You’ve been there haven’t you? I have found myself saying it on more than one occasion when I knew that I shouldn’t.
Will you come to this meeting?
Will you help with this project?
Will you serve on this committee?
Will you fix this problem?
Then I heard myself say, "yes." Now yes is not a bad word. No problem with saying yes to serving, helping, giving, etc. The problem comes when in my heart, I know I should say "no" and for some reason the opposite word comes out. I remember driving away from a meeting one night just feeling sick inside because I had just said yes when I should have said no. And–I realized it at that moment.
Here is the dilemma that I feel. I only have so much life to go around. There is only so much time and energy. To say yes to this and that also means that I no longer have time to do other very good things. I was thinking recently (regarding the new year) about what I need to take into consideration as I say yes to some opportunities and no to other opportunities (that word sounds a little to bright and cheery for some requests that have come my way before).
1. Do I genuinely believe that this request is from God? Often, however, God opens a variety of doors for us, some that we will recognize and some that we will not. However, I need to wrestle with the possibility that this opportunity has come from the Lord. And no, I am not always sure how to determine that.
2. Do I feel like I am being smothered as this person makes this request of me? I appreciate anyone who has a passion for their ministry or cause. If the cause is really good, I would hope that somebody would be passionate about it! Now the downside. Sometimes there are people who have passion for a particular cause (i.e. evangelizing Iceland, ministry to the Jr. Hi., xyz ministry at their church) and then can not figure out why everyone around them does not have that same passion. They basically communicate: "There are some very good ministries in our church. Now let me tell you why mine is the most important and significant above them all."
3. Does this request fit with my gifts and where I believe that God is leading me at this point in my life? I have certain gifts, which by definition means that there are certain gifts that I don’t have. Don’t ask me to serve on a committe that is going to comb through the details a certain process or concern. I’m not the one to create new processes, sub-committees etc. Whew! Makes me tired even thinking about it! I am much more gifted toward things that have to do with the big picture, the overall mission and direction, etc.
4. Am I overloaded at this point in my life? I’ve been there. I’ve said yes so many times that now I am totally overwhelmed. I don’t feel good about my work or life. Maybe I don’t feel like I am doing anything very well. Once I made a list of all that I was doing in my life and asked some hard questions about these tasks.
What tasks are most important in terms of what God wants my life to be about?
What tasks are better off done by someone else and how can this happen?
What tasks should I not be doing at all?
So maybe as the new year begins, I need to be asking, "What do I need to say no to?"