Especially others in the church.
My church, in particular.
I go to a church that is marked by an amazing sense of community and family -- a church where people will repeatedly sacrifice for the good of others. It is the norm for many people to go above and beyond to help each other out -- to serve -- to give.
Image by Calotype46 on flickr
The thing is, I spent most of my life saying, "Yes," to almost anything. As we became more and more involved in the church, I realized that saying, "Yes," all the time was incredibly unhealthy -- for me and my family. For whatever reason, every, "Yes," said was another thing to cause me anxiety or exhaustion, and I lived life in a lot of stress.
So I started saying, "No." In fact, I say, "No," to almost anything. Almost is key here -- I have done a few things for VBS, the Christmas show, and occasionally sing a Sunday morning song -- but that's all I can do.
All around me, I see people doing so much more than I am doing -- for their community, family, and church. And these aren't just super healthy people, but people who have greater ailments than pregnancy-induced-exhaustion. But a big part of me has learned my limits over the years, and in order to stay sane, collected, and peaceful for my family, I have to put as little as possible on my plate. That's how I operate. However, I can't shake the sense that perhaps this is a character flaw. Why is it I require so much downtime -- so much retreat?
Some would say having this knowledge of myself is wisdom, but there's always another side to every coin, right?
The other side to the coin is that I struggle with deep-rooted selfishness. Now before you say we all do, I mean -- it is hard for me to be giving/generous and it is hard for me to put people above tasks. I generally have always put myself first. Now being a mom has sort of turned this on its head (parenting is all about service and selflessness, don't you think?) but because I know that this selfishness is a habitual thing in my life, I am concerned. It's such a fine line between being good to myself for the sake of others and being good to myself for the sake of... well, myself.
How can I even begin to know the difference?
- Have you ever felt this way?
- How do you resist the urge to compare yourself to others?
- How do you know the line between taking care of yourself and being selfish?