Saturday, November 07, 2009

I'm Codependent

This post isn't meant to be a whiny post, but a confession of my codependency. When I was growing up, my parents taught me that you always accept the callings that the Bishop gives to you. If there is a problem that you think you can't do the calling, it is appropriate to tell him the circumstances, but then you should accept the calling if he still wants you to do it. The thinking behind this is that the callings are inspired of the Lord, and He will help you to accomplish the calling. I have also been taught by my parents that you should never ask to be released from a calling. Like the advice above, if you think you can't do it anymore, then it is appropriate to tell the Bishop the circumstances, but let him make the decision. It's interesting that as my parents get older, they don't necessarily follow this advice themselves, but I still remember what they taught me.

In addition to accepting callings, I have always had the belief that in order to sustain other people in their callings, we should help them when needed. I don't feel quite the same loyalty to them as I do to the Bishop though, so if there are circumstances in my life that make helping them difficult, I tell them no. But by and large, if someone asks me to do something, I do it. Here is where the codependency comes in. The question is in the meaning of the word, "difficult". With my present calling, helping anyone in their calling is difficult because I teach 5 days a week. But the codependent in me says, "Yes, it will be difficult to help them, but you actually CAN do it, and it won't kill you." So I end up helping even if it is difficult. It's really hard for me to tell them no unless I have a better reason. For example, if I already committed to help someone else during that time period, or if I already have committed to help someone else with another project that takes up a lot of my time, then I tell them no.

Last week someone called and asked me to sub for them this Sunday. They prefaced the request by saying, "I know you teach every day, but..." I did that quick questioning of myself, and thought, "Yes you teach every day, but one more lesson this week won't kill you." After I agreed to sub for her, she said, "You can't believe how many people I have already asked who told me no. They say they don't feel comfortable teaching." Even though it was hard for me to accept, I was glad I didn't become one of those who said no.

I keep thinking that the problem is that like marriage, we in the church need to be "equally yoked". Instead of having some who aren't willing to do anything, and others who seem to do it all, everyone should be willing to help out when asked. I guess it takes faith, and some people's faith isn't strong.

We have a lay ministry in our church. None of us are paid for our service, not even the Bishop who puts in many, many hours a week. But I do think we are paid spiritually. Our faith is strenghtened, and we grow. It's because of callings I've had that I have actually developed talents. I don't think I would have developed them in any other way. But somehow I need to find a balance between my idealistic beliefs about sustaining others, and the load I already carry.


Mr. Giggles said...

Just remember what Moses' father-in-law told him. You can't do everything yourself. You have to allow other people to help you. That doesn't mean that YOU have to be the person that helps EVERYONE else, though! That's the same as trying to do everything yourself. You don't have to give someone a "good reason" why you can't do something. Just tell them, "I know you need the help, but I just can't do it this time." Trust me, they all know how it is, but if you say yes to everyone who asks, everyone will KEEP ON asking, using you like a revolving door, and just assuming they can. Burn-out can come from being indispensable too! I know, too, that I am one of the LAST people who should give advice on saying "NO" but that doesn't mean this isn't good advice!

PsychDoctor said...

I feel bad reading this post, because I turned down giving a prayer in sacrament meeting tomorrow... :(

Inklings said...

I was talking to Mom and Dad about this very thing recently, and Dad said he always felt like it was about 10 people who ran every ward he was ever in, because the rest say no.
But I hear you, I feel the same way sometimes. I am not sure what the answer is, either.

Nene said...

Well, first of all I really think every stake should do what our stake did and call 2 Seminary teachers to every task. That way you only teach 2 days a week. Our stake started doing that when we had some teachers get very ill and they had to call new teachers mid year. Also, then it's not quite so hard to help out in your ward once in awhile.
The next thing is I really think if the people who do all the work in the ward WOULD say no more, then the other people might have to be forced to step up to the plate and start doing things. They might find out it is actually not that hard. I also think that the people who do the asking KNOW the people who say no and the ones who say yes. They might word it the same to the ones who say no. If they word it differently, it might be easier to say no. See what I mean? Maybe if they called someone "unbiasly" (is that a word) and asked it in the same way they asked the ones who said yes all the time, then the person would realize that they WERE needed. I don't know, this is just a theory, but maybe we should try harder to help those that say no, say yes.

Katie said...

My parents taught me to accept callings extened to me and not ask to be released. This teaching has been a benefit to me and a challenge as well. I have developed talents that I did not have a desire to develop. Heavenly Father knows where we need to grow. He is rounding each of our sharp corners and helping us become perfected. We just need the faith to say "yes".