No, Thank You.
I was recently asked to come on-board a project that from one perspective could change my career for the better. It was an early opportunity to transition from one sub-sect of my current career path to another with more authority, responsibility, and perceived rewards. When the opportunity came, I thought it over, prayed about it, and said: "No, thank you." I felt so relieved.
There's obviously more to the story above, and the reasons for my saying "No" exists, but I share that story to say: sometimes it's okay to say no, their's joy past that no.
Often, we are introduced, encouraged and incentivized to take on more responsibility. That was the case above. Saying yes to that project meant taking on more duties, rather than substituting my existing endless to-do list for another. Taking on this role wasn't going to fit into my current life plan and schedule; that was the secondary reason for my saying no. But the primary reason was based on asking myself three key questions; we'll discuss them shortly.
Many of us struggle with having to make a firm decision daily, and as you can see, I am not immune. We've been told to do more with less, not only with our resources but also with our time. We've heard success stories of people who barely get 4-5 hours of sleep at night and produce stellar work daily. We've read "great books" that teach us to squeeze it all in, with catchphrases such as "you can do it." We buy into the concept of taking on more responsibilities to gain more experience, earn more money, show that we're hardworking, the list could go on.
Here are three questions to ask yourself before you take on another responsibility, role, task or project.
1. How does this tie into my purpose? To address this question, you must first know what your purpose is. Now, we can debate the use and definition of the word purpose, but plainly put: what unique reasons are you created for? Just as there are no identical fingerprints, there are also no identical purposes for each creation. King David said, "I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well."- Psalm 139:14. In that uniqueness of God's creation, your gifts, skills, and talents are unique. "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."- 1 Peter 4:10. So ask yourself, does this new role tie well into why I was created? Does it tie well into my skills and talent?
2. Would it glorify God? Building on the concept of creation, among other things, our lives are meant to glorify God. Our every being, our every task, our every action should give glory to God. Matthew says in chapter 5 and verse 16 of his book that "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." So if this task, project, etc. will glorify God as you shine bright, then you just might have the green light to proceed. I say might because you need to pray about it and let The Spirit of God guide you.
3. Would this edify The Body of Christ? Ephesians 4: 7 & 12 says "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift... for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Will this add value to fellow Christians? Would another brother or sister be encouraged? Could it open doors for others?
Above all else, prayer is crucial. Talking with God through prayer and actively listening to His Spirit guide us is one sure way to seal the deal. One of my favorite authors (Mark Batterson) said "PRAY like it depends on God. WORK like it depends on you." Asking yourself the questions above is work, asking The Holy Spirit to guide you is prayer. So if your questions lead to a No, then it's a simple No. But if your question points to a Yes, but The Spirit of God says No, then it's still a No. One No negates the whole thing.
Call to Action: It's okay to say "No, Thank you;" at least you'll be polite. Find time to say "No, thank you" sometime this week. It would be therapeutic for you.