31 Days of De-Stressed Living, Day 25: Understand Your Limitations

time suitcaseAre you a “drama junkie”?

When I was a kid, my Sunday school teachers taught me that “joy” was about “Putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last.”

What they didn’t say is that is also the recipe for resentment, when the balance gets out of whack.

I’ve had to learn the hard way, for example, that holding down a full-time job and full-time family means that there is only so much I can do for someone in crisis. Pray. Call. Take a meal or send a comfort box. Perhaps work out a short visit. But I cannot in most cases make the problem go away — and if I spend too much time helping my neighbor tend his garden, the weeds begin to take over my own.

It often doesn’t feel like enough. Selfish, even. But is it selfish to recognize that I have limited resources (time, energy, money) and need to prioritize giving my family what they need?

Sometimes, my “drama junkie” tendencies win, and I rush headlong toward a crisis, trying to eradicate any trace of the problem — there’s a rewarding kind of emotional rush that goes with it. It took me a long time to realize this, but this is a very real form of selfishness, abdicating the responsibilities of my own vocation in order to over-extend myself in someone else’s garden.

The last time I did that — taking over the care of three boys whose mother was fighting leukemia — put my own children at risk (something we discovered, and paid for dearly, a year later). Sure, my friend needed help — but my children needed protecting even more. That experience taught me the importance of understanding my own limitations, and of not letting the “drama junkie” win.

Do you have to fight your inner “drama junkie”? Is there any area of your life where you are over-extending yourself, and need to acknowledge your limitations?




Are you listening, St. Dimas?

St. Dimas by Lu Bro "Bridge Building Images"A new friend of mine, who shall for the present remain nameless, recently gave me a beautiful rosary to intercede for my family.

This same friend also gently suggested that I ask St. Dimas for a bit of celestial intervention. Now, this was an unfamiliar name, and so a little research was in order. I came across this post by Lance Mannion, which offered the following explanation:

Dimas is the patron saint of thieves.  He is not their patron saint the way St Anthony is the patron saint of lost items.  You pray to St Anthony to help you find something you’ve misplaced, like when your car keys have gone missing.  You don’t pray to St Dimas to help you pull off a heist.  You pray to him when your conscience is bothering you and you want to go straight.  Which is why all of us can pray to him, not just those of us who have trouble with the notion of private property.  All of us need to give up our lives of crime and go straight.

St. Dimas, it turns out, was the “good thief” who was crucified with Christ, whom the Lord promised would be “this day with me in paradise.” He is the patron of those who have lost their way . . . and want to find their way back to the narrow road. Somehow, it fits.

St. Dimas, as you left this world for a much better one, the last faces you saw were the compassionate visage of Christ and his sorrowful mother. Remember my family to this family of God, that the Spirit of God would light our path and guide us safely to our eternal home. Lead us to the Blessed Mother who always takes us to her Son.

Who is your favorite “go-to” saint when you feel “under fire”?

Photo credit: St. Dimas by Lu Bro at “Bridge Building Images”