How often do you find yourself overcommitting to all the various things surrounding your life? Overcommitting as a Christian homemaker is an easy trap to fall in. There are so many things that are important to us that it can become hard to prioritize where we should dedicate our time.
It is especially true when we are also homeschoolers. That’s because we want to ensure our children have a well-rounded education and social experience. Plus, we are training them in scripture and the work of the Lord. Whether it is signing all the kids up for various sporting events, field trips, and co-ops or volunteering for work with your local church, we constantly make decisions that keep our lives busy. The reality is there is only so much you can do on a given day.
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I’ll be honest overcommitment has been one of my weaknesses. I struggle to know when it’s appropriate to say no. I think in part that’s because I tend to be a people pleaser, but it’s also because I don’t want to fall into the trap of being idle. So, I try to fill up my time.
Growing up as a preacher’s kid meant we were always busy doing Christian things. Sometimes it was attending events at sister congregations, hosting Bible studies, and helping members of the church. There was always something to do.
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve come to understand what that might have looked like for my mom. As a homemaker, it was her responsibility to care for the children, keep the home, grocery shop, and cook meals for her family of six. Add to that all the other church-related things there was a lot for her to juggle. But, she always did those things without complaint and with joy.
It became second nature for me to follow in her footsteps. But, over nearly 30 years of marriage, I’ve come to realize that sometimes I create busyness where none would have existed otherwise. And other times, I find myself saying yes to things that I shouldn’t take on.
When You Are Overcommitting as a Christian
It isn’t easy to say no. Nor is it easy to continue life at a frenzied pace. When we get into this space, we often find ourselves multitasking. But, multitasking means that you aren’t truly focused on anything. Thus, something is going to suffer.
When we overcommit, we only give each thing a limited focus. We end up with scattered results in most of the things we’re doing.
How often have you found yourself wishing that something you did was a little bit better? Or, if you’d had the time, would you have done it a little differently.
Most often, when you feel like this, it’s because there were so many other things going on that you let go of doing it right. Now, I’m not saying that good enough is a bad thing. Sometimes, finished is better than not done.
But, if you could have prioritized it differently, could you have fully finished the task with a focused mindset? Learning to prioritize your obligations helps you focus on what’s needed rather than just getting it done.
Truth is when we spread ourselves too thin we lose any joy we migth otherwise have found in the work. And, we become the not so happy mom we don’t ever want our children to see. I think busyness is one of Satan’s tools that he uses to distract us from contentment.
Three Ways for Reducing Overcommitment in Your Life
1- Make Decisions about What is Priority
Many things pull at our time that can lead us to overcommit. Not all of which are bad things. When we make decisions about what the most important aspects of our lives are it helps us to define where and how we will use our time.
Make a list of the five most important aspects of your life. Prioritize them in order of importance. Then whenever you have to decide what you will and will not commit to, ask yourself where the thing fits in with your priorities.
An example might be as follows:
- Worship and Spiritual Care (This includes family and personal Bible study both with the church and at home)
- Family Bonding (This includes time dedicated to the family, homeschooling, game nights, vacation, might even include meals)
- Household Needs (This includes meal planning, household chores, grocery shopping, etc.)
- Family Health & Well-being (This includes exercise, medical/dental, and self-care)
- Care for Others (Extended family, friends, and serving in the church or community)
Know that it’s OK to prioritize your family above other people’s families. Because the role that God has given to women, found in Titus 2, is that we are to love our husbands, caretakers of the children, and keepers of the home.
2- Understand that Time is Finite
Did you know that there are only 168 hours in a week? If you sleep an average of 8 hours a night, that leaves only 72 hours for other tasks. Seventy-two hours isn’t a lot of time when you think about it.
Learning how to use your time is what is important. Look at the priorities you are setting. What comes first? How will you dedicate a portion of those 72 hours to each priority?
If you like planning out your day, you can dedicate specific time to each thing. Break up your daily tasks and give them a set amount of time.
If however, you prefer a more organic approach to your day you can simply choose a household routine that works for you, and then fill your time doing other things that fit within your priority list.
3- Learn How to Say No
This may be the hardest thing to accomplish. We start to feel as if when we say no we are disappointing whoever is asking. At the same time, we often can create work for ourselves that doesn’t exist because we can try to solve problems for other people.
Learn how to say no graciously. I’ve found that when faced with a decision for doing something outside of what is normal for me if I pray about it asking for help to have the wisdom to choose the right thing, I’ll make a better decision than if I respond quickly.
Some examples of How to Say No
- Ask for time to pray about the decision, and say, “I’d like to pray about this. Can I get back to you on (choose a day)?”
- I’m sorry, I’ve got another priority on that day/time.
- I simply can’t take that on right now. I would be happy to help in another way. (Maybe you can’t teach at the co-op or a Bible class but you could help elsewhere).
- That isn’t going to work with my schedule but I could do a different day.
- I’m sorry I do not have time to take this on.
- That falls during our children’s homeschool hours and I have to prioritize their lessons. (Be prepared for pushback, some will say… “Oh well, I thought homeschooling was flexible.” It’s OK to say, “Yes, we do try to be flexible, but there are still lessons that have to be worked through, and at this time we don’t have the availability for this event.“
Saying no isn’t a sign of weakness. It is taking control of your time and using it for a specific purpose.
I’m not suggesting using that time to be idle, but using the time you do have in a way that is to the benefit of your spiritual self, your family needs, and thoughtfully to be helpful to others in your community.
What about you? Have you found ways to be more thoughtful about your time commitments? How are you ensuring you aren’t overcommitting your life Christian homemaker? Share your thoughts in the comments below.