Dear 100 Hour Board,
I am thinking about asking my bishop to release me from my calling. I'm a ward missionary, or at least I'm supposed to be. I literally have no time to commit to this calling. The sisters text me all the time and I always have to say no because I'm so busy. They deserve someone better than me who has more time to serve. I'm in college and I'm working, and busier than I've ever been in my entire life. I'm not trying to be a quitter but I seriously have NO extra time ever, not even weekends. I just feel bad because iI just can't put my calling as my top priority. College trumpts all right now. Is this selfish of me? I just think they would benefit from having someone else be called to this, who can actually help more than I can.
-the most unhelpful person on the planet these days
Dear don't discount yourself,
Personally, I don't believe the "I don't have time" excuse. I just...don't. It's nothing but an excuse and I think we all become better people when we make a conscious effort to avoid excuses. Most people just don't know how to budget their time efficiently. Think about it - wake up just ten minutes earlier each morning and bam, you've got seventy minutes each week to devote to your calling. There's all sorts of little time-saving mechanisms that you can use throughout the week to find the time that you need to magnify your calling.
If you want to ask for a release, go ahead. But take an honest look at how you're managing your time before you make excuses. Everyone is busy and if you're in a student ward, you're not the only student, and you're definitely not the only working student. There are people who are busier than you. I may be wrong and you may actually have scheduled places to be from 7 AM until 10 PM straight. If that's the case, just be sure that you carefully prioritize your responsibilities before deciding which things you're going to drop. What's more important in the eternal perspective of things? That's a decision that you are going to have to pray about and carefully consider before making.
Remember to keep this eternal perspective as well. College and education are fundamentally important, but don't forget your spiritual growth in the process and don't forget the people that may be NEEDING you to fulfill and magnify your calling right now - NEEDING you to reach out to them as the ward missionary and take some time for them. Maybe there's something for you to learn from this challenge right now and you won't get that benefit and the added blessings from sticking it out if you don't. I would discuss your feelings with your Bishop before asking for a release but in the end, I don't think it's inappropriate to ask for a release if you're really just at the end of your rope.
Dear most unhelpful,
Can I suggest that you read this talk by President Eyring? He talks about being an overwhelmed and overloaded priesthood leader. And while I know that the situation you are in is not exactly the same, there are lots of similarities. It caused me to think a lot about how we choose to spend our time and the weight we give to our responsibilities.
I think Concorde makes a good point about the importance of hard work and sacrifice in the Church. But I also think that she has treated you unfairly in assuming that she understands the demands on your time and that of other people because she understands her own ability to devote her time to many pursuits. The fact is, you are the only person capable of determining whether you have enough time to do your calling.
But instead of going to the bishop and asking for a release, just go to him and lay it out. Tell him about your concerns and your time constraints and whatever stresses and worries you have. Tell him what you told us. You and he can sit in counsel together to decide the appropriate outcome. It may be that you decide to ask for a release afterward, but you might also find a solution that allows you to feel good about your calling and the amount of time you feel you can give.
The Man with a Mustache
Some people are personally driven and can do full-time work and full-time school and a ton of church stuff and would feel shiftless if they did any less. Some people, however, would burn out or go crazy with a schedule like that. It's not our place to put value judgements on the level of your devotion based simply on how much time you feel you can devote to callings right now.
I know it's important to share your time and talents with others. The times of my life where I received the greatest joy were when I served others. Something I think we may be taking for granted as a culture, though, is that it's important to focus on yourself as well! You are your own person with needs and feelings and a future to prepare for. You have a responsibility to yourself. Don't let anyone minimize that.
I was a ward missionary for about two years. Towards the end, I had major problems coordinating schedules with my companion, so he would always go on his own. I was also taking a gazillion credits at school, worked two jobs, was going to the hospital twice a week, and had very poor health (and therefore energy) in general. I talked to my bishop about my concerns because I felt like I wasn't adequately fulfilling my calling. I asked him what he thought I should do as far as the calling went, and he's the one that decided to release me.
So, what I suggest to you is that you do talk to your bishop. Express to him your concerns. If you feel like bringing up getting released, then bring it up. But I also think you should really look at the way you manage your time, too.
In any case, I'm not one to judge people desiring a release from their calling. I'm pretty sure everyone is going to experience these feelings at least once. And, sometimes, it maybe really is for the best.
Why does college trump all?
- Beemer Boy
Dear the ~
It's fun to ask a group of strangers about your life and hope they all commiserate with you and give you the answer you want, but really, we don't know the whole story. We don't know you, your personality, your mental health, your load, or really anything about you except what you told us. And I'll bet everything you told us has more detail to it than we know.
So really, my advice is to go talk to your bishop. Don't ask for a release. Instead, ask for advice. Tell him you're considering asking to be released. Tell him why. Ask if he has any advice for you to fulfill your calling more fully and not be overly stressed and to the breaking point. I would highly recommend following his council long before you follow any of ours.
~ Dragon Lady