Strength for the Soul

ARTICLES OF ENCOURAGEMENT: IS IT YOUR CALLING OR AN OVER-COMMITMENT?

When Woman Discovers Her Dream book cover

Are you finding yourself overscheduled and stressed out? Do you wish you could spend more time at work or activities that make your heart sing?

Just about every woman I talk to struggles with busyness and stress. The problem is we can be as stressed and busy as we let ourselves become. Most of the time stress rears its ugly head in my life when I've taken on too many commitments that are not within the realm of my dream and purpose. It's easy to over commit ourselves when we see opportunities in front of us or obligations pressing in on us. But if you know what your calling is, you will know when to say "no" and when to confidently give your "yes."

After saying "yes" to too many things for which I should've said "no," I came up with three questions that I now run by myself in order to gauge if an opportunity is related to my specific calling, or if it's something I should confidently pass up, to avoid over commitment and eventually, burnout.

When there's a dream on our hearts, or a burden we feel we must pursue, or we're simply asked to do something, we have to figure out if it's what we'd like to do, or what someone else would like us to do, or if it's what God is calling us to do. You can determine the answer and gain discernment by asking yourself these three questions:

1. Is this something someone else can just as easily do? If so, then maybe you are not necessarily being called to do it. All through our Christian lives, we will see opportunities to fulfill needs and we should help to do so if we are able, along with fellow believes. Serving others should be a part of our lives, but such service won't necessarily be the same as a special calling. If we don't put parameters around our volunteer hours we will do whatever comes up and find ourselves overscheduled and lacking joy. But if you focus on what only you can do, a sense of purpose will come into the picture. The calling God has on our lives is often something only you can do.

2. Is this something I have a strong heart's desire to do? God generally calls us to a task we would enjoy doing, or that matches some of our natural abilities or areas of spiritual giftedness. And He'll often call us toward something that for awhile has been burning on our hearts. If you have a conviction about taking action in a certain area, that may be God calling you forward. But if you are feeling guilty because no one else is doing something, that may be a tendency of yours to rescue a situation, not necessarily a calling on your heart by God. I often tell others "If you don't like children, don't volunteer to work in the church nursery. You'll be miserable and so will the children." On the other hand, if your heart is stirring for an opportunity and you can't wait to jump in, it may be something God is leading you toward.

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