After reading your letter I believe that you know the answer to your question. You feel in your heart that you should step back from some of the outside activities that currently keep you busy. When the Holy Spirit begins to nudge us to make a change in our lifestyle, it has been my experience that in His tender mercy, the first response to our desire to 'find more time' is a feeling of guilt. Isn't that strange? We begin to feel a bit guilty of 'giving up' on the many worthwhile activities that require our involvement. We spend more than a few moments in a day wrestling with the pros and cons of stepping back.
It is hard for us to imagine that it is the Lord Himself who is asking us to step back. I too was heavily involved in ministry in our parish. I was the DRE and involved in several ministries from hospitality to music. My time was portioned out accordingly. I began to feel that I was pushed to more involvement and pulled away from the one ministry that I truly felt called to do...homeschool. I know that sounds curious. Let me explain. When the Lord first called me to the homeschooling lifestyle I was amazed that the Lord would call me to this vocation with such a quiet resolve. I was determined to homeschool our children. Yet the other activities that took my time seemed to be the necessary payment for the great opportunity to spend my days with my children.
Every time a new volunteer position would be announced I just knew that the dear Lord wanted me to step up because, after all, 'I had free time." Hee, hee. Gradually I began to feel 'busy' and not at all fruitful. My faith walk was cluttered with activities that were eroding my homeschooling lifestyle. On top of all this my husband began formation as a deacon. I was restless and needed a clearer vision than the one that I was currently working from. I resigned from all outside activities except those that were directly related to our homeschooling (teaching language arts and puppetry at our local co-op). I reorganized my priorities and allowed my spirit to rest in the Lord's embrace. It felt great but there was another challenge.
People at church thought that I was being 'lazy' because I was no longer heavily involved. There was a bit of conflict on several different levels but they quickly resolved themselves when I realized that this was just the Tempter trying to weaken my resolve. I knew in my heart that I was making the right choices for our family and for our homeschooling lifestyle. Let me give you this little piece of advice. Do not apologize for the choices that you are making. Do not give involved explanations. Just state simply that you can no longer continue your participation because you find that the Lord is calling you to something different.
All women travel through seasons in their lives. You are entering a new season. Embrace this season and allow the Lord to slowly and with His great mercy and wisdom teach you as you begin the journey. You will feel a certain and unshakable peace when you have reached a place of balance with regard to your new lifestyle. Imagine Catholic homeschooling as it really is...a lifestyle. When you entered into the vocation of the married person your priorities changed accordingly. This is the balance that we must strive to maintain. It is the Tempter that wants us out of balance. This fretful state of busy-ness will be replaced with fruitfulness of action.
Remember too that if you step back you have allowed an opportunity to open up for the Lord to bring someone else forward. This is the real living presence of the Holy Spirit in our church.
I admire you greatly. I imagine in my heart that you are a loving and energetic person who has a heart for the Lord. You love your faith and your family. You are a Proverbs woman and a great gift to all who have the great good fortune of knowing you. What a blessing you are to your parish and certainly to your family. Remember that all seasons in a person's life should be dedicated to the Lord. It is the Lord who empowers and inspires. You will make the right choices because you have a docile spirit that is eager to listen and learn from the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray an Our Father for all the newly ordained deacons of the Catholic Church. Let us ask the dear sweet Jesus to cover them with the graces necessary to go forward into ministry. Let us offer our prayers as well for all newly ordained priests and religious persons. Lord, we thank You for the witness of their dedication. St. Stephan pray for us.
Sending out a prayer,