In today's installment, we are examining the phenomenon of "overpromising".
Have you ever done that?
My family would say that I am a woman of action. I love to "do things". I am happiest when my calendar is full, when I'm engaged in meaningful activities. Add to that - - - I am a "forest person", not a "tree person". If you want to make me unhappy, force me to "count beans" or to focus on details. I'm a visionary, not one to love "the fine points".
All of this is a prescription for "overpromising"!
If there is an exciting project with potential positive impact for Jesus Christ's kingdom, I'm ready to jump in with both feet!
Enough about me ... what about you? Do you "overpromise"?
1My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor,
and have become a guarantor for a stranger,
2if you have been ensnared by the words you have uttered,
and have been caught by the words you have spoken,
3then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself,
because you have fallen into your neighbor’s power:
go, humble yourself,
and appeal firmly to your neighbor.
4Permit no sleep to your eyes
or slumber to your eyelids.
5Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare,
and like a bird from the trap of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1-5 (NET)
- co-signing on a loan that puts your assets at severe risk
- getting in over your head with debt
But, the general principle is the same when you broaden it out to other life areas.
I'm thinking of the precious Christian lady at our church who leads our children's ministry. Yesterday, she and her team executed a marvelous end-of-summer "carnival" in our children's department. But, notice....she does not take up the offering. She does not greet people as they come in to church. She does not lead in worship. She does not work on the tech team. What she DOES do is to narrow her focus and then to do what she does REALLY WELL!
See? Some of us have this tendency to believe that the MORE things we do, the more valuable we are, or the more "good" we are, or the more .... whatever. And, this is IDOLATRY! Yes, it is idolatry that is rooted in sanctimonious pride! As Christians, particularly Christians who actually do get out there and work for Christ's kingdom, we can be especially prone to this very idol.
Hear this: your value to your Savior is not going to be increased by your overcommitment. He cannot, nor will not, love you any more or any less than He does at this very moment. His love for you is perfect, right now! It is important that you LISTEN to His voice when contemplating a new venture to be sure that it is HIS will being implemented, not.yours.
Let's now focus on verses 2-5. If you find that you have fallen into such a trap of overpromising, do NOT bravely "muddle through", hoping it will end well. It probably won't, and your foolish choices will bring dishonor to the name of your Savior. Ask for help! Go to those who can help; admit your overestimation of your abilities or time or whatever, and ask for help. It's not all about you, Sassafras! Usually, "it's the teamwork that makes the dream work!"
Warning: Don't just back-out and leave someone "in the lurch". That is selfish and inconsiderate. Whomever you promised is depending on you. So, don't withdraw; instead draw more help into the effort. If you find that idea repugnant, then chances are that sneaky and pernicious religious pride has got its hooks into you pretty good!
Even wise people make mistakes. The difference between a wise person and a fool is that a wise person recognizes them and takes the necessary (if often difficult) steps to correct them.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go look at my calendar..... ;)