January 5, 2017

Learning to Say No


As this new year unfolds, new opportunities may be on your horizon. Some might be exactly what you are interested in and you are happy to embrace them. Others may cause you some doubt or speculation as to whether you should say yes or no. It can be hard to say no.

I remember when someone from a previous church years ago, asked me to work in the children’s ministry and I said no, and they literally gave me a shocked look. That look and their next words began to fill me with guilt until I told them my interests were with women’s ministry and Bible studies and that is where I choose to serve. I also told them I believed there would be someone who would be genuinely interested, and sure enough the next week, someone had volunteered to fill the vacancy I was asked to fill but turned down.

I had already learned in previous years to say no through experiences God had used to teach me to be more discerning about such things, but I remember it was a difficult season of learning for a while.

In my uncertainty about the details of what God wanted me to do, I had become involved in ministries and volunteer work that I had not sought His approval on, but jumped in and did because they were good things even though I was not sure they were the right things for me to be doing with my time.

I was trying to make things fit that weren’t mine to fit. I wasn’t being true to the leading of God’s voice in my life. Instead, I was following the voices of others, and my own sometimes misguided voice. God made me uncomfortable in those situations until I reached the point that I admitted I was saying yes because I hadn’t learned that sometimes I am supposed to say no.

I decided I would rather live with uncertainty and unknown details regarding God’s plan for me, than to make my own plans and do things that didn’t fit what He was working to accomplish in my life. I began to understand that although there are good things we can do, it doesn’t mean they are all things God wants us to do. We cannot say yes to any and every opportunity that presents itself.

We need to listen to God’s voice and follow where He leads. Sometimes He leads us to say no.

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eye.