Saturday, 24 October 2009

Saying 'no'

I never thought I would do this, but I’m actually saying no to a couple of commitments at church. I’ve just – barely – survived a week where, on top of working full time, I have been out for six nights running – five of those six, on church events of one kind or another. Two of them only happen every couple of months – but happened to be on consecutive days. It’s too much: I’m exhausted to the point of feeling ill.

I’m taking myself off the coffee rota, for one. I reckon I’ve been serving coffee about once a month for the last three years, so it’s time to step back.

A while ago, I resigned from leading prayers. I’d been asked to do it shortly after I arrived at church over five years ago, but I just wasn’t comfortable with it. It all seemed too formal, too prescribed – yet doing anything more interactive with over 80 people was quite a chore and didn’t lend itself easily to the format of the service. I couldn’t, in all conscience, continue. So that was OK.

But the coffee rota? What’s the harm in SERVING, especially as it is only once a month?

The harm is in too many other commitments: by the time I’d fitted in coffee rota, prayer ministry rota, small group, ladies' breakfast, prayer session with prayer partner, committee meetings, women’s fellowship committee meetings and events AND tried to spend whatever free time my husband had (he works shifts with a weekend off every five weeks, I work Monday to Friday) with him, my weeks were too full. The harm is in doing too many little things.

There is harm in another way, too. If I am doing something useful, filling a gap – then I am depriving someone else of the opportunity to serve. (Yes, we could have half a dozen of us to serve coffee when one or two will do, but that never happens in practice…)

If someone is not serving or involved in other ways, they may not be developing their God-given talents for His purposes.

So I’m resigning from women’s fellowship committee. I’ll still go on hosting a breakfast for ladies in church who work; I’ll still attend events – if I can.

But at least I am free of pressure to be in a certain place at a certain time.

And where is God in all this? He wasn’t – that was the trouble. I was too tired, too busy for Him. I had begun to run on empty, without His words filling my life. He tapped me on the shoulder with exhausting circumstances, and I’m grateful.

It was indeed time to stop.

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