Well I did it today. I overcommitted. I had a last minute opportunity to paint and help someone out and I was already committed to an activity where to be honest I didn’t feel particularly needed. I figured that activity would have plenty of help, and since I’m not usually real useful in that area, I committed to paint. It was a mistake on my part. As it turns out, there was not enough help for the other activity and I was really needed. What to do?

Here’s the thing. I was already committed for the first activity and I probably should have just stuck with that and said “no” to the painting engagement. Why didn’t I? I usually do. I’m not a fan of overbooking. I think it comes down to confidence. I don’t mind helping with the other activity, but I never feel like an asset. It’s outside my gifting and all in all I am pretty useless at it. Given the opportunity to do something that is right in my wheelhouse, I rationalized that I was useless to the other activity and I would be doing the greater good by painting. As it turns out, I was wrong. The team for the first activity was dwindling due to sickness and prior commitments and as such they were hurting for people. I made an assumption based on my perceived strengths and weaknesses and left some friends in the lurch, well sort of.

My friends were kind and charitable but I could tell I disappointed them. I think that’s what I learned and maybe what you can learn. Strengths and weaknesses aside, commitments are commitments. Also don’t sell yourself short. There is something all of us can do and sometimes just stepping up and helping out, even if you’re just another warm body or a pair of hands is the most useful thing you can do. If you say you’re going to do something, and people are depending on you, step up and do what you said you would do even if you don’t feel like you’ll be much of an asset. Sometimes what’s really important is that you showed up and did what you said you would do.

My story has a happy ending. As I finished my church service yesterday morning, I headed out the door to get my painting stuff to do the painting project. While I was excited to paint, I couldn’t help feeling like I was really letting my other friends down. I arrived at the painting venue a few minutes early and double checked the address of my prior commitment. It was less than a half hour away. So I did my painting, I was happy with it and had a great time meeting new people and ministering in my gifting. Also by the time I had finished and loaded out, I was about 45 minutes from the start of my other commitment. I decided to hurry over and help my friends out. As it turned out all the skilled work was already done and all that was needed was people who could do exactly what I can do in that arena, labor and serve. I ended up being quite useful and it all worked out.

Please do not take this as an excuse to overcommit yourself. I was really blessed to be able to make all that work out. It almost never works like that. Instead learn from my mistake and honor your commitments whether you feel you’ll be useful or not.

You may be gifted in one area, but you are useful in many. Serve faithfully.

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