Recently, I wrote a post about my tendency to overdo. My capacity for overdoing has caused me difficulties throughout my life: my health, my intellectual pursuits, my relationships with others, my attitude toward money, toward drugs, toward sex. My life would have been different in most ways, if I had learned to overcome this tendency.
But what about the positive results of overdoing? They are fewer, of course, but I have not yet been able to identify a negative result from these kinds of overdoing. For example:
When I was a pastor, in the late 80s and early 90s, I was a talented sermon writer/speaker. Not arrogance, simply an observation. How did I know? I was told, yes; I also could tell, by the way I felt when I delivered each sermon. And I built in an act of overdoing when creating those sermons.
I read the verses from the Bible on which I would base, not only my sermon, but the entire Sunday service, on Monday of the week before. In the United Methodist system, we were provided with a suggested set of scriptures and other verses. The bulletin blanks provided for the service had a photo and a quote from those verses. I was not required to use this material, but I most often did. So I read the verses, and then put the whole project aside.
I didn’t start writing anything any earlier than Saturday. If I tried to, I got the same result I do when I’m writing a post I’m not ready to write — a weak, disorganized mess. But if I let it go, didn’t try to figure out what I wanted to say, when Saturday night rolled around it was there, at about a third draft level. All it needed was polishing and a service written around it, and I was ready to go.
If I had owned up to this act, perhaps with one of the district council members, I’d have been lectured; all kinds of other strategies pitched to me; and most likely I’d be prayed over, although they would have admitted to it. Instead, I kept my trick to myself, and thus was able, for the whole time I was preaching, to come up with what I wanted to say.
There were other times, as well, although none as regularly as this one. Actually, at this moment, I can’t think of any other times. Maybe overdoing didn’t do me that much good. But in that one circumstance, I followed what I knew to be my own best interest, and resisted bragging about how easy it was; mostly resisted, anyway. If I come up with more, I’ll write them down someday. But I’m taking my time thinking — who knows, but mulling it over may bring me answers I didn’t even know I knew. And, at least in the meanwhile, I won’t be worried — the words always come eventually.