I really think the title today should’ve been longer – “Live out your calling, and stop getting in the way of other people living out theirs.”
We get in the way of others living out their calling when we “overfunction.” Recently, the Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast, has helped to explain this idea to me. Pete Scazzero writes:
How might you answer the following questions: – Do you move in quickly to advise and fix things lest they fall apart? – Do you have difficulty allowing others to struggle with their own problems? – Do you find that, in the long run, it is simply easier to do things yourself? – Do you say yes when you prefer to say no, even if you are overloaded? – Do you struggle to trust others to do as good a job as you would? – Do you not like asking for help because you don’t want to burden them? If your answer is yes to three or more, you probably suffer from a case of overfunctioning, i.e. doing for others what they can and should do for themselves.
We overfunction when we do for others what they can do for themselves. Yes, this speaks to our lives at home and in the workplace. You overfunction when you redo the report your employee just gave you because it isn’t quite the way you wanted it to look. Instead of taking the time to train, you find it easier to do it yourself. Here is a difficult one for me. Instead of arguing with your child to help around the house, you finish the chore yourself.
This speaks to life in the church as well. Pastors can be very guilty of overfunctioning. They can find themselves leading meetings that aren’t their meetings to lead. They may be the ones doing all of the visits. They may assume it is their job to preach every Sunday. What does the Apostle Paul say in Ephesians? He says the primary job of a pastor is to equip. Pastors are to equip other people, helping them to live out their callings. In fact, you can argue that when a pastor overfunctions, doing too much, they can get in God’s way.
We even can overfunction when we try to fix someone, instead of letting them work through their problems on their own. I heard it said this way before. Who am I to rob someone of their life’s journey? Maybe an easy answer isn’t what is best for them right now. Maybe it is better for them to grow through their struggle, or for them to learn to see things differently.
Is this part confessional for me? Probably. I am nowhere close to figuring this all out. However, this is a really good topic to think through. I encourage you to check out the podcasts, along with Pete’s questions above, to evaluate places where you may be overfunctioning. It will help you and those around you.
Blessings, Pastor Matt
Here are links to the podcasts referenced above: https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/stop-fixing-your-church-part-1-eh-leader-podcast/ https://www.emotionallyhealthy.org/stop-fixing-your-church-part-2-eh-leader-podcast/