Wednesday, March 06, 2013

times and seasons

In the past month, I've had four requests from members of my ward who would like me to contribute my specific talents in a certain capacity within ward activities, service projects, etc.

I've said no to all but one of those requests.

This has been something that has been incredibly difficult for me--embarrassing, even--and so I'm posting about it in hopes that it will help someone else who may be struggling with the same feelings.

Our religion is one that is very service-oriented, sometimes at the expense of other good things because of a cultural (not doctrinal) perspective.  I have often found myself taking meals to someone or babysitting or doing a project at the expense of my own family and sanity, but I've felt like it was something that was a "good thing" to do and so I should do it.

Right now, as we all know, our family is sort of in survival mode.  I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy; Neil is pulling 75-hour weeks at work and I'm teaching 20 hours a week, and we have four children and all that entails.  Time is at a premium in our home and relationship (understatement, understatement, understatement).

In talking with Neil & my mom about the latest one of these requests that I've had to turn down, it's been good for me to realize that we all have times and seasons in our lives where we can really contribute and serve and do many things outside our home, and some times when we're just not able to do those because other things have to come first.  Honestly, it's hard for me to acknowledge that I can't do it all, and it's much harder for me to do so in a somewhat public setting where I feel like I look like I'm selfishly unwilling to contribute to righteous endeavors.

The truth is, however, that anything I do right now outside of my primary sphere is directly at the expense of my family.  Sometimes I really struggle with the idea of balancing taking care of my family and related responsibilities with the promises I've made to dedicate myself to the Lord's service.  Then I realize that for some reason, I often interpret this service solely as things I do away from my home and family, but I do know--and this has been reaffirmed to me lately--that my primary responsibility IS to take care of my family and teach them to follow the Lord.  And sometimes I do that by serving someone in need outside of our home, and sometimes I do that by serving the needs of my family.  And sometimes--as long as I'm being honest here--I can't even do that, and I just have to go away from it all and plead with the Lord for the strength to keep going yet another day.


Jen said...

Yes. To all of this. And good for you.

Anonymous said...

You are always in our thoughts and prayers.
Aunt Pam & Uncle Kevin

Lindsey Ellis said...

I couldn't agree more Rachael!

Gretta Whalen said...

Hear, hear!

I just said no to something like that, too. And I don't even have kids.

Melanie said...

Well said. And so true. And no reason to feel bad about saying no. You're helping others get the chance to say yes!

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