Where’s the line between self-sacrifice and self-respect?
Jed Brewer replied:
Hey my friend,
This is a great question. If you’re open to it, let me rephrase it slightly. I think what you’re asking is:
“How do I know when I’m giving of myself in a healthy, constructive way, versus when we’ve crossed the line into other people simply taking advantage of me?”
This is an important question for Christians to be clear on, because, unfortunately, there are a lot of churches and church groups out there that will run through that line at top speed, and hope no one notices.
I think there are three parts to your answer.
1) “Is This Sustainable?”
Healthy living, and healthy service, are both, by definition, sustainable. In other words, you can keep doing them for weeks and months and years.
So, the immediate test is to ask, “If this situation continued as-is for the next week or month or year, would it drive me into the ground?”
If you’re existing on 5 hours of sleep a night with no exercise, no time for yourself to relax, and chiefly eating the left-overs from the potluck dinner, then, no. This is not sustainable.
2) “Would I Want To See A Friend In My Position?”
Christians often fall into the trap of being OK with things happening to themselves that they would never be OK with happening to anybody else.
So, if one of your friends was being treated the way you are, would you be ok with it? If not, then you shouldn’t be ok with it for you, either.
3) “Is This What God Wants?”
We need to remind ourselves that God does have an actual will and plan for your life. And that the fact that your church would like you to do something doesn’t mean that God wants you to do that thing.
It’s a very good idea to get into the habit of praying – and listening – to God about the service opportunities in your life. And not just before you start them. I’m talking continually, throughout. Plenty of things start good and take a wrong turn along the way.
One final note. It’s sad to say this, but, in general, you should not rely on a leader in your church or organization to cue you on when you’re doing too much. Unfortunately, they’re just not going to do that.
No, you need to decide for yourself if something is healthy. And have the courage to step away when it’s not.
God has your back. And so do I.