Have you ever found yourself agreeing to do more than you know is possible. My mother calls that “biting off more than you can chew.” Moses’ father-in-law noticed that trait in his son-in-law in Exodus 18 and offered him a helpful piece of advice concerning delegation.
Too often we think such things as “No one else will do it so I’d better” or, “It won’t get done right unless I do it.” At the same time we are thinking “I’m so tired and don’t have time for myself anymore.”
We allow ourselves to be carried away by so many conflicting concerns. Thomas Merton writes that when we surrender to too many demands, or commit to too many projects, when we want to help everyone in everything, we are succumbing to violence. The frenzy of our inner lives destroys our capacity for inner peace. That frenzy destroys the fruitfulness of our work and kills the root of inner wisdom that makes our work fruitful.
A very critical task of the local church is to teach people to become “journeyers” instead of “wanderers.” This implies that the leadership of a congregation needs to be serious about their personal journeys. Leaders need to be serious to the point that they are willing to share their experience. This experience is to be shared not with the attitude of those who have arrived but as fellow journeyers with the capacity to give and receive.
—Rev. Donna Heflin
- Do you feel overwhelmed by what is expected of you in your local church?
- Is it easy for you to delegate tasks to others (sharing ministry opportunities)?
- Are you willing to try new ways, even when old ways proved to be ineffective?
- Do you feel you are a “journeyer” or a “wanderer”? Your church? Society?
How Do I Act?
- Make of list of your church commitments. Make another list of ways you spiritually nourish yourself. Decide to cut down on some of those commitments if you find that they are overtaking your spiritual health. Work on your prayerful consideration of saying “no” as well as “yes.”
- Delegate one thing to someone this week. Provide them with the information they need to carry out the request. Delegation fails because people do not have a clear understanding of what is expected. After the responsibility is delegated, let it go.
- To be more effective try something new in an area that hasn’t been working effectively. Don’t limit the possibilities of how it might be done until you have explored all the pros and cons of each possibility.
- Plan a person retreat. It may be as formal as scheduling yourself at a retreat center or as informal as reading your favorite book for an entire day.