But, is the “more” really MORE?
Are the things you are taking on in your life beneficial? Do they fill you with joy or drain you of your resources? Are you just trying to get through your commitments are or you enjoying them? At the end of the day do you have anything left to give? Do you have any margin in your life?
I am realizing more and more that I don’t want to merely tolerate my life. I don’t want to keep my head down and “just get through” my days. I don’t like living in dread of upcoming meetings, appointments, and deadlines. I am learning when to say no. I am learning to evaluate the things I put on my plate and fill my time with. I am learning that when I give more to certain areas of my life, I have LESS in others.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and craving that moment to breathe, I challenge you to stop and evaluate the things you are filling up your life with. What brings you joy? What benefits your family? What can you change?
We have to find balance. We are not a never-ending fountain of resources, time, and energy. No matter what society tells you, we CANNOT do it all. We have to learn to make the choices that are right for us and our family. We have to learn when to say yes and when to say no. We have to give ourselves the freedom to have margin.
You deserve breathing room. You deserve time with your kids. You deserve time to do things you enjoy. An over-committed life is hard to maintain and will come at a cost.
My hope and prayer for you is that when you stop and consider what your favorite “feeling” is, that you won’t be craving relief. I pray that you are resting in joy….in calm….in delight. Life is meant to be delighted in – not tolerated or drudged through.
When you find yourself with room on your plate and in your schedule, fill it up with something that makes you happy – that makes others happy – that makes you better. I’ve spent so much of my life chasing success – trying to be the “best.” I’m learning that I’m never going to be the “best” writer, “best” blogger, or even the “best” homeschooler. But, I can be the best version of myself. I can be the best Bekki. And when I’m living an over-committed and over-scheduled life, I am far from the best version of myself.
I’m choosing to do less, recognizing that the type of “more” I’m interested in doesn’t come from the MORE we fill our days with. Take stock. Prioritize. Decide what is most important to you. Work to develop margin in your life so that you can truly have more of what matters.
*For more encouragement, please check out Diary of a Supermom. (These are my favorite posts to write, and the ones that often go unwritten because of the “mores” I’ve chosen in the past. I’m resolving to do MORE of the writing I truly love!)