Topic: Over Commitment
Author: Alyssa Masula (Jonathan Alder H.S.)
I have to keep busy. I can’t survive without somewhere to be, something to do, something to devote myself to. I don’t know what to do with free time in my life. I thrive in times of stress and I feed on the pressure of perfection. I multitask better than a supercomputer. At least I tell myself that. I treat stress as this blanket of comfort that drives me to be a better person, and to an extent, that’s true, but I exaggerate it. I rely on it, and that’s not okay because, no matter how often I lie to myself, it’s not going to be fulfilling. I stuff my schedule with everything that sounds interesting to me without thinking about it for a second. My entire life is double-booked.
I don’t know how I got to this point, but I don’t know how to go back. I have a problem, but I can’t admit it. I have a problem. I can’t say “no”. It’s not a part of my character. I have to do everything, and I have to give it my all. I dedicate everything that I have to everything that I do, and I lose myself in the process. A big part of my problem is that I over commit.
- Overcommitted: transitive verb; to commit excessively; to obligate (as oneself) beyond the ability for fulfillment.
I stretch myself too thin. I’ll do anything to avoid a possible conflict or disappointment with others. I care too much about letting others down. Maybe I’m looking for fulfillment? Imagine wanting a nice, cold glass of milk to go with a pile of warm chocolate chip cookies. You open the refrigerator, pull out the milk jug, open the cap, and begin to pour, but the jug is completely empty. That’s the situation I’m in. I have some good things in my life, but they’re not fulfilling enough on their own, and I’m looking to an empty source to fill me up: activities and commitments.
I’ve been reading through Ecclesiastes lately, and it’s effecting me in strange ways. The book blatantly states that nothing under the sun matters, that it is all superficial and meaningless. I’m not generally an emotional person; however, during this study I have found myself sobbing over how much of my own worth that I put into earthly things. I’ve found myself ignoring my faith and the fulfillment that Jesus provides; looking for a replacement to that, but that’s not what He wants for me.
- Ecclesiastes 1:14 “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
- Ecclesiastes 12:13 “That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”
- Matthew 11:28-30: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Here are some steps that I’ve taken in my own life to help work through my issues of over commitment. This isn’t a guaranteed success program, but it’s helped me, a regular teenager (like you), more than I could have ever imagined.
1.Talk to someone: I have the hardest time opening up or admitting my problems to myself, let alone others, but it’s essential. Try talking to someone you love and trust. Tell them what you’re struggling with.
2.Prioritize: What are you doing in your life just because it looks good? What are you doing that you don’t enjoy? Why are you doing those in the first place? Eliminate those things from your life. Are those commitments more important than your mental health? You can’t let the stress and commitment ring victorious in the war for your emotional state, no matter how many battles it wins. Decide what’s most important to you, and focus on that. If you need help, ask others to help you prioritize your time.
3.Take breaks: Take some time away from all of the commitments and stress and remember to breathe. Do something you love. Take a walk, go for a jog, read, paint, anything. Just clear your head. Relax. Don’t go-go-go until you’ve exhausted yourself.
4.Listen: And then let God in. Just listen. One way that you can do that is through reading the Bible. Really sink into it. What does it mean? Listen to the words on the page and apply them. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Listen to other people that He’s placed into your life. Don’t be too arrogant to listen to anybody. Take advice.
- Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
You can over commit your life away until you are curled up in the fetal position by that wall if you want, or you can work to change your situation. Talk to someone you trust. Abandon some unnecessary commitments and wipe the tears from your face. Take time to find your peace and stand up. Listen to what Jesus is trying to say to you. You’re not alone, and you never will be. I guarantee that you can find more fulfillment than a double-booked planner and empty milk jug; it just takes a little effort.
Text: © 2017 LCC- F.R.O.G. Youth Ministry. Used with author’s permission * Image: © Clipartfest