I have always thought that it is better to be self sacrificing than to makes others suffer. It just feels better you know. Sometimes I have seen though, when I extend that to my own family. I tell myself “It is okay, they can handle it, this other person just really needs help right now. I can make dinner for someone else, and we can eat simple tonight. Those kids look like they really need a pair of shoes, ours don’t have as many holes.”
It sounds great. It looks holy. It feels better sometimes that doing the same mundane job of dinner, working, cleaning, homeschooling, taking children to school, breastfeeding, whatever it is you do on a daily basis. We can always find a worthy cause to make ourselves “feel” better. But the questions we should ask ourselves before we do anything are these.

  1. Is this a healthy thing for the whole family?
  2. Am I taking care of my responsibilities before looking to extra ones that I was not given to be responsible for?
  3. Am I taking the pleasure away from someone else that may need a chance to volunteer, but I always step up and do it, so they never have a chance?
  4. Is this really the place I am supposed to be spending my time?

I know I have seen families that have different ways that they are part of valuable ministries. They are all different. One person might be a foster parent, while another helps with Teen MOPS. One young women may encourage homeschooling mom’s by helping with teaching abilities, while another pursues shelving at the library.
But there are times when those pursuits are not healthy for the family. I have seen people put their love for children and desire to foster children above the needs of the family they already have. I have seen mothers that place the health of their children over their own among other things. I have seen families that place family togetherness over looking outside their own 4 walls at times as well. It all about balance and reason.
But I have seen how sometimes we can focus on the right of something, and forget about what we were already called to do. We can look at the over all picture and learn that sometimes it is a no for us at times. Also, sometimes, there is a yes when we really didn’t want to do it.
The next time you choose an activity, think about your days or weeks you have in the moment. If you were to only have one year to live, is this how you feel you would the greatest impact on those that matter the most to you? Or would you just be another face of a volunteer? Do you know without a shadow of a doubt you will not be sorry you spent time this way, have at it! It is likely worthwhile.
But sometimes realize, it is okay to take a break and let others do the volunteering, the serving and spend time with your family. If you have been spending a lot of time with your family, it might be time to take up some volunteering! Remember balance!
Don’t let serving others put your own safety and health at risk, but let it enrich your life and make you a healthier person.

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  1. simone

    Good stuff, Martha! I’ve had to come to the same realizations, that not every mission is mine to tackle, that I need to know that God is calling me to get involved. 🙂

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