Written by Sarah Vanek.
Dear, Overcommitted Leader:
Your passion is contagious. Your devotion, admirable. Your work ethic, what everyone desires to imitate. Those around you respect you for always giving more. For showing up early, and staying late. For taking on the extra work that no one else is willing to do. And for doing it all with a smile.
But I know you. I know you’re tired. Weak. Exhausted. I know that you wish someone would come and take just a little responsibility off your shoulders. I know you yearn for rest—true rest—but that you’re afraid of it. You’re afraid of what will happen if you stop for a short while. You’re afraid of what will happen around you, and of what will happen in you.
You work hard to maintain your role by day. But when you’re alone, you lament being so busy. You grieve the things you used to love. You wish that somehow, you could hit pause for an hour. Just an hour. But you can’t. Because you have to rush to the next thing. Your daughter’s recital. Your work meeting. Your night class. Even your Bible study. Maybe even all of them in one night.
Everything is a blur. You’re just going through the motions. Wake up. Coffee. Bible. Work. School. Meeting. Project. Volunteer. Drive. Kids. Supper. Dishes. Sleep. Wake up. And you’re wondering when it all ends. Because, even though you’re proud of yourself for handling it all, you know what it’s really doing. It’s destroying you. It’s destroying your life. It’s keeping you from being who God’s called you to be. And you can keep letting it if you want to. Or, you can step up to the plate and be the leader that He’s made you.
It’s time for you to make a choice, Overcommitted Christian Leader. You can keep going like this, and burnout. (Trust me, you’re not the exception to the rule.) Or, you can make some changes. You can decide that after you finish what you’ve already committed to, you’re going to cut where cuts can be made. Even if it’s small.
Don’t know where to start? Pray. Ask God where He wants you to cut. And ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Chances are, there are some things that you do simply because you feel obligated to. Or, because it’s what you’ve done for years. Or, because someone else told you to. Or, because you’re trying to maintain an image. Because you want everyone else to see you as that man or woman who has it all together. Because you’re trying to convince everyone that you’re good enough. Maybe even because you’re trying to convince yourself that you’re good enough.
Well, good news. God has already made you good enough. He knew you couldn’t make it on your own, so he made it for you. So, you can stop killing yourself trying now. Just sink into His arms. He’s been waiting for you. He’s crazy about you. And it hurts Him to see you like this. Yes, He made you to work, but He didn’t make you to work so much that you’d stop enjoying Him. He wants to give you rest—rest that you can only find in Him. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28? “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Will you loosen your grip enough to let Him offer that rest? Or, will you continue to go through life strung-out and bitter? It is up to you.
A Former Overcommitted Leader