More about Overdoing

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.


2 responses to “More about Overdoing

  1. On most fronts, work and responsibility especially, I am in favor of over doing vs. under doing. But I think I before more moderate & balanced with very passing year. Not likely that I will do on exercise, food intake, or frugality.

    We have a Methodist back ground in common — I like to think it explains much about being self-critical and feeling one needs to do MORE (but of course not in some of the areas you note over doing.)

    • My overdoing has been, mostly, the bane of my existence. But now that I’m not overdoing anymore, I do have interesting memories to think about. I don’t know of much I ever overdid well — certainly I’m not a model worker, I was never a very good wife. The things I overdid well were mostly being high, avoiding responsibility, making bad choices; I couldn’t think of anything other situation in which overdoing benefitted me, because there are no other situations. I am doing the best I can — what a weird life I’ve created for myself.

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