The concept of the Southern Utah Spiritual Round Table is to present answers to a challenging spiritual question from a group of four southern Utah spiritual leaders from the Interfaith Counsel. That way, you get multiple perspectives and potential answers to mull over in regards to the question of the week.

This week’s question is “How do you find a balance between helping others and giving so much of yourself that you burn out?”

From Greg Wright, pastor of Westside Baptist Church

The Bible warns about becoming “weary while doing good” (Galatians 6:9). Without putting some guards in place, helping others can be tiring, seem pointless, and produce frustration. First, guard yourself from this by evaluating what you are doing. Is it something that you should do, something you should help them do, or something they should do themselves? There are some burdens (like a soldier’s own backpack) that every person should carry for themselves (Galatians 6:5).

Second, prioritize your time, talents, and resources. The farmer must save some seed for planting in the next year. It is wise, not selfish, to sometimes withhold from others so that you are able to better serve them in the future.

Finally, determine your motive for helping others. Motives such as the admiration of others, personal gain, or bringing an end to the person’s problems will become unsatisfying over time. On the other hand, a motive of pleasing God can be fully satisfying in all circumstances. Do not grow weary while doing good!

From Mike Kruse, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Southwestern Utah

Wow, what a timely topic for me! We all experience so many deadlines, activities, work, church, friends, neighbors, family, etc. When can we find the time for ourselves? How do we balance being pulled in so many directions at (what appears to be) the same time?

I would break this problem down into three categories: health, caretaking, and priorities.

Health

How is your blood pressure? Are you feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, or guilty? If you are, you might be trying to do too much. I know sometimes we don’t have choices, but don’t ever forget that it is OK to sometimes say, “I’m sorry, but I can’t right now. Check back with me in an hour, or tomorrow or next week.” Get regular physicals and see the dentist.

Caretaking

Are you taking care of yourself both mentally and physically? Are you getting enough exercise? I am trying, but I can honestly say I don’t get enough, even though I am fortunately healthy and athletic. Even if you don’t get enough, try to walk briskly twice a day for 15 minutes, which is according to research from Arizona State better than walking once a day for 30 minutes. Strength and core exercise is important also. Yoga, meditation, Pilates, and sports not only help our bodies but our minds and spirits. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule by waking up and going to sleep around the same time. Don’t do computer work or watch TV before sleep.

Diet

We all know how important this is. I am trying to eat no red meat, cut back on sugar, limit alcohol to only a glass of wine per week, and eat lots of fruits, nuts, and veggies.

Priorities

We need to set priorities, such as (1) work and self, (2) spouse and family, and (3) friends and church. Every day, try to laugh, cry, help someone else, and most of all be grateful for all our blessings. If you have someone to love, something to contribute, and make the right choices, we will all be healthier, happier, and better for those around us.

Remember, you are not perfect, and no one else is. We are trying our best. We should always forgive others and as Jesus said, “Judge not, lest we be judged.”

From Nancy Ross lay leader in the Southern Utah Community of Christ Congregation

I haven’t found that perfect balance. I have learned that it is not possible for me to say “yes” to every good thing. I am coming to understand that there are going to be moments when I need to stretch to meet the demands that are before me and others when I am going to decline opportunities to serve. I say “yes” or “no” depending on whether an opportunity aligns with my core goals. Implementing this has helped me not burn out so frequently.

From Arthur Drehman, pastor of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church

Serving two congregations, here and at Kanab, I have involvement in two different communities and am involved in several activities in each. Time can get difficult, especially when emergencies come up in this Lenten season. One thing that is helpful to me is having a communication network, people that can pass the message on when I cannot easily be reached.

At Our Savior’s in St. George, our congregation has a board of elders who are able to each reach out to a third of the congregation. However, there are still many unexpected situations that come up even from people outside my congregations. For a pastor, the ability to drop everything and attend to an emergency is vital. The best way to manage time is to allow for the unseen to be able to take priority.

No matter how well time is managed, there is also the question, “What if I had done more?” This question is often unanswerable and is often avoided when there are time-conflicting problems. Nevertheless, this question is not something to be dismissed but brought before God in prayer. Even if an answer can never come to this question, it is God who guides your life and him who gives you the power and strength to achieve the purpose he has in mind. The best solution when we are in doubt about how to use the time God has given us is to ask God ourselves.

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