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Never Enough


Kurari
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My best friend is a christian. She knows I'm not a christian, but our beliefs on the Divine are never a factor in our friendship and it never gets brought up other except in passing. But sometimes though, I really have to bite my tongue about how much time she gives to her church that she doesn't have.

 

She's in the choir, helps set up and tear down of the performances, works the newsletter, does lighting and ops work, works in the coffee stand, jumps in for sunday school and camps, helps chair the women's group...you name it. If ANYBODY drops the ball in that church or they need a volunteer, they turn to her...she'll do it. No matter what.

 

She'll call me up and tell me about yet ANOTHER job they have roped her into, and I can hear in her voice that she doesn't want to do it. I've asked her, "Why didn't you just say no?" and she'll adopt a new tone like an audiable shrug and say, "Eh. I can handle it. It's not that much."

 

But it is that much. It just keeps piling up. My friend constantly gets sick. She's always getting infections, colds, flu, health attacks of one thing or another. I need antibiotics what, every two or three years? She's been on rounds of anti-biotics almost every other month this year! She's got constant stress related illnesses like high blood pressure, stomach problems, back, neck, body aches, and stress related aggravation to her diabetes.

 

She gets up before it's light and goes to bed way after it's dark. She works full time then she's always off doing something for SOMEBODY. And she wonders why she's constantly getting sick. She rarely takes more than a couple of hours for herself daily just to do basic life things like shower and eat, doesn't get enough sleep, keeps telling herself she can do more, until her body gives out again and she's forced to stay in bed. It's an endless cycle that makes me wince.

 

I know that it's that old Puritan work ethic that tells you you can't be idle for one little minute, and she especially feels that when it comes to church related stuff. I've joked with her in the past she should start her own church...she knows how to run one well enough!

 

I've told her I'm concerned for her and think that what she does isn't healthy, but she's not listening. I used to be the same way when I was younger, doing the constant "people pleasing" until my body completely gave out from that lifestyle and forced me to put myself first and learn to say "no." There is a lot of things I can't do in the world now because my body wore out from trying to "do it all."

 

I worry about that for her because it's not something I'd wish on anybody. I'm hoping she'll see the light (stars from a clue by four to the head would be nice) and slow down before she breaks down completely. :god:

 

Sorry. Just had to vent. That type of sacrificial work ethic is one of my major pet peeves in the world today. :vent:

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I was kinda of like that. Sat on committees, sang in the choir, taught Sunday School, volunteered for different groups and projects, picked up little old ladies to get out of the house, etc. I often would say "yes" when inside my guts were screaming "NO, NO, NO!" The last few years in church, I did pull back a lot, and finally had time to really think things over. I saw that I needed to draw some boundaries, learn to say no, and recognize that it wasn't my job to save the world--or even save my church. Of course, I then had time to think about other things which led me to walk away from Christianity; maybe that's one reason ministers like to keep you busy hopping with church activities?

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I see the word "performance" used in this discussion. I wish church didn't have that aspect to it. Maybe I might have stayed a little longer....maybe.

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Ah, the worker bees. The said thing is the more they give, the more is expected from them.

 

I posted this once before on here. It's my idea of the Church social pyramid. Feel free to add to it.

Maybe it will help you understand.

 

The Royal Family, they are at the top and since there are few of them, they are the smallest group. They are the few who control the church and have the most respect. The only way you can be part of the Royal Family is to be born or marry into it.

 

The Royal Subjects, they are the chosen of The Royal Family, the close friends and confidants. Because of their close position to the Royal Family, they have lots of dirt on them.

 

The Wannabes, (worker bees tend to fall in this catagory) They want to be Royal Subjects. The Royal family keeps them around and may let them think they are Royal Subjects because they do most of the work. Royal Subjects are already established. Wannabes need to understand that they will never be Royal Subjects, ever!

