The phone rang and I answered. “Karen, we have an opening for a third grade teacher at church,” said our Children’s Minister. “You’re so good with the kids. You’d be great. I hope we can count on you.”
I had no strong desire to do this. I was already involved in several other areas. Still I didn’t want to leave her stranded-or the kids without a teacher. In years past, I would have said, “Sure, I’ll do that.” simply because there was a need and I didn’t want to let God or his people down.
This time I said no. I wanted be more intentional and prayerful about my time commitments. Still I felt guilty. After my decision, I prayed that she’d find a willing teacher soon. Soon a woman said “yes.” It fit her gifts, she had time to prepare, created great activities and nurtured the children. My own daughter had fun in her class and learned much.
This was a turning point for me. I’m learning that God is okay with me saying no even when saying yeswould meet an important need. I don’t want to hinder God’s work and plan, yet that’s what can happen if I accept a position based merely on guilt or obligation. I now seek the peace of God over being the perfect-but overworked-servant of God.
Joan here: I so appreciate Karen’s story and her desire to use her gifts to help others and honor God. When have you said “no” and then discovered that your decision allowed you to say “yes” with commitment to another opportunity that brought you joy in serving?
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.