A Change in the Mission Statement....

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SilentDawning
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A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by SilentDawning » 30 Mar 2019, 22:01

Some of you know that for years I have centered my service on the community....since 2010. It's been an alternative to full-on church service as I did for decades. It's been a marvelous experience where I've been part of many interesting things that have blessed my life so many different ways.

There has been abuse, similar to what I suffered in the church as well as injustice -- but not as bad -- and I've been able to handle it very well. It's SO much easier when the people dishing it out don't claim to be inspired leaders, or have not made serious temple covenants not to speak evil, or to be part of an organization with a divine commission. I can truly say it's been more rewarding to serve in the community than in the church, for me personally. Not for everyone, just for me.

However, for a few weeks and as of this weekend, I've felt this NAG that I should be reprioritizing again.

My health needs attention -- simple fitness and reversing lifestyle related medical issues. Nothing debilitating (yet), but the usual blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure issues, as well as weight gain. My marriage -- has been stable for years, but in the last six months has grown unstable, and we have needed to see a marriage counselor (an expensive, but effective one), and things are improving. My hours spent in service came up as an issue last session, and it twigged my conscience.

My son will be eighteen in a couple years, and my heart is telling me I should be spending more time with him. Have done so in the last couple weeks and I'm glad, but there is so much work to be done there. And then, for years, as a way of keeping myself current in my field, I have operated a small business. Time-consuming, and probably between a hobby and a serious business, but involves, sales, marketing, operations, human resources, taxes, accounting. I realized I've been doing it for 10 years now! It has been a fertile place to apply participative leadership, to conduct business in a way that keeps repeat and referral business coming in, and have been very successful at it. But I woke up today and realized I could achieve the same financially with part-time teaching and have no accounting or tax reporting hassles. And I could achieve the same financial results in 1/2 the time, without long evenings away from my family. I could keep some of it in my life for continued joy reasons. All I need to do is quote high and go out only when the highest paying clients book me, which happens now and then. But my time invested will probably fall to a quarter of what it is now.

So, as I've undergone this analysis, I want to ask a question.

It is ever acceptable, when still physically able, to say "for the next couple years I'm cutting back on my community service to almost nothing?". No more big projects, big events, fundraising activities -- keep my little, tiny church calling, and work on family and health, and make that my mission for the next couple years? To strengthen those areas at the expense of most community service?


I do find it hard to do all the family stuff well when I have so many outside interests, and community service is one of them. It's very time consuming, and I am feeling a tug to give myself a break so I can invest in my relationships....truly invest in them, with the same vigor I have tackled other areas of my life over the last decade.

Thoughts?
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Gerald
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by Gerald » 31 Mar 2019, 05:08

My opinion? Absolutely! We all have priorities and we can't do it all. Another word: "boundaries." We can reset those boundaries as is necessary and if you need to draw back for a bit, well, the community will always be there but your family may not. (Kind of a variation on Matthew 26:11).
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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dande48
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by dande48 » 31 Mar 2019, 07:42

SilentDawning wrote:
30 Mar 2019, 22:01
It is ever acceptable, when still physically able, to say "for the next couple years I'm cutting back on my community service to almost nothing?". No more big projects, big events, fundraising activities -- keep my little, tiny church calling, and work on family and health, and make that my mission for the next couple years? To strengthen those areas at the expense of most community service?
What do you mean by "acceptable"?

Acceptable to God? I don't know, ask Him. Acceptable to others, i.e. they will judge you for it? Probably, but they were going to judge you anyways. Acceptable to the community, i.e. they will carry on just fine without you? Yes. More acceptable to your family than the alternative? Probably, yes.

I had an awesome mission president. He gave his life to his callings, his service, his career, the Church... but come to find out, his relationship with his kids was a wreck, because he never had the time for them. I once heard love is spelled "T-I-M-E". I think it was a Church authority who said it, though I think they got that quote from somewhere. But if that is true, that means our love is finite. The more love you invest into one thing, the less you'll have for another. There's only so much to go around, and we need to be wise where we spend it.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

Minyan Man
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by Minyan Man » 31 Mar 2019, 08:13

SD, after reading your posts for the past few years, You always give solid advice.
I can't help but feel, you already know the answer. Our lives change over time.
Our priorities must change too. IMO family always comes first.

