Many pastors are chronically overcommitted. Because the nature of their work is so important, they never feel comfortable turning down any opportunity to lead their people, be an example of service, or otherwise further the mission of the church.
It’s just that pastors can’t do everything, try as they might. Further, when pastors try to do too much, they actually put themselves in a position to be less effective, less impactful, and to be less fulfilled in the work God has called them to do.
Hard work, persistence, and diligence in ministry are important. But so is a well ordered life. In fact, the latter is a prerequisite for the former. And that means that you can only take on so much before you start to falter.
Pastors, here are five signs you may be overcommitted.
1. You Constantly Feel as Though You Can Never Get Ahead.
A surefire sign that you’re overcommitted is that you constantly feel overwhelmed or as though you can never get ahead. Certainly, there are times in ministry when you will feel overwhelmed because of certain circumstances that are time-limited and extraordinary. But if a state of overwhelm is your “ordinary” feeling, something’s not right.
It may be that important items on your to-do list are falling through the cracks. Every interruption or incidental demand for your attention becomes a source of anxiety. Or, generally speaking, you’re just irritated, short-tempered, and grumpy.
If you feel imbalanced or like your life is uncentered, it probably is. If you go to bed every night, no matter how hard you have worked, feeling as though you never have done enough, you’re most likely overcommitted.
2. You Have No Time to Read, Pray, or Dream.
Another sign that you’re overcommitted is that you have little margin in your life to do things that are important but not always urgent.
This includes reading, whether it is the Bible or other books that will fill you with knowledge, encouragement, and ideas. It also includes a regular prayer rhythm that is neither hurried nor the time commitment of which is cause of stress or anxiety.
It also includes moments in your days and weeks where you can contemplate the goals you have for your life and ministry, or to evaluate the strategies you are using to advance those goals—without feeling as though you are wasting precious time that you could have been spending getting tasks done.
If you are spending so much time on a hamster wheel of endless tasks that you cannot connect with God or yourself on a regular basis, you’re overcommitted.
3. You’re Neglecting To Eat, Exercise, or Groom Yourself.
Perhaps you are disciplined and organized enough to get your regular tasks done and still find time to read, pray, and strategize. But another sign that you’re overwhelmed is that, even if you get everything else done, you neglect to care for yourself due to lack of time.