i should be committed

Something had to change.

It was 2 a.m. and I was drowning in a sea of chaos. I had just given birth to my son, Micah, a few months earlier and my daughter, Molly was three years old.

During my pregnancy, in my infinite wisdom, I decided it was the perfect time to take on the enormous task of self-publishing a monthly, 32-page family magazine for our community.

Yes, I had a partner. But we needed an army to do all that needed to be done to make it happen every month.

So, I did the only logical thing that someone who was already ridiculously overcommitted could do. I kept and added even more responsibilities.

I was leading a weekly Bible Study.

I was in charge of newspaper marketing for a local eye care center.

I was producing a church’s monthly newsletter.

I was writing a local hospital’s eight-page quarterly community newsletter.

I was helping my husband lead a Sunday School class.

And I was losing my mind.

That night, the kids were sleeping peacefully. I wasn’t up for a 2 a.m. feeding. Or to soothe a crying toddler. No, here I sat, running on fumes, working on magazine layouts — surrounded by dirty dishes and piles of laundry.

Until an almost audible question suddenly pierced my sleepy brain.

What are you doing?

It was as if, in an instant, God gave me shocking clarity.

What was I doing? Everything. My marriage and my children were the biggest casualties of my inability to say “no.” They paid the price for my insatiable need to please — regardless of my own limitations.

I immediately knew what I had to do. I was so anxious to do it I could hardly wait for the hour that sane people got up.

The next day I told my partner I couldn’t do the magazine anymore. “It’s for the best,” she said. Then we sat down and ate our way through a half gallon of Snickers ice cream.

I then went to work to pare down the rest of my responsibilities, leaving only those I felt I could do without compromising my commitment to God and family.

My people pleasing received its first flesh wound that night.  It gave life to my sanity and my family — and so many other truly important things in my world.

More than 13 years later, I still do battle with my people pleasing tendencies. I can’t let my guard down. When I do, that same question comes back to me, “What are you doing?”

It keeps me anchored to the reality of the life I truly want — a life of freedom. A life guided by God and not driven by my own need to fill my ego with the approval of others.

Yes, I should be committed.  I’m just much more discerning about what and who is worthy of my dedication.

Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10 (NLT)

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5 Comments

  • “It keeps me anchored to the reality of the life I truly want — a life of freedom. A life guided by God and not driven by my own need to fill my ego with the approval of others.” This is so good, and so challenging. I’m in an evaluating season right now – trying to figure out what needs to go and how to better organize the things that are important to me – because I don’t have the margin in life that I need to feel free. I’m too busy and always tired and it’s driving me mad. I think as an “achiever” who thrives on challenge and producing, having small children that don’t leave much room for things outside of caring for them is forcing me to let some of that go for the time being. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m learning. Now I’m wondering where my ego plays out in this process. Thanks for giving me something to think and pray about.

    Reply
    • {Melinda} Adriel, I have been where you’ve been. Wanting to do so many things, having so much creative energy, but a serious time deficit when my children were small. You said you have to “let some things go for the time being.” That is key!! Your little ones will grow up. As they do, your time and energies will be freed up to pursue things that right now only exhaust and frustrate you and drain you of the energy and patience you need for your family. Those things that you have to let go of FOR NOW will keep. I promise. Your sweet little ones won’t. The window of influence you have over their minds and hearts is at its peak when they are small. You don’t want to miss that window!

      My “little ones” are now 15 and 12. For years, I back burned things … not completely. But I adjusted my ambitions to what I could do and still be available and present with my kids. But now, I’m finding I’m able to start to bring those things back to the forefront because they are older and my time is freeing up in a way I couldn’t have imagined 5 or 10 years ago. They still need me, but it’s different now. I DO NOT regret for one second the opportunities “lost” — they were not really lost. Just “on hold” for a time when it better suited my family and priorities. You are a talented woman. Those talents will keep and explode when the time is right!

      Reply
  • {Melinda} Yes, I’m not sure I would have listened if it had been anything short of divine intervention! I’m so grateful that God pursues us in our dysfunction and helps bring us to wholeness and freedom! 🙂

    Reply

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i’m melinda

I PROVIDE WOMEN WITH RESOURCES FOR HEALING AND WHOLENESS

I’m a woman who was radically changed when the God I thought I knew since childhood opened my eyes to the overwhelming depth of His love for me. I love speaking, writing, and pointing women to the Father so they can experience for themselves the healing power of His incredible, captivating love.

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