Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Saying No

The old saying “less is more” usually applies to more trivial matters such as how many accessories or make-up one should wear. But I’ve found that it applies to my schedule too. I guess one of the benefits of getting older is gaining more wisdom and insight on what truly leads to a meaningful, fulfilled life. And these days, the less I have on my plate, the more fulfilled I feel.

And yet…there are times when I feel guilty for having free time. Here’s an example: This quarter I’ve been helping teach the three year-olds on Wednesday nights at church. They’re precocious, adorable little cherubs…on a good night. Other nights, they’re a handful, to say the least. Tomorrow night’s the last night of the quarter (but who’s counting?) and I’ve been looking forward to rejoining the adult classes for at least a quarter.

But…today I was asked to teach again in the summer quarter, which begins next week. And so the battle began. I desperately wanted a break from teaching, and yet part of me felt guilty for not stepping up to the plate when called upon.

After a few moments of this mental battle, I finally declined the “opportunity” to teach and offered to teach again later in the year, after I’d taken a break. Thankfully, I don’t have a lingering sense of guilt about saying no. I learned several years ago that the more “ministries” I take on, the more burned-out I feel and thus become a useless heap, unfit for any type of service.

But I must admit, I DO still wrestle from time to time with my desire for time to regroup versus the call to do my “good Christian duty” (which, for most women in the church, involves either teaching or nursery duty). I ask God to use me, but then I cringe at the thought of teaching another quarter.

Anyone else out there experience the guilt of saying “No” to ministry, even when you’re really burned out and well deserving of (and desperately needing) a break?

1 comment:

DJG said...

Yep! But I too am getting better at it. They don't even ask me about VBS anymore!

I was feeling guilty driving to work this morning because I have not created a service project for the ladies in a while. What? Am I the only one who can do this? Sure feels like it!