'Good works'


#1

I’ve always been an active kind of person, going to meetings, supporting justice and peace issues and doing volunteering. But some while ago I took on too much, got out of my depth and couldn’t handle it. I packed everything up, questioned everything and even thought I’d lost my faith for a while.

A year on, I’m fine with the faith - actually feel stronger for having hit the bottom and come up again. I have a stronger desire for prayer, and am praying more than before. But as for ‘good works’, I’ve lost heart somehow. I know this sounds awful. I do try to live my ordinary life well, but all I really want to do at present is go to work (I work half time) and come home and do stuff at home. My marriage also took a knock in the bad period, and my biggest wishes now are to have a good relationship with my husband, and make my home nice.

I read the lesson in church, visit a disabled neighbour. It doesn’t seem much. I worry that I’m not leading a true Christian life. Should I do some voluntary work or get back into the justice and peace issues even though I don’t really feel like it - after all, maybe being a Christian should cost something? Or would I just be ‘a clanging gong or a clashing symbol’ doing it without love, as St Paul says?

I can’t stop worrying about it, and feel so stuck and confused. I would really appreciate some advice.


#2

[quote="brinkedge, post:1, topic:285417"]
I've always been an active kind of person, going to meetings, supporting justice and peace issues and doing volunteering. But some while ago I took on too much, got out of my depth and couldn't handle it. I packed everything up, questioned everything and even thought I'd lost my faith for a while.

A year on, I'm fine with the faith - actually feel stronger for having hit the bottom and come up again. I have a stronger desire for prayer, and am praying more than before. But as for 'good works', I've lost heart somehow. I know this sounds awful. I do try to live my ordinary life well, but all I really want to do at present is go to work (I work half time) and come home and do stuff at home. My marriage also took a knock in the bad period, and my biggest wishes now are to have a good relationship with my husband, and make my home nice.

I read the lesson in church, visit a disabled neighbour. It doesn't seem much. I worry that I'm not leading a true Christian life. Should I do some voluntary work or get back into the justice and peace issues even though I don't really feel like it - after all, maybe being a Christian should cost something? Or would I just be 'a clanging gong or a clashing symbol' doing it without love, as St Paul says?

I can't stop worrying about it, and feel so stuck and confused. I would really appreciate some advice.

[/quote]

It sounds like you might be one of those people who have a hard time saying "no," and when combined with your compassion for others and desire to do good you went through burnout by taking on so much.

I think focusing on your marriage to make it strong again and your relationship with God would be the first steps.

Also, by just visiting a disabled neighbor you are already doing more for that person and more than many others would do. You are doing great things already. Don't beat yourself up because you can't do everything but feel like you should. When and if you are ready try and choose those things you are passionate about and limit yourself to one or two things. It will keep you interested without going through the burnout.

Hope this helps.


#3

Do not scrutinize so closely whether you are doing much or little, ill or well, so long as what you do is not sinful, and that you are heartily seeking to do everything for God. Try as far as you can to do everything well, but when it is done do not think about it; try rather to think of what is to be done next. Go on simply in the Lord's way, and do not torment yourself. We ought to hate our faults, but with a quiet, calm hatred, not pettishly and anxiously. We must learn to look patiently at them, and win through them the grace of self-abnegation and humility. Be constant and courageous, and rejoice that He has given you the will to be wholly His.

Saint Francis de Sales
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=259762


#4

[quote="Linda_Marie, post:3, topic:285417"]
Do not scrutinize so closely whether you are doing much or little, ill or well, so long as what you do is not sinful, and that you are heartily seeking to do everything for God. Try as far as you can to do everything well, but when it is done do not think about it; try rather to think of what is to be done next. Go on simply in the Lord's way, and do not torment yourself. We ought to hate our faults, but with a quiet, calm hatred, not pettishly and anxiously. We must learn to look patiently at them, and win through them the grace of self-abnegation and humility. Be constant and courageous, and rejoice that He has given you the will to be wholly His.

Saint Francis de Sales
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=259762

[/quote]

Saint Francis de Sales was one smart man.


