Saying “No” to the Good to Say “Yes” to the Best

August 8, 2012 — 12 Comments

I am away at camp this week with my senior high students. I’m excited to announce my very first guest post! This is a post from my wife, Sara. She is the pastor at Goldfield United Presbyterian Church. She’s also a loving mother, and sweet wife. You call follow her on Twitter if you’d like. Show her some love down below in the comment section. This is her first official post in the blogosphere. Welcome, Sara!

You have to say “no” to a lot in life if you want one of these

A few weeks ago, one of my parishioners was placed on hospice care. The parishioner requested that her pastor (me) be placed on the hospice team. Wright County Hospice mailed me a letter notifying me that I was now a part of this woman’s hospice team. The letter asked for my insights and any other helpful thoughts I might have.

I typed up my insights along with the form I signed. A few days later my phone rang. A cheerful lady from hospice called to thank me for my wise insights. “I think you really hit the nail head-on with this situation.” She went on to tell me a bit more about this woman (most of which I already knew). I politely listened and said “uh-huh” and “yes” where appropriate.

Then, instead of ending our conversation, the woman said, “You know, we really need more hospice volunteers like you in our county. You would be such a great asset to our team, providing pastoral care to those at the end of their life. Maybe you’d like to think about volunteering for Wright County Hospice.”

Before allowing me to say anything, she quickly continued, “It would only require 18 hours of training and then you’d be on call a few times a month. It is such an enriching ministry and as a pastor you would be an asset.” She was trying to butter me up.

Everything she said was correct. Hospice care is a vital ministry. My mom has been volunteering with her county’s hospice agency for over a year now. I have been a part of about a ½ dozen hospice care teams because of my work as a pastor. Hospice provides care not only to the person dying, but also to their loved ones. This would be training that would only enhance my skills as a minister. The training would be handy for years to come.

I should say yes to this opportunity.

But, I said no.

“I’m sorry but with a young daughter and working outside the home already, I can’t commit to the time needed for this ministry. I also don’t live in Wright County, so I would have to commute 30-45 minutes from my home each time I saw a client.”

She was disappointed, but said she understood and hung up.

You may think that my reasons were just excuses; however, I had to say no to the good to say yes to the best.

As a people pleaser, this was hard to do. I want to be wonder woman and do a million things. I want to do each of these million things well. But I need to practice saying no to most things so that when I do say yes, I can say yes to the best.

If you don’t say no to some things, you’ll end up stretched thin. You’ll begin to juggle more balls than you can possibly handle. It may work for a while, but eventually, a ball will drop. You’ll miss an appointment, your child will need a babysitter 3 nights in a row, or you’ll yell at your spouse. Someone or some organization will get the short end of the stick. This will quickly lead to an overwhelming situation. You will be on the verge of burnout.

If I say no to most opportunities that come across my plate, then I can say yes to just a few opportunities and give them my all. Say no to the good to say yes to the best.

“The best” is my family. The best of the best is our sweet 8-month old daughter. She deserves the very best, our first fruits.

At this point in our lives, I am working outside the home about 30 hours a week. My husband is working outside the home about 50 hours a week. Thankfully, my job requires me to work only 1 night a week. My husband is working 3-4 nights a week. That is the nature of ministry. We have an amazing babysitter on Wednesday nights (seriously, she’s the best in the town), but I need to be home with my daughter on the other nights. I want to be home with my daughter on the other nights. I want to be the one she’s squealing at. I want to be the one with her as she discovers our world. I want to be the one she splashes in the bathtub.

For the time being, most other things will have to wait. I have to say “no” to most everything that comes across my plate unless it is directly related to my job. I have my daughter, my husband, and my job. It’s about all I can do.

While I might say yes to a few things, my “yes” only comes after much prayer and talking it through with Austin.

Hospice volunteer? Maybe next decade.

Head the charity event? Maybe next year.

Learn a new hobby? Not at the moment.

Train for a marathon? Oof.

For the time being, come and find me pastoring my church in Goldfield, on a date with my husband, or teaching my daughter how to crawl. That is the best right now.

What have you said no to recently that enabled you to say yes to the best?

 

Austin

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I'm a pastor, writer, speaker, husband, father, and follower of Christ, to name a few titles. You can find my contact information in my About page.
  • Shane Howat

    I recently had to say no to an invite to be on a Walk to Emmaus Team.

    Good post.

    Shane Howat

    • scrhill

      I bet Jen & Tyler appreciated that “no” so you can hang out with them more. Your family is awesome!!

  • Shimiko

    Sara, you are the best! I love this post!

    • scrhill

      you’re the best, too, Shim!

  • Sara this is my constant struggle in life. As a teacher I have been home all summer trying to “make up for lost time” during the school year. Some days better than others. Thanks for letting me think of saying no as “yes to the best”.

    • scrhill

      Glad I can help reframe your thinking. Now you can blame me if people ask you to help out with the choir at church and you say no. 🙂

  • dave

    “Hospice volunteer? Maybe next decade.” hahaha, good post

    • scrhill

      i want to say “hospice volunteer? maybe never.” But, as Justin Bieber reminds us, never say never.

  • Sue Minarchi

    Your ministry, your husband and your daughter IS saying “yes to the best”! For everything there is a season … hope all is well!

    • scrhill

      Thanks, Sue! Everything is going great out here in Iowa!

  • I know our society doesn’t always portray family commitment as “successful” living, but it truly is . . . on a deeper level that benefits our nation SO much! Great first post!!!

    • scrhill

      I agree, Michelle! Thanks!