To: (Multiple email addresses may be specified by separating them with a comma)
BY DAVE DURAND
I have been asked to serve on a volunteer committee.
I’d like to help, but I feel like I am too busy to add another activity to my
plate. How do I know whether I’m doing the right thing by declining the request
for my time?
This is a great question and you
are asking it at the right time. Most people wait until they are in too deep
before assessing their availability.
Here are three simple questions
you can ask yourself to help determine whether you are legitimately
over-committed — or just finding excuses because you don’t feel like extending
yourself a little.
Are you able to spend adequate time with your children and your spouse? One of the great lies of recent
decades is that quality time can make up for not being there for your children
on a routine, daily basis. “Quality time” is a good thing, but it’s in the
quantity of time you’re able to give that the strength of relationships grows.
If you are already committed to
obligations that take up evening time, I would not add any new commitments. If
your children are in sports and you are having a difficult time fitting in a
family dinner, you should forgo the new commitment as well. The years that you
have to influence your children at home are numbered and precious. The
committees will be there for you after that season of life has come to an end.
Look at it this way: By the time
you are ready to serve on the committee, you will bring a few more years of
experience. So, in the meantime, you are in training to be a better committee
Are you able to meet the demands of your current job? If you are going to have to rob
from Peter (your current employer) to pay Paul (your new committee), then you
are not ready to take on the new role of volunteer. As a Catholic you must
honor your commitment to the company that pays your salary. If you see your
work from a vocational perspective, you can see that you are building up the
body of Christ each time you enter your workspace. Be sure you feel good about
earning an honest day’s pay by contributing an honest day’s work.
Are you able to find time to pray? One of Satan’s strategies is to make us too busy to find time for God. He
will employ any trick he can in order to distract us. It is ironic that he even
chooses to busy us in the work of the Church to keep us distant from Christ in
prayer. He knows that any busyness that takes our focus away from the Lord is
to his, Satan’s, advantage.
You should be cognizant of your
spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is usually accompanied by increased prayer.
If you look back on the past year or two and notice that your prayer life has
been stagnant, you may be too busy or too distracted to add responsibilities.
Volunteer work can provide
opportunities for some of the most satisfying and meaningful corporal acts of
mercy possible. Prayer is essential in discerning whether or not God is calling
you, through the signposts of your specific circumstances, to the task you’re
being asked to perform.
Motivational speaker Dave Durand is the author of Time Management for Catholics.
He’s online at davedurand.com.