#5

I'm not a spiritual director or anything. I am a working wife and mom with a very demanding "second" vocation. I have often questioned how to balance work and home. I've always gone on the belief that I must take care of my marriage and family as my first responsibility. If I think of the Church or the world as my "family" how can I claim to care for that family if in doing so I am neglecting my own "domestic church."

On the other hand, there have been many times I wanted to quit my "second vocation". I have always prayed to God for guidance and so far He has let me know where to go by speaking in my heart. I would think that as you are conscientious of the Christian calling for corporal and spiritual works of mercy, but do not feel in your heart a calling to a specific task, then God is not asking that of you right now. As long as you stay open to that and willing to do His will, and praying to do His will, you will do His will.

I'm told Mother Theresa once told some one that it is not [our] job to know God's will, but rather our job to do God's will.

Hope that helps some.


#6

[quote="DJK100, post:4, topic:285417"]
Saint Francis de Sales was one smart man.

[/quote]

I totally agree!!!:thumbsup:


#7

[quote="Linda_Marie, post:3, topic:285417"]
Do not scrutinize so closely whether you are doing much or little, ill or well, so long as what you do is not sinful, and that you are heartily seeking to do everything for God. Try as far as you can to do everything well, but when it is done do not think about it; try rather to think of what is to be done next. Go on simply in the Lord's way, and do not torment yourself. We ought to hate our faults, but with a quiet, calm hatred, not pettishly and anxiously. We must learn to look patiently at them, and win through them the grace of self-abnegation and humility. Be constant and courageous, and rejoice that He has given you the will to be wholly His.

Saint Francis de Sales
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=259762

[/quote]

Thank you for this great quote; it has really given me pause for thought.


#8

[quote="DJK100, post:2, topic:285417"]
It sounds like you might be one of those people who have a hard time saying "no," and when combined with your compassion for others and desire to do good you went through burnout by taking on so much.

I think focusing on your marriage to make it strong again and your relationship with God would be the first steps.

Also, by just visiting a disabled neighbor you are already doing more for that person and more than many others would do. You are doing great things already. Don't beat yourself up because you can't do everything but feel like you should. When and if you are ready try and choose those things you are passionate about and limit yourself to one or two things. It will keep you interested without going through the burnout.

Hope this helps.

[/quote]

Thank you; this is really useful advice. I'm just going to bide my time a bit, and wait for the right thing to come up at the right time.


#9

[quote="elarson3, post:5, topic:285417"]
I'm not a spiritual director or anything. I am a working wife and mom with a very demanding "second" vocation. I have often questioned how to balance work and home. I've always gone on the belief that I must take care of my marriage and family as my first responsibility. If I think of the Church or the world as my "family" how can I claim to care for that family if in doing so I am neglecting my own "domestic church."

On the other hand, there have been many times I wanted to quit my "second vocation". I have always prayed to God for guidance and so far He has let me know where to go by speaking in my heart. I would think that as you are conscientious of the Christian calling for corporal and spiritual works of mercy, but do not feel in your heart a calling to a specific task, then God is not asking that of you right now. As long as you stay open to that and willing to do His will, and praying to do His will, you will do His will.

I'm told Mother Theresa once told some one that it is not [our] job to know God's will, but rather our job to do God's will.

Hope that helps some.

[/quote]

I much appreciate this advice, it's a real help, thank you.


#10

Not at all unusual for a very active person to reach 'burnout' mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually and jolly good advice to take a break for as long as you need doing whatever appeals - and especially giving time to those things that suffered during the active period.
It is never about what we can accomplish, but what The Lord can accomplish in us if we only let him. Burnout is the Holy Spirit's way of saying "Take a break, you need it!" So dont allow yourself to feel guilty, it is an unjustified guilt. Being a Catholic Christian does not of necessity mean that it must cost something, while it sometimes can.
You are giving time to hubby and your relationship, which has suffered. Attending to your home and still quite active on Church and other matters. Make sure you are not doing too much again and remember - burnout is the Holy Spirit's way of saying "take a needed break'.
Our duties of our state in life are God's Will for us. Your relationship with your husband and making your home environment nice are two duties of your state and so you are indeed about God's Will - and truly any guilt is not justified. And burnout itself is a duty under God to take a break.


#11

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