Quote of the Day: Am I Doing Enough?

 

Many years ago, I was talking to the fellow who taught me to meditate. I mentioned that I was afraid that I was not doing enough to serve G-d. Or…I was afraid that G-d had wanted me to do or be something that I was not doing/being. He asked me the following question: “What if you were sent here to help one person and you have already done that?” —Wayne McKibbin

 Many of us, religious or not, question ourselves and our role in the world: are we doing enough? Is what we’re doing meaningful or helpful? Whether we’re overachievers or committed to making a difference in the world, or if we just want to be a good parent, spouse, or friend, these questions come up.

I love the question that Wayne McKibbin asked my friend. The point was not whether her work on this earth had already been completed, but rather that it’s difficult to be certain what we are meant to do, how we can best do it, when we should spend the time (or not) to help another person or group of people, and if we have struck the right balance in contributing to life.

I ask myself these questions less often than I used to, mainly because I’ve pretty much identified at this particular time of my life what I’ve been called to do. Most of what I do focuses on religious study, keeping up on current events, keeping fit, and writing for my friends at Ricochet. My postings might be personal reflections, the state of the world, inspiring occurrences, or something that simply moved me. I also take steps to maintain good health and be a good wife and friend. And when I am well enough, I will return to volunteering for hospice.

Don’t misunderstand me: sometimes Life changes its mind, and other opportunities show up. At those times I try to discern whether I’d be taking on too much, whether it’s time to let something go or to cut back, or whether the new temptation is just a passing fancy. And Life can take its time clarifying what I need to do. But It will show me, eventually.

Every now and then I slip up and neglect one area or another that engages me. Rather than beat myself up, I apologize, try to make an assessment of how my life is going and make adjustments where necessary.

I only hope that G-d will agree that what I’m doing is enough.

How do you make these choices in your life?

[photo from unsplash.com]

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Susan Quinn: “What if you were sent here to help one person and you have already done that?”

    I’d say it’s Miller Time . . .

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: “What if you were sent here to help one person and you have already done that?”

    I’d say it’s Miller Time . . .

    Oh, Stad! I shoulda known!  ;-)

    • #2
  3. WiesbadenJake Coolidge
    WiesbadenJake
    @WiesbadenJake

    This is a great question; I think our creator provides many serendipitous opportunities to serve and bless others’ lives. I think that I have probably done more good with no specific intention than I have when I have set out to do good with intention. Sometimes the good we do for others may not look so good in the moment but years later it may make sense to them. At least in my experience. I think all who desire to love mercy and walk humbly will have lasting positive fruit from their lives.

    • #3
  4. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    I think parents who always feel like they could do better have a parenting attitude that keeps them improving as parents.  I think the same is true for doing enough.  When we feel like we need to do more, we probably need to do more.  The inclination is for the purpose to improve. 

    The things one can see or imagine need doing though can be overwhelming.  Sometimes we need to remember the field has many workers. 

    Not too sure about the single-use worker though.  Does seem like there are some scripture stories where a seemingly random person gets called into the game for one play.  It’s always good to have something to ponder. 

    • #4
  5. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    WiesbadenJake (View Comment):

    This is a great question; I think our creator provides many serendipitous opportunities to serve and bless others’ lives. I think that I have probably done more good with no specific intention than I have when I have set out to do good with intention. Sometimes the good we do for others may not look so good in the moment but years later it may make sense to them. At least in my experience. I think all who desire to love mercy and walk humbly will have lasting positive fruit from their lives.

    Beautiful sentiments, Jake. I think when we are oriented to do good, we tend to do that, even without conscious intention. But when we add intention, we benefit along with the other person. At least I think that’s true.

    • #5
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    When we feel like we need to do more, we probably need to do more.  The inclination is for the purpose to improve. 

    That’s an interesting way to look at it, Lawst. Could you elaborate on how to “improve the purpose”?

    I do know that there are times when the things I want to do are really none of my business. I love to give advice. I have learned, particularly with my husband, not to continually offer unsolicited input. It’s annoying and disrespectful.

    • #6
  7. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    I heard a talk from an old priest who said that before he entered the seminary was only giving God 8 or 9 %.  Since then for years he regularly fasts and prays and tries to be available to others at all times so now he’s up to –10 or 11%.  The congregation laughs.  His larger point was that direction and process and not distance from endpoints are what matter.  Good thing, that.  Where is your heart and what are you trying to do? is probably the only essay question on the final exam.

     

    • #7
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Where is your heart and what are you trying to do? is probably the only essay question on the final exam.

    Indeed.

    • #8
  9. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    When we feel like we need to do more, we probably need to do more. The inclination is for the purpose to improve.

    That’s an interesting way to look at it, Lawst. Could you elaborate on how to “improve the purpose”?

    I do know that there are times when the things I want to do are really none of my business. I love to give advice. I have learned, particularly with my husband, not to continually offer unsolicited input. It’s annoying and disrespectful.

    I tried cramming too much thought into too few words.  Better said maybe and with some elaboration: The purpose of the inclination, the feeling we need to do more, is to improve our overall thing which we do or add to the things which we do.   

     

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):
    When we feel like we need to do more, we probably need to do more. The inclination is for the purpose to improve.

    That’s an interesting way to look at it, Lawst. Could you elaborate on how to “improve the purpose”?

    I do know that there are times when the things I want to do are really none of my business. I love to give advice. I have learned, particularly with my husband, not to continually offer unsolicited input. It’s annoying and disrespectful.

    I tried cramming too much thought into too few words. Better said maybe and with some elaboration: The purpose of the inclination, the feeling we need to do more, is to improve our overall thing which we do or add to the things which we do.

     

    No prob. I call that speaking in shorthand!

    • #10
  11. JoshuaFinch Coolidge
    JoshuaFinch
    @JoshuaFinch

    “You hunt me like a lion” (Job 10:16)

    We sometimes speak of searching for God. But what if God is searching — even hunting — for us?

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    JoshuaFinch (View Comment):

    “You hunt me like a lion” (Job 10:16)

    We sometimes speak of searching for God. But what if God is searching — even hunting — for us?

    I think He is always present, so I don’t know that He has to search for us.  But maybe people have their own complicated ideas for finding Him or they expect Him to show up in particular ways. Instead, maybe they just need to listen, pay attention. He might be in the kind words of a friend. Or a helpful suggestion given to us out of nowhere. Or maybe the time we expect has not arrived. We have to relax into G-d’s time and do the next thing. I hope that makes sense.

    • #12
  13. She Member
    She
    @She

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    I heard a talk from an old priest who said that before he entered the seminary was only giving God 8 or 9 %. Since then for years he regularly fasts and prays and tries to be available to others at all times so now he’s up to –10 or 11%. The congregation laughs. His larger point was that direction and process and not distance from endpoints are what matter. Good thing, that. Where is your heart and what are you trying to do? is probably the only essay question on the final exam.

     

    I love this.  Yes.  A person who moves from giving 8% to giving 10% has actually improved his direction and process by 25%, which is not an insubstantial amount, if the expectation is that he’ll keep improving.  

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    • #13
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