In a previous post, I discussed the single young woman with too little to do. In this post, I discuss the opposite: the single young woman who does everything.
This is the woman who copes with multiple jobs, various responsibilities, ministry or community work, her own business, church duties, leadership roles, and more. She is the one who to whom everyone runs when something needs to be done and whom everyone considers Superwoman.
Here are some ways in which the woman who does everything becomes very vulnerable:
· She leaves herself open to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical consequences. This can cause real danger to the young woman. For example, I know of a case in which a young woman with too many jobs became so overwhelmed that she thought seriously of harming herself. For myself, I struggle with health issues that force me to maintain only a part-time job. When I try to do what my peers can do, my body suffers badly, and with it, my spirits.
· She makes poor judgments. If she has 100 choices to make a day, what is the likelihood that those choices will become progressively poor as the woman tires? If she proceeds in chronic emotional or physical exhaustion, how likely is her judgment to deteriorate over time? The consequences of poor judgment lead to more stress, which repeats the cycle.
· Her relationships suffer. No woman can maintain those important relationships when she is on burn-out. Everyone knows that fatigue (mental or physical) is one of the primary sparks of conflict. How can a woman give her best to the ones she loves, when she has already given her best to so many other things?
· She begins to resent opportunities to serve. This was one of the biggest clues for me, when I was in the midst of my own burn-out cycle. I began to resent intrusions on my time, no matter how small they were. Even invitations to fun events seemed like too much. When the busy woman loses her desire to meet the needs of others, it is usually because she has unmet needs of her own to which she must attend.
· Her own goals fall by the wayside. The woman with too much to do is distracted from the things she truly loves. Unique gifts that should be developed are buried under a pile of responsibilities and expectations. This is not only a loss for her, but a loss for others who might benefit from her God-given gifts.
· Reduce. If the pressure affects a woman’s health or spirit to the point of real damage, it’s time to cut back. Even one extra day at home—with no obligations—can radically change the busy woman’s situation and outlook.
· Quit. This can’t apply to every situation. When a woman reaches motherhood, for example, she can’t simply quit. But many women feel a sense of obligation to jobs or duties or ministries that, in reality, are not as necessary to themselves as they believe. Quitting is not always an act of failure. Sometimes it’s an act of wisdom.
· Realize that she's not the only answer. She may believe that she is “the only person” who can fulfill a particular role. She's wrong. She are not the only tool in God’s toolbox. “But who will do it if I won’t do it?” The answer: That’s God’s department—not hers.
· Delegate. A woman best serves, not when she does it all herself, but when she builds a community that shares the work.
· Learn to say “no.” Whenever she says “yes” to something, she must say “no” to something else. She should be sure that when she says “yes,” it is to something so worth it, that those necessary “no’s” won’t bother her.
· Prioritize. What unique gifts has God given her? What goals has she shelved in favor of various responsibilities? For example, writing and encouragement to women are my gifts and I’ve always felt that they were God’s direction for my life. For years, I put them on the back burner because I felt obligated to finish college and then to earn an income. When my health forced me to cut back on many of my previous duties, I realized that I had almost let my real priority slip away from me. Don’t make the same mistake. Make your time count for the things that are most important to you.
If you are in this category, please know that I am not judging you. I share your weakness for work. But I need you to see the truth: You are not succeeding. You are failing in the things you most care about, because you are too busy with lesser things. Carefully choose only those things that are worthiest of your time and energy. Stop trying to do it by yourself but, rather, give your time to the Lord.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.