Learning to Say No

I was watching the news this morning, and I saw one of our church member’s face flash across the screen.  Unfortunately, it was their mug shot.  I entered his information into our system, sent him a visitor follow up card, and even joyfully printed his baptism certificate.  But he stopped coming, fell off of my administrative radar, and I let him go.  My heart sank as I heard his charges, and the what-if’s began running through my mind. 

My main mission as the church secretary was to reach out to visitors and members who have stopped coming through newsletters, correspondence, etc.  I helped organize information so the pastors could be more efficient, and focused on their ministry.  But I got sidetracked, and as a result…

Now I’m not naïve; he might have ignored my attempts at reaching out to him.  A newsletter might not have made a difference and swayed him from his path.  However, I would have at least tried.  And regret is hanging heavy in my heart.

For over a year now I have felt “busy”, like there was too much on my plate.  I shifted and arranged some things, and let other things go.  But I always knew what I was called to do, and I knew what I was passionate about.  Being the secretary came with a lot of work, but I seemed to always have time and energy to do it.  Yet things, personal, church related and career/school concerns, started taking precedence.  Some were things I felt God had called me to, some I questioned, and some I knew I shouldn’t be doing, but didn’t have the guts to just say no.

I’m a people pleaser, and I don’t like to let people down, so it’s hard for me to say no.  But lately, that is all I’ve felt like I’ve been doing.  It would have been better for me to let one or two people down momentarily by saying no, and trust God to fill the gap my no created, than to take on what wasn’t my place to take on in the first place.

I’m going to prayerfully reevaluate the things on my to-do list, and shed the things that are keeping me from the path God has for me.  As a church, I hope we can reach out to this young man.  We might not have been there before the arrest, but we can be there after.  Thankfully, God has a way of taking the tangled weeds and thorns of situations like this, and turn them into beautiful flowers.

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