"No, thank you."
"Not at this time."
"I am so sorry. I can't do that."
Perhaps, like me, you have a hard time saying no when ministry opportunities present themselves. I have been known to fill my already overloaded schedule with an abundance of commitments just because I am honored that someone would ask me to accomplish a worthy task or two.
Often it is because I just hate letting people down or risking a breach in a relationship that I find myself saying yes when what I should be saying is no.
Why do I falsely believe that the ability to say no and a heart of kindness are mutually exclusive? Why indeed?
"That won't fit into my schedule, but thank you for thinking of me."
"I have other commitments that are on the front burner right now."
"Thanks, but no thanks."
There are a thousand different ways that one can say no yet still maintain healthy and friendly relationships. No is not a dirty word ... it is not an ugly word ... nor is it a cruel word.
Sometimes no is the kindest thing you can actually say.
"It's not going to work out for me."
"I am being led in a different direction, but I will be praying for you."
"No, that just won't be possible."
Even the phrase, "Let me pray about it," is often healthier and more honest than the knee-jerk, "Sure! Not a problem at all!"
However, if you have said, "Let me pray about it," then actually pray about it! Don't ignore the request and then be bullied into an eventual yes just because you have put it off for a period of time.
Pray about the request immediately and then genuinely ask God to give the wisdom that is needed in this situation. Listen for God's voice and when you receive heaven's download, make haste to obey!
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).
If you agree to do something that God has not given you the go-ahead to commit to you may be denying someone else the opportunity to walk in their God-ordained assignment. That's a sobering thought, isn't it?
Life is too short to involve oneself in activities, events and commitments that are a mere distraction to God's good plans for one's life. When your plate is filled with vacuous potato chips, there is no room for the delicious and protein-rich filet!
Rather than say a half-hearted and stressed-out "Sure, that works for me," take a breath and re-evaluate what is best for you, what is best for the people you love and what is best for the person who is requesting your involvement.
"Do few things but do them well" is a quote that has been a significant part of my core values since I was in college. When presented with the smorgasbord of demands, requests and activities, a wise person chooses selectively and sparingly. When faced with a mountain of possibilities, a person of excellence determines what is of the greatest value and what will make an eternal impact.
Are you drowning in a sea of expectations, unnecessary commitments and long-term regrets? Let me throw you a lifesaver or two.
"Thanks for asking, but I can't commit to that right now."
"My plate is already full, but I hope that you can find just the right person for the job."
"No. Thanks anyway."
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written five books, including No More Ordinary, Holy Estrogen!, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart and Defiant Joy! Her most recent book, Refined: Finding Joy in the Midst of the Fire, was released last August. Her teaching DVD The Rooms of a Woman's Heart won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "A Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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