Recently I had a conversation with my pastor (Moses Camacho), where he said to me “you have to learn to say no”.
Anyone who has been in ministry long enough knows that regardless of whether you are a volunteer, part time, or full time staff that you spend more hours on your work than your time card says.
Why? Because you love what you do. When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work.
The problem comes when you have a full plate and yet you still find yourself saying yes to any request that comes your way. Most of us say yes because we genuinely love to serve and help others.
One of the biggest struggles I’ve seen with people in ministry is their inability to say NO. Unfortunately in most cases this leads to burn out.
Last year I ended up in the emergency room multiple times for ongoing pain. Every time I went to the emergency room I was hooked up to an IV with some painkillers that would put me out for the rest of the day. One of the times that I went in I said to the nurse “would you mind not giving me so much of the pain killers, I have a lot of meetings to be at and I don’t want to be knocked out”.
The nurse’s jaw dropped. As did my heart when I heard the words I was saying. She leaned over to me and said “sweetie I don’t know what it is that you do, but I do know that if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of anybody else”. Those words will forever be embedded in my mind.
A lot of times we get too caught up in the work of God and we put our relationship with Him on the back burner. We trick ourselves into thinking that if we are working for Him then it’s just the same as spending time with Him. It’s not.
He wants you. Just you. Not your power point presentation. Not the curriculum you wrote for the new series. Not even the awesome sermon you wrote for Sunday. He just wants you.
As people in ministry and as Christians we are called to be there for others. However, we aren’t called to lose sleep, get stressed out, or get sick from not resting.
Saying no isn’t a bad thing. Saying no to something that isn’t right for you now, opens you up to say yes to something in the future.
Saying no opens up the opportunity for someone else to rise to the occasion an serve. We have to remind ourselves that we are part of a body that needs each part to work. We cannot fill every role 100%. We weren’t built that way. We were built to need each other. Don’t rob someone the blessing of serving. You saying no could be an answered prayer to someone waiting for an opportunity to help out.
Be encouraged that you’re not alone. I’m the biggest offender when it comes to wanting to say yes. But contrary to popular belief, I am not Wonder woman, and I can’t do it all.
Brenda Medina. Student Ministries Director | Saddleback HB