In his wonderful talk, "Concern for the One", Elder Wirthlin mentioned that some people stop coming to church and become "lost" because they are weary. I was struck by that when he said it, and I have thought a lot about it since then - as anyone knows who has read this blog for some time, since I reference that talk quite often.
I want to share how I avoid becoming weary in the way that Elder Wirthlin describes, and I want to use my situation while living in Missouri specifically because it highlights how I easily could have become weary - or "burned out", as one friend described his experience to me years ago.
1) I keep from getting burned out by limiting what I do to what I can do without getting burned out. I know that sounds a bit silly and obvious (and very difficult for many, given the assumptions held my some members), but it works for me. It "helped" in Missouri that our finances and distance from the church created automatic barriers to doing too much, but I held to the principle even when we used to live 1.5 miles from the church and I made plenty of money. Bottom line: It's a hard-core commitment I've made - to do as much as I can but not get burned out by trying to do too much - to not try to do everything.
Some people don't like that I do that, and some people don't get it, but most people (the large majority) really do understand.
2) Having said that, I am MUCH more open to making an exception for unique service opportunities than for "regular, run-of-the-mill" stuff. I couldn't drive 40 minutes there and 40 minutes back - and pay for the gas to do so - just to be involved in an activity where there are plenty of other people there to handle it. Financially, I just couldn't. However, I could do that - occasionally - to help someone who needed my individual help. I could do that largely because I wasn't doing all the other stuff that would have sapped my time and money and energy - and that's really, really important to understand.
It's a balancing act, and it's MUCH harder in many ways than trying to do everything - but I believe it's important to be the one doing the acting and not just be acted upon.