I love saying yes. For as long as I can remember I’ve found trying new things exhilarating and challenges fun.
However, because I love saying yes I have a tendency to overcommit. This has led to some interesting breakdowns, which have made me more self-aware and taught me the importance of boundaries.
I’ve heard personal boundaries described as being like a fence between two neighbour’s yards. While it’s appropriate to work together to maintain the fence, it is not appropriate for one neighbour to look over the fence and say, “Your grass looks horrible. You should cut it.” It is also not appropriate for a neighbour to say, “I don’t like how you’ve done your yard. I’m going to come over and fix it up for you the way I think it should look.” This neighbour is only responsible for what is in his yard. Even if his neighbour’s yard does look awful, it is not his problem.
In the process of setting and maintaining personal boundaries I’ve learned more about what I need to be at my best. I’ve also discovered when I don’t enforce my personal boundaries I find myself allowing others to tell me what I should do and how I should act—as a result I become unbalanced and experience self-doubt.
To help get me back on track when I overcommit and feel unbalanced, I have a three-step process, which helps me regain focus.
Step One: Relax
When I’m out of balance the first thing I experience is intense FOMO. I become so focused on the thought missing out or letting someone down I forget to ask if I even want to say yes. Instead of stressing over what may happen if I say no I instead redirect my energy and ask God for help. My goal: trust Him to take care of me and help me make a wise decision.
“Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes. Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” (Isaiah 30:20-21 NLT)
Step Two: Remember
When I overcommit I’m at risk of becoming overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. To break this cycle, I remember God’s faithfulness in my life, and of His unchanging trustworthiness throughout history. Here’s the truth: He will remain faithful but I need to keep focused on Him instead of me.
“He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.” (Proverbs 2:8-9)
Step Three: Rest
When I’m unbalanced the first thing to go are my good habits like eating properly and getting enough sleep. I make it my mission to leave my stress at the cross and get the rest I need so I can be at my best. When I feel doubt creeping in I look up promises in the Bible and choose to hope in them.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:4-6)
As I continue on my journey of savouring more and worrying less I know maintaining balance and boundaries are key.