Born a people-pleaser, I’ve said yes my entire life just to earn others’ esteem. I’ve also agreed to take on projects because I knew I’d feel guilty if I didn’t, in light of the person asking for the favor.
They would never turn me down if asked them, I’d think.
And then I’d find myself immersed in something I never imagined would take so much time and cause so much stress.
Perhaps the most foolish and prideful reason I’ve taken on new responsibilities is that an empty position needed to filled by someone – and why not me?
I am a worker for the Kingdom. And if no one else is willing to work in this ministry/volunteer project, I will!
But in some cases, I should have said no.
Years ago, I recall feeling so overwhelmed with doing for God that I neglected to be with him, for days at a time. On a few occasions, I heedlessly overstepped my authority or voiced my opinions, causing discord with others in my church. And more times than I care to remember, my stress overshadowed our family life. My husband and kids could not wait until the project of the month was behind me – behind us all – at last.
If only I had possessed the wisdom to seek God’s will and talk things over with my family before taking on a new challenge! But as with anything, time and experience have taught me that saying no is okay. In fact, it can be the Godly decision.
These days, I try to say yes only if I’ve done the following:
- Gotten a complete description of the project.
- Considered my motivations (are guilt, obligation, or pride involved?).
- Taken significant time to consider.
- Talked with my family (if the project will impact them).
- Checked my schedule.
- Prayed for guidance and wisdom.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. – Psalm 32:8
A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. – Proverbs 16:9
Of course, that last step is key. If God doesn’t lead me to do something, I shouldn’t do it. After all, he doesn’t ask that we lead many ministries, attend every conference, or volunteer for projects no one else will; but he does ask that we spend time with him.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. – Luke 10:41, 42
In spending time with him, we will become more like him. Then, others will be drawn to Christ, as they see him in us.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. – John 13:35
More than ministries or projects or any “busy-ness” for God, shouldn’t the salvation of others be our goal?
How do you feel about saying yes or no? I’d love to hear your thoughts.