I want to be in the know. I’ll admit it. I like being a part of things. I like being at events. I like talking to people. I like planning things. I know how I work and I know that when I am excited about any of these things I can go all in 100% without skipping a beat and work on them until they are done and good to go. I think that is the way I am wired. I love my job, I love my students, and I love providing and planning, being a part of ministry in which students learn about Jesus more. I love it and am good it to a fault sometimes. I have learned (and am still learning) I need to relax sometimes. It is okay to get excited about new projects and ministries and ideas, there is nothing wrong with it. Here is the question we all need to learn to ask ourselves when there seems to be a bunch on our plates:
If I were to say no to this thing, or stop doing this thing, will it benefit me, not professional or ministry level, but on a personal level?
Let me ask this.
If I were to say no to that last minute meeting, would I be able to get home to my wife on time like I said I would? If I said no to that speaking opportunity at that awesome camp this month because I know that the next few months for me are going to be insane and I will run myself ragged and I will not be able to spend that time at home with my wife because I know our time will be shorter later? Even harder sometimes, saying no to that student who “needs to talk RIGHT NOW” during dinner time with your spouse? I love how Doug Fields explains how he handles it.At the FAM Conference at APU he said he asked the student who came to his house to talk to talk to him, “Hey buddy… are you doing to kill yourself or anyone else?” Student: No. Doug: “Awesome, I love you, but I’ll call you tomorrow.”
The realization is saying no to some ministry stuff will help you win at home. What is the purpose of us doing well in ministry if we are sucking at life at home? Are we really doing our ministry a favor if we are tired, run down and mentally exhausted? What is the purpose of doing a ton of things “good” when it is far better to nail down a few things “very well”?
What is my point? I’m learning how to say no to somethings. Is that hard? Yes. Do people get upset? Sometimes. Is that better than having my wife hate my job? YES! Is it better that I’m healthy on a personal level? Yes! Because if I am healthy on a personal level then I can be the best I can be on a ministerial level.
When I’m good on a personal and spiritual level, I’m a better husband, friend and pastor. Plain and simple.
It’s a big deal. I’m learning how to do it. I hope you can ask yourself these questions too.