You do not have to say “yes” to every opportunity to serve that comes your way.
When we are young, and just starting out in life, the opportunities are endless. You could go in almost any direction for a career. As you get older and get more experience you learn that there are certain things that you are good at and certain things you are not as good at. There are certain roles you take on that you love and others where you struggle to survive the day.
As we get older, and hopefully a little more experienced, we begin to narrow down the real and meaningful opportunities for us. We are not quick to jump in to jobs that will require us doing things we hate. We choose to do what we enjoy if at all possible. We prefer doing what we enjoy, and over time get a clear sense of what those things are.
Beyond that, I believe that God has certain roles for us to fulfill. He has given us gifts and abilities, and led us through circumstances that prepare us for what is next. We can ask him to clarify for us what he wants us to do with our life, and he will. I believe that God has a role for everyone, if we will only ask him to help us discover that.
Through a number of different circumstance God has brought me to the place where I believe he wants me to focus on helping churches and leaders achieve their God-given dreams. I have been a pastor for about 30 years, and generally loved the role. I had the opportunity, with a few others, to start up and establish the Rural Church Pastors Network. I loved the opportunity to equip and encourage fellow pastors. I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others. And God, through these experiences and some clear signs from him, called me to this role of helping leaders and churches.
God has called me to help churches and leaders discover their God-given dreams. I was recently offered a position that looked interesting. I knew I could do what was required, I might even enjoy the role, but I couldn’t say yes. As I prayed about it, God reminded me that he had called me to this role of helping leaders and churches. This new opportunity was not part of that. Saying “no” to something that I might enjoy was not easy, but I knew what God called me to do.
Knowing your “yes” helps you know your “no”. When you have a clear understanding of what God has called you to do, you can clearly say no to that which is not part of the plan. I know it is hard to say no to people. We want people to like us and so we try to please them. Knowing our specific calling from God helps us have an easier time making decisions about what we choose to agree to and what opportunities we decline. Then we can say no with a clear conscience when we know what fits in God’s plan for us and what does not.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed with all that is on our plate. I wonder how often that is a result of us not clearly understanding what we are called to do so we do everything that comes our way. We say yes to every good thing when maybe God would like us to focus in on a specific opportunity. We tell ourselves that we can’t get out of these responsibilities when maybe we just need to say no. Sometimes we get frustrated with people and all they demand of us, but the problem may be us. We haven’t set clear boundaries on what we should or should not do, what fits into the scope of who we are and what does not.
Clarifying who we are and what God is calling us to may be harder to determine when we are young and have not had time to try new things or experience various roles and opportunities. As we get involved in different jobs and serve in a variety of places, we can narrow down who we are and what we are called to do.
This allows us to figure out how God has gifted us and what talents we have. But clarifying who we are and what we become involved in does not just depend on age and experience. I believe we need to have time with God asking him to clarify what he wants us to do with our lives. God may speak to you through your reading of scripture. He may speak to you in your prayer time. He may speak to unique ways such as dreams or visions. What I do know is this: if we ask God, he will answer. Ask him to clarify his calling on your life and then you will be able.
I hope you can clarify your “yes” so you can also know your “no.” May God show you your unique place in this world.
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