I did the children’s story in worship at the church I belong to last Sunday? I didn’t exactly want to say yes, but I did. I never feel like I’m at my best with children, and even as a child sometimes felt like I related better to adults. But I was struck by something I read in Kathleen Norris’ book Acedia and Me last week. She wrote about saying yes when asked at church even to things she wasn’t particularly good at, as a spiritual practice. And of course I did children’s stories as a pastor almost every week for years, so it’s not like putting on a dinner for 150 (something I really wouldn’t be good at).
Saying yes in a thoughtful way, for a reason, to something you don’t particularly want to do, is not the same as a compulsive, overfunctioning yes. It’s important, though not easy, to make this distinction. Spiritual growth can come when we gently open ourselves to people and tasks we don’t necessarily like. And I actually enjoyed my few moments with the children in worship, and feel a bit better connected with them. (While enjoyment may not be the point of this practice, it’s a nice by-product when it happens.)
What do you have to do this week that you don’t want to do? Can you welcome it instead of resisting it?