A couple years ago the volunteers coming up were pumpkins. I had tossed the remains of a pie pumpkin in the tired-out Autumn garden the October before. April came around and we planted a few rows of green beans. The beans came up alright, and right in the midst of all those beans, were some sprouts of pumpkin. I wasn’t expecting those sprouts, but there they were. Because I loved the idea of a bountiful harvest of pumpkins, I let them go, to see how they would fare.
Hindsight came to show, that, despite them being small and welcome in May, they became overwhelming and intrusive in July.
I learned my lesson that year. And this year, when the volunteer squash and tomatoes popped up – some were ripped out and some were transplanted. It pained me to have to rip out perfectly healthy plants, but I knew that if I didn’t pare down, nothing would really grow well.
Kind of like life, right?
There are a lot of things that we can say ‘yes’ to. And they can all be really good things.
But too many good things packed into a life means nothing is really thriving. Sure, they may all be growing…some. But nothing is really thriving and producing fruit like it should.
But, let’s not be quick to say no just because it feels like our life is too full already. Because, it could be exactly what God has brought across your path. So, how do we determine when we should politely decline, admitting that we can only grow green beans this year, or move ahead with a yes?
- Am I in a season where I can give this commitment the time and energy it deserves? Maybe a few things have dropped off your plate, making room for this in your schedule. If I’m already booked sun up to sun down, then this may be someone else’s yes and not mine.
- Would I be saying yes out of obligation or is it the Spirit prompting me? Being a people-pleaser, I really have to check myself on this one. You don’t want to commit out of obligation, that will only breed resentment. But, if the Spirit is telling you to move, you better move.
- Does this line up with my convictions and priorities? If you are finding your schedule full and there just isn’t any more room, it may be a good time to take a look at what you’ve already committed to. Is your life full of things that line up with your priorities (i.e. faith, family, etc) or has the schedule seemed to fill up with busy work and other people’s priorities that have been placed on you. If you are wanting to take on something new, something that does line up with your priorities, then some paring down may need to happen to allow that.
This is not an easy exercise. But if we are wanting to thrive, instead of just survive, it is necessary.
Your turn! What do you think? Do you have some volunteer plants in your own life that may need addressed? Do you have a hard time saying no, too? How do you combat the pull towards over-commitment?