Overcommitment: Being a faithful steward rather than a stressed-out achiever

A full plate doesn’t live up to the hype.


Creed Bauman

That visceral reaction to drowning in a sea of assignments.

Jon Kratzberg, Staff Writer

We are a people all too often suffocated by overcommitment.

For many Westmont students, this statement, or ones like it, strikes a chord in their hearts. While overcommitment is not everyone’s battle, it is a tiring one for the ones who are fighting it.

Whether writing our names down for five clubs at the community picnic, or taking 20 units a semester to get that double major, we like to say “yes” and aren’t so good at saying “no.” Often, this lifestyle of commitments upon commitments leaves us feeling overwhelmed, overworked and miserable. 

On top of that, as we try to balance our spiritual, academic, social and extracurricular lives, we end up making cuts in our life that shouldn’t be optional. Such life changes include: skipping meals or chapel to get work done or saying that we only need to sleep four hours today, rather than the recommended seven to nine. There must be a better option, so what do we do?

I propose one solution to our overcommitment problem is actually not growing in saying “no,” but in saying “yes” to who we really are. Normally, the cure to overcommitment we tend to hear in conversation is “just commit to less.” While great in sound and theory, this suggestion to “commit to less” often gets pushed aside as the resume we need to fill out, or our burning desires to experience another great thing call us to say “yes” again and again. Again, these details do not describe everyone, but from what I have heard, they are prevalent thoughts in our community. 

So when the dust settles on our attempts to “commit less,” and we often have to make sacrifices in the wake of our repeated “yeses,” how do we look forward and try to fix this issue? Granted, “issue” is a strong word, but for many of us, saying “yes” a lot pushes us to work hard and to grow as people. The amount of commitments that push one person to do better may bury another person in stress and hurry. How can we help relieve this stress?

I argue that we cure this stress and hurry by diving deep into our identity in Christ Jesus. However, with all the competing narratives telling us what to value and who to be, the voice of truth can get lost in the sea of mockers. It’s hard to sift through these voices, but let’s remind ourselves of the authority on this subject: God.

Just as a watchmaker knows the exact identity and purpose of his watches, so our Heavenly Father knows these details about us. Moreover, God graciously blessed us with the opportunity to receive the answer to these questions through Scripture.

As we look through Scripture, I suggest we turn to the letters of Paul to get a clear painting of who we are in Jesus. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul says that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” This verse paints a beautiful picture, reminding us that we are intentionally made by God. He does not view us as pieces of waste, but rather as his handiwork. 

Moreover, if we go back to Ephesians 1, we find that we are also God’s adopted children. As Paul says about those who are in Jesus, “he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).

As God’s children, we don’t need to do anything to get our Father’s attention. He loves us as we are, because that’s who He is. Applied to our commitments, these verses mean that we don’t have to do anything. We are loved by God and in Him given the freedom to do the things he has laid out before us and given the responsibility, not the pressure, to do them all.

Moreover, we need not worry about doing enough so God can use us in the future. As Jesus tells us in Matthew, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Mathew 6:27). More than money or an expensive house, the time in which we get to live is the most valuable resource we have. No matter how hard you try, you can’t increase it beyond what God has given you. Why waste this time by stressing out about being “enough” for God’s kingdom?

I come with great tidings: You are already enough in Christ Jesus. Put down that pen; you don’t need to sign up for that club/team/class because you think it will make you more valuable, your value is in Christ. Take time, pray about it, and by living into your new identity, you don’t have to be anxious about saying “yes” to a club because you have to, but rather you get to say “yes” to the works God has laid out for you.

If that consists of a lot of things, God will equip you to do them well—just remember to lean on Him. If God has only set out a few things before you, you are not less than anyone else. You are not less useful, less valuable or less loved.

There is no reason to reach for more than what God has given you in order to try to prove to Him that you are enough. He is the one who spoke that over you before He “knit [you] together in [your] mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).


Opinions expressed in letters and other editorials, unless otherwise stated, are those of the writers and not of The Horizon staff or the college collectively.

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