For those of you who know me well, you may dub me the “Queen of Overcommitment”. It’s a weakness that I have struggled with for many years. I am a “striver”. I want to donate every spare ounce of my money and time, and then some. It wasn’t until recently that I came to realize that my continuous overcommitment was, in fact, a sin.
Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries shared on her Facebook yesterday:
“Before saying yes to one more thing on my schedule today, I should ask myself…
Am I trying to prove something?
Am I trying to impress someone?
Have I thought through the cost of saying yes?
I always try to keep this thought in mind: just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should do it.”
In first Corinthians, Paul shares, “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”–but not everything is constructive.
Understand here that while certain things may be permissible to us as Christ followers, the same things may not be beneficial. For instance, I believe that alcohol consumption in moderation is permissible to us as Christians. However, if I were to ever find myself in a position where drinking alcohol would bring temptation to an alcoholic or taint my testimony in the eyes of someone with me, I should refrain.
In the same way, I have come to believe and understand that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should. As Lysa shared, it is vital that I first evaluate my heart before “saying yes to one more thing on my schedule”. By doing so, we can rest assured that our motives are pure, and that our eagerness to serve is born out of a desire to further the Kingdom rather than for self-gratification.
As I look back to my commitments (both fulfilled and broken) over the past year, I wonder how many times I would have saved myself and my family from heartache had I simply searched my heart before committing to a project or a donation. I wonder how much of God’s plan I’ve missed because I was too busy focusing on doing what was “right” in the eyes of the Church or in the eyes of my family. I wonder how much more effective I would have been if I added a little self-care into my schedule, and allowed myself the rest my body, mind and soul have longed for.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus himself calls us to a place of rest. He beckons, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” If my heart is filled with all the reckless abandon of one living in the freedom of the Cross, I will seek out not what is permissible, but that which is beneficial. I will not make a competition out of volunteer work, gifts, donations, tithing, time spent in prayer or fasting or meditation. I will focus on living in the grace granted me by faith, and let go of the striving. I will bask in the full love and acceptance of my Father in Heaven. And I will learn intentionally what it is to rest.
Friends, let’s find a place of intentional rest this week.