“I feel like running away!” my neighbor exclaimed when I caught up with her after work one day. She added in exasperation, “I can’t do it all.”

Do you feel like hiding from the expectations weighing on you? Maybe your boss has just asked you to work overtime. Now you must arrange pick up for the kids and cancel a social event this evening. Meanwhile, an urgent request sits unanswered in your inbox, and a voicemail from a needy friend pops up in your notifications. Where do you draw the line?

Your packed calendar signals there’s no relief in sight.

Do you serve too many bosses? Asking yourself these questions might help you find peace.

1. Principals—Who’s the Boss? 

Whether you serve one principal boss or answer to an entire chain of command, it’s impossible to satisfy everyone and worse if they contradict one another. Adding to their demands are the loud expectations of our culture. We subconsciously serve the most demanding voices, so we stifle our deep desires and do our duty.

I recently noticed that at every request for my time, I felt angry. I acted grumpy even toward the grandkids. Upon analysis, I discovered the expectations prevented me from spending time on a personal writing project. Are you frustrated? Maybe something has blocked your heart’s desire. 

Consider the obligations begging your attention. Evaluate which voices need to be heeded. Then commit to what is important to you. This necessitates prioritizing your values.

2. Priorities—Where to Focus?

Consider the obligations begging your attention. Evaluate which voices need a response. Determine which commitments align with your values, and then commit to doing what is important to you. 

Do you find time to satisfy the desires of your heart? Look at your time use. Does it reflect your priorities? It may not be a time problem but a priority problem. 

If you feel overworked, you might ask your boss to prioritize your projects. Follow their directive and in that way, the responsibility falls back on them.

When making a major time commitment, I find it helpful to ask myself, “What roles do I serve that no one else can?” A wife to my husband. A mother to my children. Primary earner. Reorder your priorities to reflect your most important roles and spend quality time on those.

If you could reorder your priorities, what would be your ideal? What would bring you the most peace?

3. Peace—What is Your Why?

You may have a ready answer for why you do what you do—“I work because I need the money.” “I work overtime because if I didn’t, I’d lose my job.” “I work to provide my children the best educational opportunities.” “I serve my church because no one else is stepping up.”

Someone showed me how to drill down to find my “why.” For each expectation that demands your attention, continue to ask why. For example: “I work because I need the money.” Why? “Because my husband’s income isn’t enough.” Why? “Truth is, we’re in debt.” Why? “We need to handle our money more wisely.” 

In this case, the solution might be handling money better, not earning additional income. Alternatively, you might say, “I work because I enjoy it.” Ask why to discover new things about your desires. Then determine how to satisfy those deeper needs rather than reacting to outside demands.

Make God your boss

Serve One Boss

Make God your boss. It takes resolve and determination to follow Jesus. Your circumstances may or may not dramatically change, and your work boss will likely still ask you to work overtime, but you will be better prepared to give an answer true to your heart.

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