Why You Talk Yourself Into Trouble

Courtesy of Dreamstime.com

I’m willing to bet you’ve over promised and under delivered at least once.  You didn’t mean to but that person caught you off guard.  You really wanted to say, “No”; however, this would make it the fifth time in a row.  You are a people pleaser and you just can’t help.  I know your thoughts because I’m guilty of doing it too. I’ve told people I would get something done at a certain point and then not followed through.  I’ve told people you can count on me and then somewhere down the line I dropp the ball.  Early on in my ministry I found myself talking up the Confirmation retreat for high school students.  The retreat was great; however, I promised that everyone would have a positive life change experience.  That wasn’t the case.  Nothing bad happen, it’s that I promised false expectations.  When you do that you are all talk.  I try not to be all talk.  And I’m willing to bet neither are you.  But it happens, why?


In a relational line of work like youth ministry we fear coming off cold, and apathetic.  When we say “NO” to people we reject them, we feel like we let them down and a guilt emerges.  So we talk the talk and sometimes we come through; however, other times we don’t.  We blame our shortcomings on a person, a circumstance or act of God; however, in reality we didn’t:

  • Slow Down: Chances are you react before you think and you say the first thing that comes to mind.  Don’t be afraid to tell others, “I don’t know.” or “Let me think about this.” They may react frustrated; however, they’ll appreciate the honest answer in the end.
  • Know Our Limits: Don’t be afraid to say “NO” because it’s a lot easier than saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” No, might bring disappointment; however, it won’t break the trust when you over promise and under deliver.
  • Deliver Authenticity: When we over promise we give false expectations that disappoint.  When we under promise we’re not being entirely truthful.  Just be real about your limits, about what they should expect and give them the opportunity to receive you or an experience with an open mind. 
  • Rely On Accountability: If you do get yourself in a situation where you overcommit, make sure their is someone there to either help you through the promise or give you the support as you humbly apologize.  When you have people you trust around you, they’ll remind you of your limits, help you slow down and form a plan to succeed.

It’s okay to fail, it’s okay to mess up; however, we shouldn’t make a habit of it.  If it does become connected to your promises, people will learn not to trust you.  Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to lose trust than to earn it, so don’t be afraid to say, “No”.  Don’t be afraid to turn down an opportunity.  And, don’t be afraid to embrace your limits.

In what area of ministry do talk yourself into trouble?