The story that Tricia shared on her blog today definitely struck a chord with me. She talks about forcing herself not to volunteer for a certain activity at church, even though she knows she's capable of doing it, because she knows she can't stretch herself too thin. One of the recurring themes in Balanced is about how sometimes an opportunity can look good (either in its benefits for us or for others) but it might not be the right thing to do. Perhaps the timing is wrong, or you'd have to give up something more important. I know that I can be guilty of almost volunteering for something simply because a) I know I can do it, or b) I know it's important and no one else is volunteering. But honestly--are those the best reasons to do something? Nowhere in there did I say that I almost volunteer for something because I want to do it. And that's the crux of the problem.
I loved Tricia's challenge for this week, and even before taking notes or blogging about it, I discussed it with my husband over dinner. We had fun trying to come up with our "Eight Life Themes". Eight seemed like a lot initially, but after we discussed them it was pretty easy to come up with eight things that are important to each of our lives. Here are mine:
- Being a Christian
- Being Simon's wife
- Being a mother
- Being a housewife
- Editing at The Christian Manifesto
- Reading and reviewing books
- Cooking and baking
I feel like identifying these eight themes will be helpful in figuring out what to say Yes or No to. If the opportunity doesn't line up with any of the issues that are particularly important to my life right now, should I really pursue it? Or is my time and energy better spent elsewhere? Even something seemingly good (like volunteering at church or for a charity) might not be overly beneficial if it takes away from my time with my family or my writing, or even the things that keep me relaxed and sane, like reading and cooking.
Identifying these themes also helped me and Simon to decide how we're going to approach the ways we serve at church once we have a child. At the moment, I work with the young children and serve on the hospitality team, while Simon works with the older children and plays in the band. Because of how the rota system currently works, we're each serving two out of four weeks every month. While we're comfortable with this right now, we've decided to take time out at the end of June, so we can enjoy a few more weeks (maybe even a month!) just being in church, before our baby comes. After that, we'll have plenty of time to figure out how much time and energy we can devote to serving with a little baby (getting to the centre of Edinburgh for 9:30am to set up church might be a challenge with a newborn!) Ultimately, even if we know we're doing something good in volunteering at church, our family should always come first. And we also don't want to be volunteering so much that we don't have time to just be in church and enjoy the worship, sermons and fellowship.
This post is part of the Balanced challenge with Tricia Goyer—and you can join, too!