 

The Grunts, they are the ones who warm the pews and where the majority of the money comes from in tithes. They go along with the flow of things and show up for all the church related evemts/ They may even do a few things, like host a six week Bible study at their house, but they tend not to get too involved other than just show up.

 

the Untouchables. They are the people that the church claims to reach out to, but the reality is, no one really knows how to relate to them. They could have depression, a bad marriage, be recovering alcoholics, etc. They are on the outer fringes and at the bottom wrung of the social ladder, tend not to tithe, and come and go a lot.

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I used to be involved in every aspect of church music that ever was, or at least, that's how it felt.

 

I was in choir, I was in worship group, I was a songleader, I did women's Bible study, I did freakin' everything.

 

And yet, whenever I said "no", I got the passive-aggressive, "Well, I guess the Lord will provide, and we'll find someone to help," which translates to, "You heathen slacker, how DARE you say no!"

 

I really hate the you-must-volunteer-for-EVERYTHING mindset. Drives me nuts. That's why I limit myself, and haven't joined a volunteer group in a couple of years.

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She's in the choir, helps set up and tear down of the performances, works the newsletter, does lighting and ops work, works in the coffee stand, jumps in for sunday school and camps, helps chair the women's group...you name it. If ANYBODY drops the ball in that church or they need a volunteer, they turn to her...she'll do it. No matter what.

 

She'll call me up and tell me about yet ANOTHER job they have roped her into, and I can hear in her voice that she doesn't want to do it. I've asked her, "Why didn't you just say no?" and she'll adopt a new tone like an audiable shrug and say, "Eh. I can handle it. It's not that much."

 

 

I have to say her problem is not found exclusively in the church. It is called CO-DEPENDENCY. I know several non-christians who suffer of it. But I have to admit, the church is packed with co-dependents.

 

Is she also controlling? Just curious.

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I know several people like this. I believe it is an intrinsic need for many. The church thrives off such people because it gets most of their work done. Nuns used to fulfill this work, but now that they are dead and not being replaced, the church closes schools instead of spending money. I wish your friend well,she must slow down.

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I have to say her problem is not found exclusively in the church. It is called CO-DEPENDENCY. I know several non-christians who suffer of it. But I have to admit, the church is packed with co-dependents.

 

Is she also controlling? Just curious.

 

Yeah, she is, actually. She's not happy unless she's in charge. Even if it's just driving, she'll become a back-seat driver.

 

Hmm, you just made me realize how many co-dependants I actually know. I was a co-dependant for a long time, in and out of christianity, until I realized what it was. I know a lot of non-christian co-dependants myself. I think this is very much a societal thing as well...but I also think it's mostly influenced by church ethic, even if you aren't christian.

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I have to say her problem is not found exclusively in the church. It is called CO-DEPENDENCY. I know several non-christians who suffer of it. But I have to admit, the church is packed with co-dependents.

 

Is she also controlling? Just curious.

 

Yeah, she is, actually. She's not happy unless she's in charge. Even if it's just driving, she'll become a back-seat driver.

 

Hmm, you just made me realize how many co-dependants I actually know. I was a co-dependant for a long time, in and out of christianity, until I realized what it was. I know a lot of non-christian co-dependants myself. I think this is very much a societal thing as well...but I also think it's mostly influenced by church ethic, even if you aren't christian.

 

Agreed. North American culture is heavily influenced by christian principles. So that even non-christian people hold the same stupid values: sacrifice, helpfulness, blah, blah.

 

I dislike "helpful" people. They call it helpfulness but it is actually control: "I will help you so you do what I want."

 

 

 

I know several people like this. I believe it is an intrinsic need for many. The church thrives off such people because it gets most of their work done. Nuns used to fulfill this work, but now that they are dead and not being replaced, the church closes schools instead of spending money. I wish your friend well,she must slow down.

 

Definitely, It used to make me angry that the church, instead of helping these people become balanced individuals, took advantage of them. It is truly sick.

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