How many times does God ask us to take on a new project or enter into a relationship and we argue with him? We have an endless list of reasons – I’m tired, I’m not meant to teach, I prefer to be alone, I’m not good enough, I’m busy – it really is an endless list. Yet when the class mom calls or your co-worker asks, you say yes. You may grumble, but you say yes because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or feel a bit of pride that you are needed or if you said no what would people think.
As I’ve learned more about myself and life in general and how important God is to me, I realize I can’t say no to him. Though I still do. And he keeps knocking or putting people or situations in my life that remind me of what he wants from me. The person may say, “have you ever thought about doing this” or “you would be so good at that” and we dismiss it. And then, days later, in the shower, we get soap in our eyes and think, “wait, how did that person know God wants me to do that?” Or maybe we take it to prayer and after a time, realize that, indeed that it the PLAN.
I get distracted though. Look, shiny object. It’s the tyranny of the urgent. Or maybe it’s more like, he needs me or if I don’t who will? Think about this, if we say yes to everything, no one else will get a chance. We think often about how our yes leads to something, but maybe our no does as well. For many people, this is the time of year when school is starting, and new programs at your church or neighborhoods need help. Here are a few tips: don’t be the first person to raise your hand; wait at least 2 hours to answer the email; turn off read notifications on your phone. And then, take it to prayer. And let it be proportionate to the task. Taking a week to decide to bake cookies may be excessive but to decide to chair a committee it seems reasonable.
The problem in decision making is often being caught between wanting to serve and help and knowing if it is what you really ought to be doing with your time and energy. If you are not sure, then don’t say yes right away. This is a personal struggle for me. I want to help. But it isn’t always the right time. Or it isn’t what God is asking me to do right now.
I work at not filling my schedule with what other people want from me. It would be so easy to do so but then I know I will not be able to do what God has asked me to do. And his plans are far better and greater than my own, so I want to follow them. Following them takes discernment and discipline. I offer every day up to him and ask him the plan for the day. And the day works out for the best because you created the day with God.