Friday, May 27, 2011


by Dr. Debbie DeCiantis

[Did you] Ever...

[Ever] say “Help,”
    but get excuses?

“I don't see why”?

“We need...”
Not me.”

Smile and hide a
     with mental reservation?

Not come through
you'd said,
“I will”?

My time is precious,
priorities inviolable,
schedule slammed
… (“Coffee Friday?  Great!”
… “lunch Saturday?  Can't wait.”)

Sorry, but
I just can't make that
meeting – someone else
can handle it -
[but I really don't like that
project you picked last week
when I was away...].

“I really love working
on...” … oh, come on -
copies again?  Just
let me do what
I do    like   best.
Extra job?

Take a number.

Yes, Dad, I...

(Matthew 21:28 -32)

Yes – we are busy people; we must prioritize. I have observed, however, certain patterns emerging in myself and others that allow us to substitute avoidance for principled judgments.  Do I want to do something?  Of course, I am much more likely to say yes and get involved immediately, without reflection or prayer – whether or not I should.

Do I dislike certain aspects of a project?  If I have already said yes, I will most likely procrastinate, with a plethora of reasons why I just cannot begin that task yet – I don’t have what I need -- the environment, the circumstances, the timing are just not right...Do I fear failure?  Ditto.

Do I feel overwhelmed because of other activities that I am unwilling to reexamine?  Do I want to please others more than I want to determine whether God really wants me involved in all of these endeavors, worthy as they may be? Do I stay involved in a project I am convinced I should not have accepted because I do not know how to say, “This isn’t working.”?

Don’t get me wrong – I am a firm believer in fulfilling commitments; I have quoted to others the portion of Psalm 15:4 referring to the one who “walks blamelessly and does what is right” (vs. 2) … ”…who swears to his own hurt and does not change.” I am not one to encourage others to bail on a commitment they have made.  I know what it is like to experience God’s prompting to finish a project I had committed to years earlier – even if those who originally asked me had probably given up any expectation of ever seeing the results – in order to fulfill this principle. Followthrough is an essential skill in many sports, yet in sports the athlete almost always knows when to swing or pitch or shoot or throw.  Sometimes we lack that focused context in making decisions to begin, complete, defer, or abandon a project.  Are there principled ways to withdraw from a commitment – other than an unavoidable move, a serious emergency, illness, or disability?  I am convinced that absent these obvious situations in which we would no longer be able to contribute, leaving a project can be done responsibly only within specific constraints:  I must have prayed and received release from God; I must make every effort to help find a suitable replacement while completing the most immediately pressing tasks I can in order to leave my vacant place in order for the next person to take up the project; I must apologize (without excuses) to those whom I leave to complete this project, admitting that my involvement was inadvisable from the start and remaining faithful to pray for those still involved.

What if I become convinced after the fact that an endeavor is in fact ill-advised, unbiblical, or otherwise inappropriate based on information I did not have when I first got involved?  Even then, I would have to apologize to those I leave behind, for at the very least, I should have investigated more, sought God for confirmation of the endeavor, before committing.

Anyone who knows me knows how easily I have overcommitted, neglecting important relationships for good but less necessary projects.  My point is not that people should either do more or do less, but rather, that each of us must listen for the voice of the Father, being certain that when His prompting says, “Do this,” we not only give the correct response, but put our shoulders to the wheel and do the work.

Don't Forget! Write2Ignite! Conference 2012 – March 16-17, 2012 at North Greenville University


  1. Hmmm...I wouldn't know a thing about over committment. Just ask my friends.

    Of course, I'm teasing here. There are so many great projects for me to tackle. I, too, need to seek God's direction and remember:

    "Never take on a job that I don't have time to pray about."


  2. Ooooh - this is a good one! I am forever having to ask myself, "WHy am I doing this? Why am I here?"

    If it is b/c I feel obligated, that is probably not a good enough reason. I need to walk where the Lord leads me. I need to do what He is calling me to do. And I need to say NO - when He tells me to. Even if the thing I am saying NO to is a good thing. It might not be the "best" thing for my life at that moment.

    Great post, Dr. Debbi!

  3. SOmetimes it's hard to determine if it's something I want to do or the Lord wants me to do--not always the same thing! Need wisdom to know the difference.