Availability In the Community

vs. self-centeredness

Willingness to change my schedule and priorities to meet a need

To practice Availability I will:

  • put others ahead of myself
  • find a way to help, not a way to hide
  • be ready when I am called
  • be glad for the change to serve
  • check with the right people before making commitments

“Status = Available”

When I first started studying the character qualities, I was not a big fan of Availability. I did not really see why it was a necessary quality on which to work. But once I started really looking at it, I realized that I was failing at being available. You see, I was the volunteer that could not say “No.” I volunteered at church and my daughters’ school. I was a Girl Scout leader and a PTA board member. I was on Parish Council. The girls were involved in dance, sports, and scouts, and I volunteered for all the fundraisers. I was available – right?

When I studied the quality, I learned it meant being available to those relationships and communities that you valued. It was an action word, not a status. A rental car has the status of “available” to rent while it sits on the lot. When a person is available, it means they are engaged and responsive.

I began to re-evaluate my schedule. Our life was terribly busy. Each day I would plan my day like a firefighter. If it was not late or broken, it did not get attention. My evaluation of my schedule determined that I was not available to my top priorities. All the activities were good and deserving but not my top priority. My quiet, supportive husband is the one who got left behind. When I realized this, I was dumbfounded. Together, we decided to limit the girls’ activities, and I learned to say “No” – at least sometimes. We scheduled both date night and family night into the weekly schedule. Whenever I was asked to do something, I would evaluate it based on my values and schedules rather than just on the merit of the event.

This month, how will you be Available to the relationships and communities you value?

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