It’s good to put a finish line on it, even when “it” is a good thing like volunteer work. Sometimes even things we love are stressful. Being awake for too many hours a day, or driving too many miles—even for the best of causes—can put a strain on a person. On their spouse. On their kids. Allowing something to go on too long isn’t the wisest thing to do. The good thing becomes less enjoyable. The wonderful cause that inspired no longer has the crusader floating on air; eventually her dragon’s tail is drooping and dragging.
Think of a young child’s birthday party. Everyone starts off squealing with excitement, but then they’ve had enough of each other and the kids, and before anyone can say Pin the Tail on the Donkey, little Timmy pokes the birthday girl in the eye and all the parents wish the party had ended an hour before.
In a way, we are all like that sometimes, with some things.
But if we’re responsible people, we have a hard time setting something down on the ground and not picking it up again. We don’t want to say, “I can’t do this anymore.” We don’t want to feel like we’re letting anyone down. We don’t want to admit that sometimes, the party is just not as fun as it used to be.
Put a finish line on it before you get tired
So when it happens to you (and I say when, not if, because it will happen to you), just put a finish line on it. If you can do that early on, when things are still quite enjoyable but you can see that it’s becoming a strain or is going to become a strain, then so much the better.
Circumstances change. Commitments need to be re-evaluated on occasion. Saying that you’re going to put a finish line on something does not mean that you’re saying the thing is no longer good or worthy. You might cry when you say goodbye, because you loved it all along. Maybe that thing isn’t the problem at all; maybe other things are demanding more of your time and attention for a season. Perhaps there is no “fault” at all, there is just not enough of you to go around.
But when you find yourself as Bilbo did, feeling like too little butter stretched over too much bread, when your family members see you in the morning as you stumble to the bathroom to do something about your dragon breath and sticky-uppy hair and they say, “Hey, who are you? Oh, aren’t you that sweet, beautiful woman who used to live here?” then it might be time to re-evaluate and set an ending date for some things.
You deserve to feel rested. The people who need you most need you more than any organization does. Good causes can find other crusaders. Your loved ones can’t find another you. You might not be able to do much about having morning breath or insane hair, but you can do something about having an impossible schedule. Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. We never get our days back. Pass them in the most worthwhile ways possible. For me, that’s editing books, homeschooling my kids, and spending time with those I love. What is it for you?