A new year is beginning and ministry recruiting season is in full force. People are in need of leaders for small groups, casseroles for Bible study, women to head up ministry at the local shelter and greeters for Wednesday night worship….and this is just the list of needs that I have gotten emails about within the last day or so.
The opportunities to plug in and serve are without number and each opportunity brings with it a chance to be the gospel on display in the lives of others, but that doesn’t always mean that it is wise to say yes to every offer you receive. I don’t know about you but I find it really difficult to decline opportunities to serve. I struggle to pray and ponder the situation before I dive in neck-deep.
The result? An overwhelmed, not healthy wife/friend/girls minister trying to survive another week. Several wise women in my life told me that I needed to learn the “art of no.”
Here are a few tips that I have found in my search to practice wisdom in my commitments and time management.
1. Get Real- Most of us are so busy that we do not realize how busy we are. How long has it been since you have really stepped back and taken a look at how many plates you are spinning? Before you can move to step two, you must be honest with yourself and the reality of your commitments.
My current commitments?
My girls ministry girls
My adult small group
That is enough. That is my reality.
2. Be Practical- It is important that you consider opportunities that are presented to you and the amount of time that they would require each week. We so quickly get bogged down in double-booking that we coming ineffective in all things. I remember a specific evening from last fall that I attempted to be four places at once (all requiring in-car outfit changes) and truly it would have been better if I had stayed home. None of the people I spent time with got my full attention or investment because I was too consumed by getting to the next stop on time and in costume.
We cannot do it all.
3. Pray- Ask the Lord to give you clarity and wisdom as you make decisions about what your time should be spent on. Pray that the Lord would highlight in your heart the areas of ministry and specific people that He has planned for you to pour your life into for this season. The surrender of your plans, lists and expectations to the Lord is a beautiful, and difficult place to be.
Let us be women who pray and seek the Lord before we act.
4. Say No- It certainly isn’t easy. But is becomes easier when you realize that saying no to one opportunity to serve will make your more effective in another. For me, the girls in my ministry got a more focused and energized version of myself when I learned to say no because I was not spread too thin.
So, on Sunday morning when you get approached about leading another group or heading up another committee…. pause and pray. Seek wisdom. And if it is best…just say “no.”