One of the greatest challenges we face as leaders is finding balance. At times it feels impossible splitting our time fairly between family and ministry. We struggle to view church and service as the overflow of what is going on inside our hearts instead of just doing our jobs. It’s just so hard not to say “yes.”
One trap many leaders fall into is saying “yes” too many times to too many people. We get used to fixing things and meeting people’s needs and eventually begin to think it is our job to rescue everyone who needs rescuing. We get asked to listen here, serve there, help them, teach that… and for some reason, we are compelled to always answer with a “yes.”
Even when we feel maxed out and overscheduled, we still find ourselves agreeing to do and help and be things that we don’t really even want to do. Something inside of us drives us to say “yes I can” and “of course I can help.”
This can be dangerous because a healthy leader CANNOT say yes to all the things. There need to be as many “no’s” as there are “yeses.”
There are a few things to consider that will help you make a wise decision when you find yourself about to say “yes” again.
- Is your “yes” following your priorities? When we have established priorities that are non-negotiables, it helps us evaluate the importance of what we are being asked to do. If it lines up with the 3 or 4 things you are committed to investing in and building on, then it is a positive yes. But if it doesn’t align with these, then you really need to consider the next question.
- Does this “yes” tell the most important people in your life “no”? If you say yes to this new commitment, will it take away from the other people and things that you have established as your priorities? If this new commitment will create a conflict with time or scheduling when it comes to your priorities, then you really need to take some time to consider the third question.
- What else are you going to say “no” to if you say “yes”? If your new “yes” creates conflict in your schedule or priorities, but you still feel compelled to say “yes,” then you may need to say “no” to something else you are already investing in to make room for this new commitment. The reality is we all only have so much time in a day. We get to choose how we spend that time. So if this “yes” is one that you decide is worth it, don’t allow your schedule to become out of control. Decide one thing you can stop doing or drop as a commitment. This way you have the time and energy for this new objective. And then finally you should consider the last question.
- Are you saying “yes” out of obligation to people or obedience to God? This is where you examine your heart and intentions. Check to make sure you aren’t trying to please other people. Ask the Lord to confirm to you that this is indeed a “yes” he wants from you. The last thing you want to do is have your calendar full of obligations that feed your ego but not your soul.
This issue is one ALL leaders face during different seasons. It’s something you will need to constantly evaluate and wrestle through. You want to feel confidence and peace about the things you are investing your time and energy into, and these 4 questions will help you do just that.
What do you need to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to something new?