Yes and No ... a reflection

As I've gotten to know myself over the past 41 years, I've come to realize that I am at my best when I live out of a spirit of generosity.  A key part of the journey that led me to my particular vocation as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace was a conversation with a wise priest friend who helped me to realize how much I am called to share and use my gifts in service of God and God's people in need. It is when I am operating out of that central call that I am most fulfilled, and I think that is when I am the most "me" God calls me to be.  It is also when I am operating generously from that call that I tap into the well of gifts that God has given me.  It seems to be at those times that I shift from a relatively intelligent, articulate and organized person to a highly skilled and effective one. I'm often surprised at what I'm able to accomplish!

Yet, I've also come to realize that "yes" is not always the most generous answer.  Sometimes I might be tempted to say yes because it seems like such a great opportunity, or because it would fill such a great need, or because the person who asks is so very nice.  Yet, if the invitation comes on top of many other invitations, or if I have already committed my energy, time, and resources to other equally great opportunities, or if my plate is just feeling generally overfull at the moment, then in justice to myself and to others it might just be best to say "no" this time. This of course takes prayer, discernment, honesty, and conversation--with myself, with God, with community. And, let's face it, it's also not always easy to say 'no.'

Sometimes it is important to spend some time in reflection with all the pushes and pulls on your time, resources, talents, and energy. One wise piece of advice I got from a spiritual mentor a few years ago was to write it all down on your calendar, perhaps even color-coded.  What do you spend your time doing? What are your major commitments and priorities? What is your time for prayer, community, fun, and self-care?  While it's not always possible to arrive at the "perfect balance,"--some times in our lives will be busier than others--it is important to be intentional with our time and energy.  When pondering a new invitation, pay attention to the mix already present in your life.

All this is a long way to say that I'm feeling particularly busy at the moment and a wee bit overwhelmed. I'm working on self-care, recommitting time to prayer, getting ready to spend some time with community, attending to my present responsibilities.  Hence, I've just said no to a pretty cool opportunity.

How do you balance all the pushes and pulls for your time, energy, and talents?

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