Saying No

It is very hard, I believe, for ministry women to know when to say “no”.  They are the ones expected to show up, play through, and fill in all the little vacancies that crop up.  This little piece is from Jill Savage, Founder of Hearts at Home Ministries [with some of my own two cents in brackets]:

  • Keep in mind that you alone know what is best for you and your family. Remember, even with church activities, that our families are our first ministry.
  • Never say yes [or no–dch] on the spot. Always tell the person you will call back after you’ve had time to pray and think about it.
  • When considering a time commitment, make sure you take preparation time into account. Most of us underestimate the time it takes to really do a job well.
  • When considering long-term commitments, make sure you consider all your household responsibilities and the time constraints that accompany them.
  • Don’t allow your family responsibilities to be sacrificed for your volunteer responsibilities.
  • Carefully consider the “brain space” this responsibility will require. When your mind is cluttered, you are not mentally available to your family. [I would add, make good use of calendars and lists, which will free up those brain cells for other tasks!]
  • Remember every minute of your day does not have to be scheduled! If you need to, schedule in “down time” each day. Write it on your calendar and keep it for yourself.
  • Set a limit to the number of long-term commitments you will carry. Limiting your long term commitments allows for more time to help out in short-term service projects.
  • Ask for accountability. Ask your husband, a close friend, or your Bible study group to hold you accountable for the number of commitments you will carry.
  • When you do say no, don’t feel that you need to give a long list of excuses. If you have sought the Lord, and are firmly convinced this is what He would have you to do, that is enough.
  • Keep in mind that you do not have to say yes, simply because you are capable. You should say yes only after considering your time availability, other volunteer responsibilities, your family commitments, and what you might need to give up to properly do this job. Of course, above all, you should say yes only after praying and seeking God’s will.
  • If you have too much on your plate now, re-evaluate your priorities. Determine what responsibilities you need to let go of [and why it may be hard to let them go–are you taking things on to impress others? To make yourself look good? Are you overloading activities to compensate for lack of depth in your walk with the Lord–in order to “feel” spiritual? Is there pride in your motive?.
  • Although it may be difficult to give up a responsibility, you are not doing the organization or your family any good when you cannot fully commit to the job. [It is possible to do many things, but not do any of them well because you are stretched too thin.]
  • Remember that saying no allows others the opportunity to say yes. Don’t take service opportunities away from others.

James 4:13-15

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”


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