I am coming to accept that I am a giver. That is the way God made me. I have lamented for years how much life has demanded from me, but I am starting to see that, regardless of the demands, I can’t help but contribute. Whether it is by choice or circumstances, my life is a constant state of giving. And instead of looking at that as something to be corrected, overcome, or “therapied away,” I am starting to change my perspective. Being a giver is a gift. And I believe being a giver is my calling…my vocation. That is why I constantly find myself in situations that elicit gift of self. Some of the discomfort I feel is probably due to my fighting what I am naturally inclined/drawn/called to do. Instead of trying to escape, I am seeking ways to embrace self-sacrifice. Not as a martyr, but as a master of my “trade.” A person who has a gift for singing looks for ways to best enhance and use their voice. They look for ways to hone in on their talents. I have long been envious of people who have lives of leisure. I dream of massages, cruises, vacations, childless days/nights. It is the same as a dog wishing to be a cat, instead of recognizing his own unique and instrinsic value in simply being what he was created.
This paradigm shift overlaps/converges with my desperate search for spiritual footing. My roles as a wife, mother, and hospice social worker all require a lot of me. Not just my time and energy, but ME…my heart, my spirit. A spa day or game night with friends, although very enjoyable, doesn’t replenish what is sacrificed with that kind of giving. At least not for me. There have been great givers in history and I started thinking about how they answered their calling yet maintained their sanity. One of the greatest, most selfless givers that immediately came to my mind was Mother Teresa. Cliche, perhaps. But I can’t think of another example in my lifetime of someone who gave so much…and did not whine for a spa day in return. HOW did she do it? I suspect only by the grace of God. And I suspect that there was much quiet time spent in His presence. THAT is what I’m seeking. In order to be able to best do what I have been placed here to do, at least at this time in my life, I believe that it is stillness, quietness, holiness that I need…where I can commune with the Almighty Giver and receive the kind of supernatural grace necessary to make the most of this life.
So many times I feel the world (and myself) insisting that I need to make time for myself, that I need more me time…that it’s all about me. But I never really got a peace from that thinking…or from the things I did in attempts to have “me time.” I wrestled with feeling self-absorbed/egocentric in my attempts to replenish what was lost. Then, just the other day, like a ton of bricks, it hit me: I don’t need to make time for ME…I need to make time for HIM.