Curt Sunshine
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by Curt Sunshine » 31 Mar 2019, 09:03

Yes. Full stop.

You have to do the best you possible in each moment and stage of your life. Only you can decide what that looks like. Only you can decide acceptable limitations on what you feel would be ideal. Balance is important.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SilentDawning
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by SilentDawning » 31 Mar 2019, 13:46

I agree there is a time for all kinds of things. I think the time now is for time spent with family, marriage, health, and time away from the hassles and pressure of non-profit service. LIke today, I need to file our ePostcard with the IRS and the site doesn't work. Same problem as last year. What should be a two-minute thing means a frustrating call on hold, and who knows what the solution will be this year.

Time is better spent with my family than worry about the IRS...

Part of me -- less and less of me, but still, part of me, feels a bit guilty after all those years of conditioning in the church, that I'm not cutting off my right arm for the church. In the beginning, the super-ego instilled in me from church talks etcetera created this guilty burden upon me.

Community service was a way of handling that...you know the phrase "no other success can compensate for failure in the home"...well "success serving community is decent compensation for lack of service at church". To take that out of my life and I'll feel a bit guilty. I guess I need to compare that to the guilt of not being there for my son, and the joy foregone in helping him become a prepared adult...

Thanks for the discussion.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Roy
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by Roy » 31 Mar 2019, 14:37

If I understand you correctly, your community service became a useful deflection to complaints about your reduction in church service. People could not dismiss you as just being too lazy for the church program because of how much you were accomplishing in the broader community. Without that as a tool for deflection then people's judgments may hit harder upon you and make you feel less capable as a man.

Is that how you feel?

I deal with this too. I use the grief over my daughter's stillbirth and my job working on Sundays to help deflect or justify why I am not doing more in the church. I feel that I am serving and contributing (DW and I form the core of the LDS cub scout program that seems to be dying on the vine since the program is on the way out) but I also believe that our family is on the "project" list for reactivation and strengthening. I crave acceptance, respect, and even admiration in the groups where I participate. It is a challenge to manage my relationship with the church and know that what I believe to be sustainable participation in church endeavors will likely never be seen as good enough by those in authority.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: A Change in the Mission Statement....

Post by SilentDawning » 31 Mar 2019, 16:03

Roy wrote:
31 Mar 2019, 14:37
If I understand you correctly, your community service became a useful deflection to complaints about your reduction in church service. People could not dismiss you as just being too lazy for the church program because of how much you were accomplishing in the broader community. Without that as a tool for deflection then people's judgments may hit harder upon you and make you feel less capable as a man.

Is that how you feel?
I think it's more for me than anyone else. I use the non-profit card when people come at me about my church activity, but that's not the primary motive. My primary motive is that I wanted to continue serving humankind, to be a good person, to effect change, and to be part of a community, to have new experiences, meet new people, use what I know about leadership -- in a new context. Something that had grown difficult to do in the LDS church given my personal history with it.

Community service mitigates self-inflicted guilt about not being involved in the church, not comments from others. I honestly don't care what they think because they are indifferent. The fact that they no longer go after me shows they know what they think is the the truth about me, and I'm not low hanging fruit. I don't really care...
I crave acceptance, respect, and even admiration in the groups where I participate. It is a challenge to manage my relationship with the church and know that what I believe to be sustainable participation in church endeavors will likely never be seen as good enough by those in authority.
I don't care anymore when it comes to the church. In doing what I have done -- refusing every calling that I don't really want to do, not holding a TR, sitting out of my daughter's temple wedding, being at church on my own terms -- you HAVE to accept that you lose standing in the community. And to some extent, in your own family if they are active.

I think that loss of status might have been 15% of the reason I hung on for a couple years, but after you cross the line, you CAN'T care about that stuff because you've lost it. It comes with the territory, losing it does. It was part of the mental decision I had to make when I decided to stayLDS with my current formula of the last 5-7 years.

And if your membership record is not annotated,you have to make that decision -- whether to lose your standing in the community in one foul swoop -- when you move to a new stake or area where you are unknown. Where all they see is your priesthood, ordinances, and marital status.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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