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.